Since I founded Gunderson Direct roughly 20 years ago, I’ve had a number of conversations where I’ve defended direct mail to digital marketers. It seems that our channel is just not as well understood as most others, so I’ve done my share of explaining.
Here is just some of what I say to help them understand how direct mail can help them.
• It has unique targeting capabilities: Cookie concerns? IP identification issues? A physical address is the most reliable contact information for prospecting. Direct mail datasets are appended with thousands of attributes—both demographic and behavioral—that are available for targeting. And you can apply AI and machine learning to model builds across numerous databases to constantly improve direct mail’s look-alike targeting capabilities.
• You can go bigger and cheaper (per impression): Scaling in digital typically means upping your bids to compete for a relatively fixed ad inventory. There is no bidding war to get into your prospect’s physical mailbox. In fact, the direct mail industry is set up to reward companies that scale, offering ever-improving manufacturing and data efficiencies as quantities increase. Scale a DM program, and your cost per impression typically drops.
• Omnichannel DM strategies can boost your response: The same data used to target a prospect’s mailbox can be used to target them digitally. Automated display (no cookies needed) and email touches, combined with the USPS’ free Informed Delivery program, can strategically surround the physical delivery of printed mailing withs additional impressions. We’ve found that these “digital surrounds” can improve overall campaign response by as much as 40%.
• Direct mail stands out: It’s often said that the average consumer encounters as many as 10,000 ads a day. Compare that to how many pieces of mail are delivered to your home each day. Importantly, ads in digital and traditional channels often interrupt your entertainment or information consumption, so they are often missed and easily dismissed. But direct mail consumption takes place away from a screen and can be reviewed at a prospect’s leisure.
• It makes an impression: People depend on physical mail to receive information from government and business institutions, making it a trusted source of communications. Furthermore, research shows that physical ads are remembered more quickly and elicit a stronger emotional response than digital ads.