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DMA: Direct mail ‘matters’ for marketers

Insight | Social media | Outdated tactics | New audiences


The marketing industry is trapped in a constant state of flux, overflowing with groundbreaking new concepts that could promote new products and services to a range of new audiences.

Outdated tactics such as phone calls and newspaper adverts have been swept aside in the last 25 years, replaced with email, direct mail and social media.

The invention of the internet has paved the way for an assortment of new marketing techniques, revolutionising the advertising landscape and giving businesses the chance to interact with customers freely.

Not only does this bring consumers closer to their favourite brands, but it also allows organisations to refine their products and services, leading to potentially significant improvements in quality.

With this in mind, organisations are able to react to customer feedback and alter their offerings accordingly, tailoring them to the needs of the market.

However, although the benefits of effective marketing cannot be overstated, it is essential that businesses formulate an efficient strategy.

Merely setting up a social media account and delivering emails to a mailing list is often inadequate, as it ignores the individual preferences of customers.

If consumers cannot engage with a company's marketing strategy, they will simply opt to look elsewhere, handing potential profits over to rivals within a field.

While some of the leading technologies require the internet, more old-fashioned approaches are still proving effective for some organisations, including direct mail.


Direct mail now matters to consumers

One channel that has picked up considerable attention from marketers over recent years is direct mail, and a new study suggests that it could reap rewards.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and fast.MAP have worked together on the From Letterbox to Inbox 2013 research, which found that 79 per cent of consumers act on direct mail immediately.

It also discovered that ten per cent more people visited a brand's website in response to direct mail when compared to email, whereas almost half of those surveyed admitted to retaining printed items. 17 per cent confessed to doing this on a regular basis.

Lyle Rainey, European business development manager at HP, said: "At a time where marketers are faced with an ever-expanding range of marketing channels and where increasing amounts of customer communication go online, it is important to have insight into consumers’ behaviours and requirements.

"HP is supporting this research to develop insights about the respective roles of digital and printed communications, which are of great value to the industry."

Some 56 per cent of respondents also said printed marketing was the "most trustworthy" of all media channels.

Rachel Aldighieri, director of communications and insight at the DMA, said: "People continue to value direct mail and printed communications from brands, finding that it plays a seamless role within their connected worlds, offers some qualities not found in other communications and is an essential part of the overall ‘brand experience'.

"Many people today easily could choose to conduct their lives entirely online, but they don’t. For brands to market effectively in a truly connected world, they must fully recognise the role that print communications play and will continue to play for many years to come."

Letters prove their staying power 

The study highlighted the lasting popularity of letters, with some 90 per cent of respondents in the study admitting they could not imagine living without a letterbox.

On the other hand, 94 per cent admitted they could not live without home internet access, whereas 86 per cent could not live without their mobile.

One in five (20 per cent) believe that printed communications will not be replaced by digital, whereas just one in ten people aged 55 or older said the same.

How new workers can help with direct mail

Despite printed communications appearing outdated for many businesses, the platform is still favoured by a number of Britons and should be considered as part of a firm's marketing plans.

Recruiters should keep this in mind when it comes to hiring new workers, as those with expertise in the direct mail sector could help companies to flourish, resulting in more business and a potentially higher turnover.

Posted by Jon Aspinell on 13th September 2013



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