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December 6, 2011

Paper or plastic? Both are possible with direct mail.

First Class, standard class, or Fed-X? Again all three and more are possible with direct mail, which is scalable to your budget depending on the overall strategy and, of course, the budget.

What’s my point? That direct mail is relevant. In fact, it’s thriving despite increases in postal rates, despite social media popularity, despite a growing number of other marketing channel choices.

In the July 2011 issue of Journal of Marketing, the results of a research project on multi-channel marketing (telephone calls, email, direct mail) for the service department of a large auto dealership was reported. The research found that customers accepted about twice as much direct mail, compared to phone calls and email, before spending levels started to decrease. The researchers hypothesized that “customers view physical mail as less intrusive than telephone calls or email—they can view such messages at their own convenience.”

We’ve pulled these facts that show direct mail is alive and being ripped open and read despite all the hype about consumers clicking and tweeting away on their digital devices instead:

  • 61% of consumers prefer direct mail over other types of direct marketing
  • 85% – say they open, sort, process and read selected pieces from their mail everyday. 15% let it accumulate unopened for 2 or more days
  • 75% of consumers say they are examining their mail more closely in recent months for coupons and special offers that save them money
  • 40% of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail from that business
  • 70% report renewing a relationship with a business they previously ceased patronizing, as a result of receiving direct mail from the business inviting them back

SOURCE:  DMNews Survey Conducted by Pitney Bowes, 2008

It’s funny, and a reminder of staying power, to look back on some of our modern day advancements. Below are five examples of products that have become obsolete and five that have stood the test of time, including direct mail which has been around since at least 1872.

Stood Test of Time
Beepers or Pagers Newspapers (since 1620)
Car phones. Land Lines Direct Mail (since 1872 with Montgomery Ward catalogs)
Camera Film Ice Cream Trucks (1936)
Printed Yellow Page Directories Parades (1924 with Macy’s Thanksgiving parade)
Records, VHS, CD players Town Hall Meetings (since 1633)

Perhaps direct mail’s staying power and sales-conversation impact is why direct mail is Google’s best-kept marketing secret. Yes, the king of online, mails for sales. It regularly mails to business people to sign up new customers for its PPC (pay for click) program.

So harness the power of direct mail in 2012. It’s the best-kept secret for companies who are surveying, fundraising, launching, re-launching, expanding, moving, publishing, cataloging, and staying relevant and in the black in their business sector today.

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