Why direct mail should be your first call to amplify communications

By Erwin Busselot, Business Innovations & Solutions Director, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe

Direct mail is being rediscovered by brands and agencies. They are reappraising it as a medium that gets results – one that delivers and amplifies the messages and calls to action communicated by other channels, particularly digital.

In fact, a third of campaigns using direct mail within a mix of channels see a rise in revenue, compared to 23% for the average British marketing campaign. That is according to the 2021 Driving Effectiveness with Direct Mail report from Royal Mail Marketreach and advertising research group WARC. Nearly a quarter of campaigns, 23%, increase market share when using direct mail and more than a fifth improve profitability.

The report stated direct mail can:

– Act as a real differentiator in marketing campaigns, driving clear growth for brands. Its physical presence in consumers’ homes, combined with digital integration, increases share of voice and Return on Investment.

– Be highly personalised and targeted for greater impact than digital channels. Its physical nature captures both sensory and mental attention, with an average engagement rate of 95%. It is interacted with more than four times in the home, building a “brand room” in the brains of consumers, particularly when integrated into a wider campaign using the same distinctive assets. Personalisation aids attention and interaction and particularly resonates with Gen Z that has grown up with digital messaging.

– Deliver on both brand and performance goals. Inclusion of mail in a campaign drives increased acquisition rates, particularly when highly targeted. It also plays a powerful role in retention; 70% of consumers feel valued when receiving mail. As brands look to retain customers acquired during the pandemic, mail can be an effective tool in driving up their customer lifetime value.

– Be measurable. With a solid understanding of a campaign’s objectives and the right mechanics for tracking in place, the impact of mail on the customer journey can be clearly measured, avoiding the pitfalls of last-click attribution.

The pandemic has helped put these capabilities in front of the desired audience for longer reported Touchpoints 2020 from the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA). It found the amount of time consumers interact with direct mail has increased. Pre lockdown the average times spent were 13.48 minutes during weekdays and 25.12 minutes at the weekend. They rose to 14.24 minutes and 32.24 respectively.

Responding to how consumer habits changed during the pandemic was something Ricoh’s Eef de Ridder recently spoke about with Daniel Dunn, founder of Britain’s leading programmatic direct mail company Paperplanes. Daniel explained how increased online spend and communication have given direct mail the opportunity to reach more eyeballs cost effectively. See the full video here https://bit.ly/3B4E64m.

This is something broadcaster Sky found when it used direct mail to reach an almost 40% share of the doormat. A mailer was sent suggesting lapsed subscribers were missing out with a ‘Sorry we’ve been unable to deliver you unmissable Sky shows’. The 2p per piece (20p with postage included) communication resulted in a 33% increase in ex-customers returning.