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7 advantages of direct mail

Posted by Sheera Eby on July 17, 2013

With the proliferation of channels, marketers are often forced to make trade-offs. One of the questions they find themselves asking is: What are the advantages and expected returns for certain channels?

Direct mail has been a proven workhorse for many B2B and B2B marketers. The reality, however is that direct mail is more effective when it’s utilized as part of a multichannel, integrated strategy.

So what are the advantages to direct mail? We’ve assembled the top seven.

1. Allows for targeting and virtually no waste in marketing dollars.
Direct mail allows you to target and reach exactly who you want to reach. Furthermore, if you employ predictive modeling and other targeting techniques, you can ensure optimal spending of marketing dollars. Direct mail response rates are directly impacted by reaching those who are most likely to respond. By leveraging these techniques, marketers can increase efficiency and eliminate waste. If you are mailing deep or to your entire universe, your average direct mail response rate is likely to be diluted.

Direct mail also allows you to sub-target based on geography, product availability or a number of other factors. One of direct mail’s greatest advantages is its ability to effectively target.

2. Measurable, no guessing necessary.
Direct mail is completely measurable. The ideal practice is to complete a back-end matchback after the campaign to determine the response rate of your intended target to your direct mail package. This ensures a comprehensive measurement across channels.

Utilizing printed response devices are an additional form of measurement and can provide guidance as to direct mail’s contribution as the campaign is unfolding. In today’s marketing world, measurement is becoming essential for budget justification. One of direct mail’s greatest advantages is its ability to be measured.

3. Appropriate channel to be personal, or at least personalize the communications.
Direct mail is the perfect tactic for delivering different offers and messages. The offer is the second most critical area that impacts direct marketing response rates (with targeting being the largest driver). Leveraging different offers for different groups is one of the key advantages of direct mail and a best practice of direct marketing overall.

Direct mail also provides a channel to leverage personalization. Personalization drives relevancy. Personalization and tailoring increase direct mail response rates. Messaging that isn’t perceived as relevant often doesn’t get a second thought.

4. Venue to test and learn.
There is no reason to guess about results. Direct mail provides ample opportunity for testing based on messaging, creative approach, package type, offers, etc. But it’s important to remember that statistically significant results require adequate quantities. Testing continues to be one of the key advantages of direct mail.

5. Plays a critical role and interaction with other channels.
Channels don’t really work alone anymore. Two out of three people who receive direct mail
make a purchase or also engage in a different marketing channel. This demonstrates the impact multichannel marketing communications has on every independent touch point. Direct mail is an effective channel to create integration and synergy of message to get the target closer to taking an action.

6. There is a formula to success.
Direct mail isn’t new. Unlike some areas of marketing communications, direct marketing has a fair amount of history to base best practices. The result is that direct marketing, and direct mail in particular, is very formulaic. This leads us to another advantage of direct mail: It’s easy to deliver success as long as you stick to the tried-and-true proven practices. When followed, direct mail’s guiding principles and best practices ensure success.

Whether it’s best practices such as allowing your target to read or scan or leveraging a P.S., there are a number of factors that can deliver response and action from your direct mail. Check out my article on 10 best practices for direct marketing for a more thorough analysis.

7. Because it works.
According to a DMA study, direct mail receives response rates of up to 30X higher than email. With average direct mail response rates remaining steady, marketers are continuing to turn to direct mail to help drive response for many of their programs. The best and probably biggest advantage of direct mail is that it works! Direct mail is a tried-and-true response driver when executed successfully.

There are many advantages to direct mail. I’ve outlined seven of the primary advantages to direct mail. Did I miss one? Let me know.

Check out our ebook on the 10 best practices into your direct mail campaigns. It will help ensure better results and a higher return on investment.

Direct Mail Best Practices

Topics: Driving response, Best practices, Direct marketing

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