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Using direct mail to grow your business

by on May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

In the current media landscape, with eyeballs and revenues rapidly migrating online, brands are in danger of overlooking the potential of print. Whilst newspaper and magazine paper circulations and readerships are declining, one print medium is showing remarkable and robust health. Indeed, direct mail has been quietly and efficiently reinventing itself, and carving out a new role within the modern media landscape.

One core reason for mail’s success is the presence it commands in the home. 74 per cent of adults read mail on a daily basis (only just short of the daily reach that radio delivers)’ and they spend 22 minutes doing so (that’s 50 per cent longer than they spend with magazines). So it’s no surprise to us that a meta-analysis of thirty years of IPA effectiveness award data has shown that campaigns using mail were 27 per cent more likely to deliver top ranking sales performance and 40 per cent more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition levels, when compared to campaigns without mail. If your business is looking to grow, and direct mail is not a part of your current strategy, then it needs to be.

Mail was at the heart of a recent growth story for The Salvation Army. After some years of declining performance MC&C reinvigorated their fundraising activity, increasing their numbers of new donors by 262 per cent in just five years. Direct mail was at the core of an integrated campaign, supported by both broadcast and digital media. Integrated, data-led journeys started with broadcast media priming potential donors; direct mail engaging and informing them; and finally digital media harvesting the income. This campaign has enabled The Salvation Army to increase their investment in mail by 270 per cent, and improve ROI from both recruitment and CRM investments.

The learning from The Salvation Army campaign is reinforced by recent research from Royal Mail MarketReach (Private Life of Mail). The “media multiplier” effects of mail, especially with television, were clearly shown by a large scale neuroscience study. Mail was more likely to create an emotional impact than email or television, and much more likely create a long term memory. This long term memory is often the reason for sustainable brand share growth. And this strong performance for mail was improved by another 20 per cent if recipients had seen the brands television ad first. Another recent award-winning example of this is Cravendale. Their regional tests showed that direct mail and TV advertising both increased sales significantly when used in isolation;  however when they were combined sales more than doubled. It’s not just charities that see 200 per cent plus growth rates when putting direct mail at the heart of their growth strategy.

This highlights the importance of looking at mails most appropriate place in customer journeys, rather than seeing the channel in isolation. Often that place is in the middle. Primed by television, consumers will stop and spend time reading their mail, and then complete their research online. The research shows that mail drives consumers to digital channels. They found a 13 per cent increase in consumers visiting a company’s website when they had received some form of direct mail from the company, and an increase in 21 per cent of consumers who made purchases when they had received some form of direct mail.

In this era of near zero interest rates, sustainable profitable growth has become the new goal for businesses. Its yardstick is the volume of incremental net profit generated over a five year period. Net growth demands new ideas, and a new approach to your marketing investment strategy. Sometimes those new ideas can be found in heritage media, especially one that commands daily time, attention and value of consumers. Mail is just such a heritage medium. Used as part of an integrated schedule, with a message that consumers value, it will create unique value for most clients. It’s a core ingredient in many recipes for growth.

Mike Colling is Founder and Chief Executive of MC&C


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