November 20, 2015

Why Mail Still Matters to Consumers

mailbox.jpg

Things are made precious by their rarity. Fine art, first edition books, sports cars, and other memorabilia are valued for their uniqueness and for their impact on others. After all, isn't part of the joy of a rare piece of art that others look at it? In a similar (though far less precious way) a relevnat piece of physical mail is a rarity. It's like a little gift in its own plain wrapping, and since people today receive fewer and fewer pieces of mail, it's become a rare commodity.

Uncluttered "inbox"

Consumers enjoy getting mail, and statistics prove it. Three out of four consumers (73 percent) prefer mail over other advertising channels, and part of the reason is that physical mail is more manageable. The USPS delivers 513 million pieces of mail per day to around 118 million households. That works out to about four pieces of mail per family.

Compare that to the size of your email inbox or typical web page right now, and you can see that the odds are in favor that mail will capture your customer's mind share. Sure, email is great because it cheap and quick, but for most marketers mail remains a more effective way for consumers to receive marketing messages in a clutter-free environment.

Action-oriented

Another proof that consumers value mail more is the higher average response rates. Typical response rates from direct mail range from 3.5 to 5 percent, based on the size of the piece. As a direct marketing vehicle, a piece of mail is 37 times more likely to see a response from the recipient than email. One aspect driving these numbers is that the physical act of reading or opening mail strengthens its impression on two senses -- sight and touch -- and deepens engagement even before reading your message. Mail messages in our mobile, message-laden digital environment have become too easy to swipe away before reading.

Relevance revisited

Even more so than rarity, is the issue of relevance. Consumers are drowning in messages, but those that matter are rare. The majority of consumers (74 per cent) say they are frustrated with irrelevant marketing messages. Ads blast out to everyone, and consumers ignore most of them. They have tools such as ad blocking apps, DVR ad zapping and skip ad options on videos to avoid what isn't relevant. For example, the iOS ad blocker app Peace was so vastly popular that it's founder shut down the company, commenting that all that success, "just doesn't feel good." Making ads relevant to consumers, however, takes a great deal of real-time data and that's where the future of marketing lies. This is true for mail just as much as online content. The best message, especially in tangible form, should be a reinforcement of actions taken in other channels. A mail piece that is driven by a visit to the online store will have a much greater impact than a postcard sent based on a purchased list.

Give Consumers What They Want

Technology and society have changed and mail is about to change with it. With our Programmatic Direct MailTM capability, marketers can now deliver relevant marketing messages to homes or businesses based on real-time activity such as browsing, search, click events, product categories visited and cart abandonment. Programmatic direct mail combines the best analytics capability of digital with the reception and response rates of physical mail.

Digital campaigns are getting easier every day, but the most successful marketers are taking a second look at adding mail into the mix for response rates that digital can't touch. Contact us, and we'll show you an innovative way to engage more directly with consumers in the channel that delivers a rare, and valuable, experience.