Why direct mail might be the best marketing tactic

Source: The Business Journal

Quick poll question: How many unread emails are in your inbox right now?

And for all of my “inbox zero” friends out there, how many emails from businesses do you automatically delete without even reading the subject line just to keep your inbox clean?

Either way, my point is this: As a society, we are absolutely inundated with email. If you’re like me, some days you feel like calling “email bankruptcy” to eliminate the madness of trying to manage it all.

Because of this, many brands are starting to explore new ways to earn the attention of potential buyers and exploring a tactic that had been all-but-forgotten in today’s digital age: direct mail marketing.

It’s not just the fact that people’s inboxes are swamped that’s leading to more direct mail campaigns. Consider these additional reasons why direct mail is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tactic:

1. Our brains are wired for print.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a fascinating report that compared how direct mail and digital advertisements impacted our brains. The study found that direct mail requires 21 percent less cognitive effort to process than digital media.

Further, consumers who received direct mail offers were able to recall the brand 75 percent of the time. For consumers who received digital-only versions, the brand was remembered only 44 percent of the time.

Research clearly shows that paper can be more impactful and memorable than digital.

2. Direct mail gives us more time to process information and make a decision.

In a world where we’re staring at a computer screen for hours on end, a print advertisement doesn’t produce the same kind of strain. At the same time, we’re not bombarded with competing ads from dozens of other organizations who are bidding for our attention.

3. Because most companies have scaled back on direct mail marketing, there’s less competition in the mailbox.

Perhaps most importantly, people are forced to consider each and every direct mail piece they receive. It doesn’t matter whether they throw it into the trash or act on the call-to-action. This allows you to get past becoming “just another email in the pile” or the automatic “delete” that happens with digital.

Samantha Owens Pyle is the owner and chief strategist of Green Apple Strategy, a Nashville, Tenn.-based marketing and branding firm.

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