For many of us junk mail is a daily irritation. The unwelcome thud of letters, flyers and leaflets that prevent get in the way of essential mail and are destined straight for the recycling bin. The bad news is that there is more direct mail than ever before but the good news is that you might start to enjoy your mail as it becomes ever more closely targeted to your actual lifestyle and interests.
In the week that the UK’s leading trade body for direct marketing, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) launch a revised Code of Conduct, it appears the volumes of direct mail continue to grow – and the effectiveness of mailing solutions as a direct marketing tool continues to beat many of the more recent methods such as email and SMS marketing.
Do we really hate junk mail?
Figures suggest that our trumpeted dislike of ‘junk’ mail might be one of the latest urban myths. A UK survey from Acxiom reported that nearly three-quarters (71%) of consumers are happy to receive mail from organisations they already buy from and some 57% of respondents also saying that postal contact was appropriate for prospective customers.
Businesses certainly love Direct Mail – it produces great response rates and delivers one of the highest ROI on any marketing activity. The average response rate for the more traditional medium of direct mail was 4.4 per cent for both B2B and B2C mailings – easily exceeding the average email response rate of 0.12 per cent. Direct mail activity has also been reported as delivering an ROI of £4.60, a stronger return than both search and above-the-line activity.
The future for direct mail
One reason why direct mail continues to thrive is that it is seen by recipients as ‘trustworthy’ – an important concept and one that Google use when it comes to ranking websites. David Cole, MD of fast.MAP, which carried out research for DMA states “Post is seen as more memorable and authoritative, whereas email provides the ease of response and the ability to share.” The DMA research shows that 48 per cent of consumers “occasionally” keep an item of direct mail to refer to, while 17 per cent “regularly” hold on to a mailing for future reference, suggesting that Direct Mail can also offer longevity.
Marketers have plenty of tools at their disposal to build on the authority of their Direct Mail campaigns. This is after all the age of ‘big data’ and organisations are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to develop a personalised approach in their campaigns. By combining buying data with CRM data, organisations can leverage their customers’ interests and lifestyle choices – not simply their previous purchase history.
Developments in printing technology such as improved Variable Data software, QR codes, Personal ULRs and access to 3D printing are also allowing campaigns to be more personalised and even more creative – so perhaps we will grow to love our junk mail after all.