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The Dystopian State of Marketing — The Truth Is Not So Obvious

Posted by Ron Jacobs on March 19, 2020

Sound the death knell...

  • Direct mail is dead!
  • Catalogs are dead!
  • Email is dead!
  • SEO is dead!
  • Retail is dead!
  • Brands are dead!
  • Advertising is dead!
  • Agencies are dead!
  • Digital marketing is dead, post-GDPR!
  • AI is replacing people and jobs!

There is some truth in all of these statements. But, none of these statements reflects the true state of marketing.

We have seen declining direct mail volume over the last ten years. In 2008, the United States Postal Service handled over 200 billion pieces of mail, about half of which was marketing mail. In 2016, that had dropped to just over 150 billion pieces. According to the Data and Marketing Association, that dropped further to 121.2 billion pieces in 2017, after 2016’s election year spike. 

Does that mean fewer people check their mailboxes daily? Maybe. And yet all those customers still have mailboxes—which are less crowded than they were 10 years ago.

That gives you a chance to stand out in the mailbox and stand out from all the other companies that never think to engage their customers with mail. And when you combine direct mail with digital, things get really interesting.

It’s only recently that marketers have been able to easily sync direct mail with their digital campaigns (partly thanks to tools like Inkit’s Drip, Hubspot and Facebook integrations.)

The data is still coming in and it looks good. Last year, Canada Post released a major study on the effects of integrated direct mail/digital campaigns.

Canada Post found integrated campaigns got 39% more attention, produced 5% more emotional impact and produced 10% higher brand recall than single-medium digital campaigns.

Working with a large eCommerce retailer looking to complement their programmatic strategy, one that had never used direct mail, provided great results:

We contacted customers who fell out of the online customer decision journey with highly personalized content mailed out the next day. We doubled the typical response rates the brand sees from email and online retargeting.

Other examples…

How consumers use catalogs has changed. They read offline and buy online.

One-word keywords have replaced longtail keywords. Google is now indexing mobile websites first, not desktop websites.

Advertising is evolving into something more like direct marketing, with a goal of engagement, tight targeting, calls to action, measurement, etc.

GDPR is laying out customer opt-in rights and disclosures of how data is used, but this is not going to slow down the growth of social posting, influencer marketing or other areas of digital growth.

AI is in its nascent stage and does nothing without human intervention, from learning behaviors to actual writing.  

However, if you plan to work and stay in marketing, you need to understand data, digital fluency and math skills — you need to be able to make sense of complexity and you need a lot of resilience. In short, you need to be a lifetime learner.

Find out how J&C can help you sync your online and offline marketing campaigns. You’ll see better results and better business outcomes.

Contact me today at dquigley@jacobsclevenger.com. I’ll show you how we’ve helped other companies like yours do the same.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Direct Marketing

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