Why direct mail still matters (and how digital can help)


While marketers still like to use print mail, they want more for modern campaigns. This new infographic from the Direct Marketing Association shows how digital innovations such as ‘clickable paper’ can boost relevancy and accountability. 

Ad mail users want to drive customers or potential customers online but some are unaware that technological advances mean mail is already doing this effectively according to new research from Ricoh and the DMA.

When asked to predict what innovations would enhance the effectiveness of mail, 98% said better personalisation and 68% stated image personalisation. Both of these innovations have been possible for at least a decade.

Mail is known as the medium that works differently. Tactile, it quickly becomes part of the household according to Royal Mail’s recent Private Life of Mail research1.

In our survey of more than 100 cross-channel marketers, 76.5% ran more than one mail campaign or integrated campaign with a mail element over the past year.

Barriers to using mail varied. With so many marketers, advertisers and suppliers now digital-first, unfamiliarity with the medium came through.

Of the negative associations, 43% thought that the channel is too expensive, while another 14% worried about an association with ‘junk’. This contrasted with positive perceptions of users, with proven effectiveness and good ROI the top two associations (rating 3.07 and 2.57 out of five respectively).

Ricoh-infographic-2015 copy (5)

According to Gareth Parker, strategic marketing manager at Ricoh UK, “In order to create cost effective DM campaigns that will engage target audiences, marketeers need to look to create direct mail packages. Effective campaigns encompass digital and print – and when print comes in to play, so do things like paper stock and image quality. With testing now part of the psyche of every marketeer, and KPIs a major concern, technologies such as Clickable Paper™ can help demonstrate ROI on the print segment and generate a fast return.”

Report author David Reed said integrated marketers can close the measurement gap between physical media and digital channels by using trackable response mechanisms: “The future for advertising mail within integrated marketing lies in the wider adoption of these techniques – 72% of marketers expect more innovation to integrate this channel with digital media and 58% are looking to innovations like embedded video to enhance the impact of mailings,” he said.

DMA executive director Chris Combemale said, “When you put the consumer first, mail emerges as a highly engaging and successful medium. Of course marketers want it to work harder and be part of their digital offerings, but mail can already achieve this. Many of the innovations coming to mail make it more targeted, more valued, and more meaningful.”

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