We live in a world of easy accessibility. Thanks to personal computers and mobile smart devices, we can make movies, edit music, produce our own shows, and build our own websites. However, when it comes to marketing, accessibility also creates a downside. The digital marketplace has become cluttered and unvetted, populated by weary and numbed consumers. Trustworthiness has given way to “here today, gone tomorrow” businesses, whose messages are delivered right alongside the “tried and true.” So what’s a trustworthy business to do? Thankfully, Direct Mail, like a classic vinyl LP in a sea of MP3s, has reemerged, providing a much needed antidote, right on time.
Advertising in the not so distant past, was a labor of extensive market research, creativity, and high production value. Ads were targeted to appeal to key demographics, and built to last, capturing the recognition of generations. In starkest contrast to today, it was the medium that was seen as the key to success in a great ad campaign. The medium itself carried clout and authority. If an ad ran in a reputable magazine, or during a popular radio or tv program, it was instantly perceived as trustworthy. That guaranteed perception was worth its cost.
A few decades later, with digital marketing, the advertising juggernauts have loosened. Ads pop up, block the screen, border the article, and banner the video faster than we can scroll, stream, or click. The simplicity of a quiet, well-designed and targeted direct mail piece seems suddenly quaint, doesn’t it? Like a breath of fresh air in a noisy terrain of 1’s and 0’s.
In the several hours a day the average person now spends online, we are exposed to thousands of ads, hundreds of which hit our sleepy eyes within the first hour we’re awake. Ever adaptable, consumers have developed the ability to ignore digital ads. In fact, research has revealed that only about 100 out of every 5,000 ads have any meaningful impact at all. Trustworthiness is part of it. Consumers have gotten wise. Clickbait is the new white noise.
Last year, a Canadian neuro-marketing firm compared the performance of direct mail pieces to digital media. They gathered data through questionnaires, as well By Bill McGowan, President/CEO of PrintFast Secrets of Marketing Success Direct Mail in the Digital Age: The Return of Trustworthiness in Marketing as advanced eye-tracking and high-resolution EEG brain wave measurement. Here’s what they found
• Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, making it both easier to understand and more memorable.
• Overall effectiveness showed that direct mail scored an average 1.31, compared to 0.87 for all digital channels. Values greater than 1.0 are indicative of broad in-market success.
• Consumers who received direct mail offers were able to recall the brand 75% of the time. Digital-only consumers remembered the brand only 44% of the time.
Perhaps it’s the tactile heft of a direct mail marketing piece, or the fact that a great postcard stands out as a sort of nouveau novelty, but we interact with the tangible more meaningfully. We are “forced” to consider every direct mail offer we receive. Whether we throw it away or make a purchase, we’ve engaged with it. Digital advertisers pay a premium to ensure that kind of interaction, and most of the time the consumer is just hoping to circumvent other ads.
The efficacy of direct mail can be evidenced by the fact that most people can name dozens of local businesses they may one day use to landscape their home, service their car, or clean their windows. The brick and mortar carries the gravitas of trustworthiness that the congested online environment cannot approximate. An MP3 can get erased in an instant. But, you can always find that LP nestled in its sleeve. That’s how direct mail still shines, even in the glare of a computer screen. PrintFast PRINTING EXCELLENCE SINCE 1903 100 Blackford Avenue, Middlesex, NJ 08846 800-810-4818 firstname.lastname@example.org www.print-fast.com