Direct mail still has crucial role to play

Most people recognise that developments in technology and the rise of digital have transformed marketing by providing interactive means to ignite consumer engagement. But in this rush to adopt the latest piece of kit, some are ignoring the significant merit of more traditional media, like direct mail, that can create exceptional standout for brands.
Combining the more established media with newer methods to connect with an audience and drive return on investment is key to a successful campaign.
The media landscape is undoubtedly changing. QR codes and watermarking technology have made it easier for brands to reach consumers, and with growth of digital marketing, brands are interacting with them on a one-to-one basis.
This rise of digital communications has led some to argue that traditional media, and direct mail in particular, has lost its way. However, contrary to accusations that mailings and door drops are outdated in the face of digital marketing; it is a long established way of connecting with consumers.
Direct mail is a powerful and tangible way of driving customers online, particularly if there is a personalised web link included in the mailer. This type of communication works well as an advertisement for the brand and is more likely to be remembered by the recipient than an email because of its tactile nature. Sending and receiving post is a personal interaction and consumers can feel more valued by a brand if they receive an item in the post, than if they receive a generic email with a call to action.
Furthermore, triggers that direct consumers are more likely to be successful if produced in the form of physical mail items, and serve as a tactile reminder of the brand which people can then use as a prompt to interact with the company online.
One example is our recent Tweethearts campaign, in which we sent out boxes of DirectionGroup-branded love heart sweets on Valentine’s Day to our clients and associates, encouraging them to tweet about things they love. We created a twitter account and ‘#dg_love’ hashtag for promotion. We received an overwhelmingly positive response to the campaign, with many tweeting and leaving messages. It would have been far more difficult to generate such a high volume of responses if we had sent emails rather than treats, which are more personal and make customers feel special.
Moreover, the results of the campaign demonstrate how digital and direct mail can work well together if executed in the right way. Mailers allow marketers to be creative and play a key role in driving consumers online with effective calls to action. Successful campaigns come from accurate targeting and using data responsibly. Combining these will not only deliver better engagement and response, it will also lead to satisfied loyal customers.

Patricia Harriss is business development director at DirectionGroup

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