In today’s day and age, why use direct mail? This is the age of technology, when video chats have taken the place of face-to-face conversation, e-mail has replaced snail mail, YouTube and Hulu have replaced television, iTunes has replaced the radio, and text messages have taken the place of pagers. With all of this being a given, why do companies still opt to use targeted direct mailing campaigns to spread the word of their companies and deliver coupons? The answer: despite the technology age, direct mail is still incredibly effective.
Before the days of email and text messaging, people received a lot of mail. Imagine if every email in your inbox represented an actual piece of physical mail delivered to your home! In those days it was common to just throw out the “junk” mail, which came in swarms. However, with a good portion of this mail reduced due to the appearance of email and the ability to “opt out” of many mailing lists, the number of actual pieces of physical mail received at every household as dropped dramatically. This means that when mail is received by hand, each piece is paid more attention than in the past. Going through the mail is no longer an hour-long chore; it has become a pleasurable and quick part of the day, so we tend to pay attention to each letter or flyer we receive.
Why not replace direct mail with direct email? For many of the same reasons just explained; email has taken the place of snail mail, so while we once would read every email in our inbox and throw away the majority of our snail mail, their roles have reversed. We now think nothing of deleting everything in our spam folders or anything that even remotely appears to be “junk” email without so much as a glance, but we pour over each individual letter received at our homes, knowing that we are safe from viruses and spyware. There is no harm that comes from opening a letter or reading a flyer.
Also, a well-planned direct mail campaign says a lot about a company. It says they are willing to go the extra mile to print these campaign ads or brochures, to target a mailing list, and to actually send out the mailings. We can obtain almost any restaurant menu we want online—complete with directions, reservation forms, and reviews, but we still tend to reach for the physical menus in our kitchen drawer at home when thinking of where to get take-out. Holding a physical piece of mail says that the sender went the extra mile, instead of just sending an impersonal mass email.
So if you are considering abandoning your direct mail campaign in favor of something more technologically modern, think again. Unsolicited email invokes fears of computer viruses and spyware. Mass emails are impersonal and take little targeting or thought. Regular physical mail however, poses no threat at all, except for the occasional paper cut, and is often read with more thoughtfulness than the junk email of today. There are no spam folders in the home mailbox, so keep a direct mail campaign in your future business plans.
Author: Brad Allen