As a travel marketer in 2017, part of your job is spotting future trends and ensuring that you are leveraging the best new solutions to stay competitive. It’s what travel marketers have done throughout digital history: In 2002, your brand started bidding for keywords in search marketing. In 2010, you experimented with display retargeting. In 2013 you began testing FBX/Social. In 2014, mobile ads were the beneficiaries of your test budget; in 2015, video.
This year, digitally reactive mail should be on your radar. Marketing is becoming increasingly personalized, data-driven and digital. Yet, the more money we pump into digital advertising, the more apparent its limitations have become. Consumers see digital advertising as ubiquitous, ignorable and often disrespectful.
By comparison, tangible media (postcards), delivered to the home, is more unique as fewer pieces are being mailed (especially compared to the deluge of digital advertising). It is impossible to ignore, and — particularly today, when actual mail is so infrequently sent — it is usually welcomed by the recipient.
The challenge for traditional direct mail (which still pulls in a large proportion of marketing expenditure, behind only search and TV) is that it has become inefficient, and it doesn’t offer the benefits marketers have come to expect when considered alongside digital options. For the most part, direct mail is not personalized and definitely not programmatic. Too often, it’s just another irrelevant, useless ad.
So how can marketers leverage the power of programmatic’s data-driven decisioning with the high impact of tangible messages delivered into home? And do it all in a timely, relevant and respectful way?
That’s exactly the promise of digitally reactive mail delivered to a home in the form of a card or catalog. This is not a saturation campaign, but a new touch point that becomes a personalized, addressable and respectful tactic along with your other online advertising. It’s relevant, it’s timely and most importantly, it’s personal and special.
And, with the right partner, this is something you can do now to drive measurable results tomorrow. Need more convincing?
Here are 10 reasons you should consider testing this new channel today:
1. It’s a new approach to a proven-effective travel marketing tactic
The travel industry has a long tradition of printed media and physical impressions. This new channel offers a 21st century synthesis of the power of programmatic intent data collection and decisioning with the traditional impact that a physical impression in the home can make on a travel consumer.
2. It’s both innovative and complementary
This is not about replacing a solution that is already working. This expands your marketing toolkit and diversifies your digital spending across new channels.
3. It’s drama-free
Digitally reactive mail is delivered to the hands of your target customer without the worry of bots, fraud, ad blocking or any of the other pain points plaguing digital marketers today.
4. It’s intent-driven
This is the critical difference between digitally reactive mail and other forms of print advertising. Your marketing piece is only delivered to customers who have shown a demonstrated interest in your brand by having visited your website but did not, yet, make a booking.
5. Mail still matters
For consumers, bringing in their mail and discovering what it offers is a highly interactive daily ritual — one that most enjoy. This channel puts your brand at the center of that very personal activity.
6. Capitalize on a lean-in moment
A recent study conducted by comScore found that, on average, travelers in the US made 140 visits to travel sites in the 45 days before booking a trip. Physical impressions delivered into home are persistent and available at this critical moment when the consumer’s situation is predisposed to take action.
7. Millennials love mail
Trying to engage younger travelers? 84 percent of millennials actually pay attention to their mail. A full 64 percent would rather scan for useful information in their physical mail than email. And 90 percent think this form of advertising is reliable.
8. Older Americans love mail too
56 percent of respondents to a recent survey said that receiving mail is a “real pleasure,” and 55 percent “look forward” to discovering the mail they receive.
9. It’s a relationship builder
70 percent of Americans feel physical mail is “more personal” than digital. Not to mention, less disruptive. Do you want to form a relationship built on trust and respect or one built on repeated hounding and interruptions of your consumer?
10. Oh, and it works
60 percent of ad mail recipients will visit a website printed on the mailer they’ve received. Even more importantly, customers will spend more on your services when they receive mail from you.
Digitally reactive mail brings the best of digital — real-time intent data and decisioning — to the high impact of tangible media. So instead of using the power of data to create yet another online ad in a sea of ads, why not harness it to instead put a beautiful, personalized piece of content into a customer’s hands?
Jim Price is VP Sales, Travel at PebblePost. A seasoned veteran in both the travel and digital advertising industries, Jim focuses on bringing the company’s innovative solutions to advance the unique business objectives of travel marketers.