Just a few years ago, when online marketing was still a twinkle in the eyes of the marketing technocrats, those same overly ambitious techies prematurely announced, “Direct Mail is Dead.”
And while the premature announcement of DM’s demise didn’t make the cover of Time Magazine, it nonetheless shook the marketing community to its roots.
Direct mail (DM), the long-time savior of all things marketing, became denigrated as “Snail Mail” slower than the electron-fast e-mail marketing that was rising to prominence. Fast was in; slow was out. Shotguns were in; rifles were out.
Well, that view is so... yesterday.
Today, the brilliant target-ability of direct mail has proven its worth as a tried-and-true in-the-trenches marketing success story. Sure, DM has taken a hit from email and its electronic cousins. Mail volume has dropped dramatically over the last 10 years, hurting both the USPS and providers of mailing services.
But consider this: your letter/postcard/catalog/package now shares the mailbox with far fewer competing pieces of mail. That means your recipient has longer to ponder your offer than ever before. You get more “eyeball time,” and because there is less competition, response rates are rising again.
One retailer analyzed side-by-side marketing performance of three media: DM, email and in-store promos. With response up 150% from the previous year with no significant change in strategy, DM was the hands down winner over flashier new media.
So here’s the headline: Snail mail, the so-called “obsolete marketing media,” is outperforming digital, including social media. Who’d a-thunk it just 10 years ago? DM is leading the new marketing wave.
The Past is Prologue.