Integrated marketers run nearly twice as many direct mail campaigns than any other sector, according to a major industry study into the role mail plays in today’s marketing mix, which also shows direct marketers, adland and digital marketers are still heavily reliant on the medium.
The study, “Advertising mail: a new perspective”, was launched in November last year by the DMA and technology company Ricoh and designed to gauge the state of the channel and its evolving role in the digital age. It reveals that direct mail users fall into five distinct categories.
The DMA’s head of media channels, Emma-Jayne McEwan, said: “We tried to get away from economic modelling and into skillsets and what you do day-to-day. We are not saying it’s mail over other channels or just mail matters, but it’s worth considering as part of your overall marketing. Look at where your customers go.”
Some 56% of respondents to the survey carried out at least three campaigns in the past year, with five types of mail user emerging:
Integrated marketers (36%) – this group focuses on the role of advertising mail as an effective channel within the overall marketing mix.
Direct marketers (19%) – return on investment is the primary reason for adopting the channel for this group.
Advertising mailers (15%) – very specific understanding of the channel’s qualities of being trustworthy, having good customer reach and being a premium channel.
Contextual mailers (14%) – the primary reason for using the channel was when it was appropriate for the product or service.
Digital mailers (14%) – use advertising mail to cut through digital clutter or to enhance response to other digital activities is the primary driver.
McEwan cited one of the key findings of Royal Mail MarketReach’s Private Life of Mail study, which claimed direct mail triggers an emotional response.
“There is something emotional about getting something through the door. Getting mail is a joy, quite frankly,” she added, saying that the medium can cut through much of the digital clutter. “There is a digital marketing bandwagon. You may not need a Facebook page and you may not need mail. Just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s any good.”
McEwan said there were still substanital barriers to embracing a direct mail strategy, including cost, use of data, the perception of ‘junk mail’, and appropriateness to the product or service.
However, she added: “There is no golden chalice that ‘this is what you have got to do’. Use the technology that’s available – there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Is your customer at the heart of your campaign? Take your customers on a journey that’s relevant.”
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