It’s easy to forget that direct mail offers your audience a tactile, sensory experience – they can feel it, play with it, even smell or taste it. It’s portable – you can take it with you to read on the train, in the garden. Coupons can be detached and slipped in a purse or wallet.
Some of the most successful online retail brands have used print to build and grow a new client base targeting the affluent consumer, a fish hard to catch in the ocean of digital content. A catalogue or magazine can be an objet d’art, yet also a commercially potent opportunity to reach engaged customers who want to buy.
Indeed, participants in our recent research openly admitted that they would irrationally choose a more expensive provider on the basis of the production quality of their mailing (source: Royal Mail MarketReach, Ethnographic Quant, Trinity McQueen 2014).
Take ASOS as an example. As of February 2013, unique visitors to ASOS Group sites were just shy of 20 million, with 2.3 million Facebook likes and almost half a million Twitter followers. But ASOS also does mail: its free printed magazine circulation of 456,000 makes it the 18th largest in the UK, immediately behind Glamour and Closer, and just a handful of places behind New! (source: ASOS Plc)
As Tess Alps, CEO of Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV, put it: “The tactile quality is what I really envy in direct mail. Combining direct mail with TV can satisfy the appetites that TV triggers.” (source: Thinkbox, 2013)
Mail also has longevity. People will keep a well-designed catalogue on their coffee table and a useful mailshot will be filed away for future reference. Just think: you could send something through the post that someone could keep for 20 years – advertising your brand all the while.
Mail lives on in the home for between 17 and 45 days – but it is also read, on average, for 22 minutes a day (source: IPA Touchpoints 5, 2014). And this is especially true of brochures and catalogues. 71% of consumers open a brochure or catalogue from a company they have ordered from before and 56% then go on to interact with that company (source: Royal Mail MarketReach, Ethnographic Quant, Trinity McQueen, 2014).
Direct mail sends out a message about your company – recipients respond that they get a better, more professional and more personal impression of the sender when they receive a piece of direct mail.
And it even drives people online. 92% of people have been driven to online or digital activity as a result of receiving direct mail, with 87% influenced to make an online purchase (source: Royal Mail MarketReach, Mail and Digital Part 2, Quadrangle, 2014).
Finally, direct mail doesn’t have to compete with other content, like a TV channel or web site. There are 530 UK TV stations, 821 UK radio stations and 234 million websites… but only one letterbox.