IVE Data-Driven Communications

The Digital Marketing Landscape: Why Direct Mail Still Delivers Results

We live in a world where technology dominates our lives, from consuming news online to social media channels revolutionizing how we stay connected. Smartphones have become ubiquitous, allowing us to access the digital world at our fingertips 24/7. However, when it comes to marketing, the story is somewhat different. Digital isn’t necessarily stealing the show in the same way it is in our everyday lives.

A study by the Direct Marketing Association found that the response rate for direct mail (to an existing customer base) averages at 4.4%, compared to email at just 0.12%. This isn’t helped by the decline in eDM open rates as consumers have become savvier at blocking out marketing messages either by using advanced filters or simply by deleting according to sender or subject line.

The problem of consumers abandoning and creating new email addresses is still an issue. According to a report by Epsilon, 22.5% of email addresses in a typical marketing database are inactive. Moreover, the report found that 51% of all email is opened on a mobile device, so it’s essential that emails are designed for mobile first.

In short, the digital marketing landscape is ever-changing, but direct mail still proves to be a reliable channel that delivers results. Marketers have decades of learnings to draw upon when writing direct mail strategies, making it challenging for eDM to compete. Direct mail has stood the test of time and continues to do so.

However, that’s not to say that email marketing doesn’t have its place. Email marketing still has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, according to a report by the Data & Marketing Association. Marketers just need to be smart about how they use eDM and not use it as the default channel when budgets and/or timeframes are tight. There are real opportunities for marketers to use email marketing in the right way, as part of their channel strategy.

In a survey conducted by Fluent, 60% of respondents said they prefer to receive promotions via email, while only 20% preferred social media. Moreover, the study found that 91% of consumers check their email daily, highlighting the importance of email as a marketing channel.

That said, it’s essential to tailor your marketing strategy to your target audience. In a survey commissioned by Australia Post, 44% of consumers aged 18-39 cited email as their preferred communication method. If 44% of your consumers prefer to receive communication via email, then that’s 44% of your audience that you can target with messaging to increase engagement levels and response rates.

However, in the same survey, only 31% of consumers aged 40-59 cited email as their preferred communication method. It also revealed that lower income earners are more receptive to direct mail than email, and 48% of consumers felt that information provided by direct mail is easier to understand compared to 20% via email.

If learnings such as these are reflected in a marketer’s channel strategy and customer bases are segmented and targeted accordingly, then we will start to see response rates lift.

The trick is to know how your consumer wants your message delivered and play to this. The variables that dictate this include the industry you’re in, the age and social demographic of the consumer, and the type of communication. If marketers can master this, the result is smart marketing that resonates with the consumer and delivers results.

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