Direct Mail Marketing, is it a relevant or an outdated method?

Posted by Gerry Johnstone on 05 April 2016

When I started out in marketing four years ago, direct mail marketing wasn’t a piece of the puzzle that I thought about. Admittedly, even my skillset and experience is largely digital. Like most of my peers, my mind automatically jumps to digital marketing when planning a campaign but are we missing a trick? Direct mail campaigns have many benefits, even in 2016!

In my four years of marketing, I’ve regularly been on the receiving end of some great direct mail pieces from suppliers. Some of those companies I have then cultivated relationships with, taking them with me when I made the jump from working within a national company to an international one. Some of these companies I’ve even used when carrying out freelance work. For those suppliers, their direct mail campaigns have proved successful.

But can a direct mail campaign still reach your consumers in the B2C market? The answer is a pretty simple, yes. A smarter answer would be that cleverly execute campaign can do almost anything. 

For example, in 2014 TOMs and Target teamed up and mailed out their ‘Together Sweater’ to a list of partners and celebrities to launch a limited range of purchasable gifts that would help both companies supply those in need with shoes, clothing and food. The ‘Together Sweater’ helped boost the marketing campaign as recipients took to social media to show off their new sweaters with those close to them.

Another example would be Kit Kat and their use of direct mail in 2012 to launch the Kit Kat Chunky, which obviously went well because the chunky is still seen on shelves today! The brand sent out a direct mail piece that echoed the design of local missed delivery notes, posting through letterboxes the piece claimed that there had been an attempt to deliver a chunky parcel which would be available to collect from a named newsagent (see the design here).

There are so many good direct mail campaigns that have done well due to design, execution and a properly tailored mailing list, available from your CRM or a credible data source. Do you see how you’re missing the trick now?

If not, then hopefully the statistics will talk for themselves. The Private Life of Mail study published in 2015 also showed that mail had a longer life span than email. The majority of us will delete emails as soon as we get them, possibly because there’s something almost satisfying about an empty inbox. However, advertising mail is kept in a household for 17 days, 38 days for door drops and if anyone is interested, bills and statements stay for around 5 days before we can’t stand the sight of them anymore.

The study showed that 21% of promotions and special offers received through the post are shared amongst friends and family, ask yourself, how often do you forward on an email with a special offer code?

It seems that direct mail isn’t dying out, its multiple uses are just being forgotten about and underutilised. Can your 2016 campaigns benefit from a mailing campaign boost?