Answer: As technology has advanced in recent decades, all three (especially direct mail) were left for dead by some experts.
We now know, however, that those experts were wrong.
The reality is that many people value items they can touch and feel. They want something tangible or nostalgic, like a record, or to simply enjoy leafing through the pages of a good book, soaking in the smell of ink on paper.
Despite the proclamations of many digital gurus and social media ninjas, direct mail never wavered on delivering higher response rates than its younger contemporaries. In fact, direct mail’s response rate is increasing, reaching its highest levels in more than a dozen years in 2016.1
The truth is that multiple channels have their place as the window to capture audiences’ attention increasingly narrows.
Making the connection
According to a 2015 study2, consumers who receive offline advertisements were able to recall the brand or offer 75 percent of the time, compared to 44 percent for digital formats. Direct mail also takes 21 percent less cognitive effort to process than the same message delivered from a digital channel, which is especially important considering the known challenges in capturing audiences’ attention.
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Harnessing direct mail’s power
Direct mail is an untapped resource for many brands, especially if they over-rely on digital channels. According to the DMA’s 2016 Response Report1, response rates for direct mail campaigns using house lists average 5.3 percent, while cold lead/prospect lists can expect a 2.9 percent response rate. No other channel, including online display ads, email, social media and paid search, yields even a one percent rate.
Direct mail response rates reign supreme, and it’s not close.
Debunking the millennial myth
Because millennials are digital natives, it’s easy to assume that they eschew direct mail and other non-digital forms of advertising. The truth is quite the opposite, as 90 percent of millennials think direct mail is a reliable form of advertising and 57 percent of this generation have made purchases due to a direct mail offer.5
Considering that 36 percent of millennials look forward to checking the mail each day3 and their cumulative spending power projects to reach $1.4 trillion by 20204, using direct mail to reach millennials has the potential for significant returns on the investment.
In fact, direct mail provides a strong overall ROI at 27 percent1, further cementing it as a key cog in any brand’s marketing mix.
The 2016 DMA Response Rate Report
Canada Post/True Impact Marketing: Understanding the Impact of Physical Communications through Neuroscience. February 2015
2015 Gallup Poll. Four in 10 Americans Look Forward to Checking Mail
Direct Mail Marketing to Millennials – 5 Tips. www.targetmarketingmag.com. March 2016
Six ways to connect with millennials. www.pitneybowes.com
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