Direct mail is back. It never really went anywhere but the focus shifted to digital for a while. The focus has shifted again, now to combining digital with direct marketing.
The basic concept that integrated marketing hinges on is combining digital with direct mail. By combining the effectiveness of personalized mail with the ability to capture leads via landing pages and following up by personalized auto-responders you will begin to see an increase in customer purchases and engagement.
Britt points to a study conducted by Brand Science about the effectiveness of combining traditional forms of marketing with digital, “combining direct mail with other marketing activities increases campaign payback by up to 20 percent.”
Another reason to be excited about getting back to hearing aid direct mail is the relative lack of clutter. The number of spam messages in email inboxes dramatically outnumbers unwanted mail through the postal service. While it is important to provide personal, engaging email content to customers so that your newsletters and follow-up emails are not marked as spam, direct mail is becoming sexy again.
“E-mail has fallen out of favor,” says Sandra Zoratti, vice president of global solutions marketing for InfoPrint. “Marketers have said, ‘I can send out 10,000 e-mail messages for no cost.’ That’s simply not true. The cost is that you annoy 99 percent of the people. That’s a pretty enormous cost to your brand and your company.”
The realization that e-mail is not a zero-cost channel “has brought people back” to surer media, Zoratti contends. “The evidence is that more marketing dollars are being shifted back to direct mail,” she says.
Britt says “a growing number of experts agree that direct mail excels at maximizing brand awareness and leading consumers to the digital waters.”
People are more likely to open mail addressed to them specifically (their name, not “to our friends at…”) and mail with an impactful message about a new product or service that has specific benefits to the consumer. “Especially with postcards, we are finding that people are most likely to pick it up and read both sides if it’s personalized,” says Pepper Miller, president of Hunter-Miller.
(To view some of our hearing aid direct mail samples and info, click here.)
John Jantsch believes that direct mail should definitely remain in your multichannel mix. “With each passing year it gets cheaper and better to use direct mail,” Jantsch says. “It’s the one advertising medium that you really can control.”
In an earlier article Britt states, “Direct mail is a smart move.”
Insurance companies have been the most aggressive in their mailing since the resurgence of direct mail. John Ingersoll, vice president of marketing communications for Los Angeles–based Farmers Insurance, believes that the surge in insurance mail is the result of companies’ high regard for the channel’s ability to target effectively and inspire engagement.
”I think direct mail is commonly used by us and our competitors as a great opportunity to generate leads,” Ingersoll says. “Mail is a channel that allows all of us to find the consumer with a very targeted, very specific message that you can’t do in broadcast. Broadcast, by definition, is broad — you’re trying to talk to everybody.”
Britt notes the increase in direct mail activity in the health care industry: There has also been noticeable direct mail activity in areas such as education and health care, hearing healthcare included. “The general picture is an upward trajectory,” says Mintel Comperemedia senior vice president Andrew Davidson.” This has been since the beginning of 2011 and is expected to increase by 3-4% each year until at least 2015.
“Experts say online, e-mail and social media have their place, but they alone are no substitute for an intelligent, comprehensive marketing plan that incorporates all channels, including direct mail.”
Liz Miller, vice president of Programs & Operations for the CMO Council, says “We found that pockets of industry are really looking to almost go back to basics…There was a sense of going back to that real precision, one-on-one customer engagement, providing that direct and targeted communications.”