The digital age is upon us. No more are the days that you drive through a neighborhood to see children playing outside. Instead, everyone is inside playing video games, posting, connecting, tweeting, and any other sort of “ing” related to online activities. While this means there is an increasing need for brands to be connected socially via digital tools, that doesn’t mean that traditional methods of marketing are dead. Specifically, Direct-Mail marketing remains just as effective now as it was in the past.
Who even sends out mail anymore?
I know what you’re thinking. With the convenience and instant gratification that resources like email and social networking provide, it’s a waste of time to send out postcards or other direct-mail materials. While digital resources do provide a new channel for connecting with your audience, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for physical marketing elements. So many people being connected online at the same time means you are competing for a spot on someone’s “timeline”. Let’s say you follow 200 people on Twitter for example. If those 200 people then each tweet 2-3 times a day, that’s 400-600 tweets that appear on your timeline. What is the likelihood that you will read all of them? Even if you intend to, unless you do nothing else after your work day is through, time just doesn’t permit you to read them all. Instead, you read what is currently posted during the times you do get on and look, meaning you only see part of what has been tweeted that day by part of your followers. And this is just on one social site! Think about your mail box though. When you check your mail, you may have 5-6 things waiting for you. Let’s be crazy and say you have 20 mail pieces of some sort sitting in your mail box. You are going to look at every single piece, even if you only look at the packaging and throw it out. I’d rather take my chances against 19 others than against the digital 399.
Make A Decision.
Elimination of competition isn’t the only component of the continued success of direct-mail. The key is that it ends up in the hands of the recipient. Once in their hands, the recipient has to make a decision on what to do with that piece of marketing. Whether it be to throw it away or put it on their fridge, the decision must be made. The only way for them to make that decision is to look it over and READ it. That’s the goal isn’t it? To get your piece read. Decision making is a result of evaluation of value. We keep the things that we have evaluated and deemed to be of value to our lives. The same applies to our mail. We read the piece, evaluate its worth or relevance to our lives, and make a decision based on that evaluation value. When it comes to socially shared information, we don’t have to evaluate and make a decision. The post is on Twitter or Facebook regardless of our actions. So there isn’t a decision to be made on our ends. We don’t have to choose to make use of what’s being Tweeted, which eliminates the need for evaluation.
But What If “I’m” Thrown Away?
All of seems useless if your piece ends up being thrown away. Even though you want to be a piece that is placed on the fridge next to little Timmy’s report card, if your piece does end up in the trash, that doesn’t mean your efforts were wasted. The way to counter that is to just keep on sending your pieces out. Let’s say you decide to send a post out once a month for a year. That’s twelve times your brand ends up in a person’s mailbox. That’s twelve physical postcards that have to hold in their hands and evaluate. Even if every single one of those ends up in the trash, your name and message has been read once a month for an entire year. That creates that Top-Of-Mind Awareness that you should be striving for. When that person hears or sees your industry, they will likely think of you because they have seen your information once a month all year.
There are cases and points to be made for both direct-mail marketing and digital marketing. The important thing to understand is that neither is dead, and both can be used together to reach your goals.