It is about time that quick printers got some good news, and here it is:
Print and mail are alive and well!
Contrary to conventional wisdom among customers and even some printers that direct mail is “junk” mail, or “old” technology, or incompatible with environmental stewardship, print and mail remain an important part of any effective marketing program.
Skeptical? Consider the results of a 2008 study of 1,000 American consumers (split 50-50 between men and women), age 18 and older, from 10 major metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, and Seattle). The results, published as the DM News/Pitney Bowes survey, showed these findings:
• Nearly 94% of consumers survey reported taking action on promotional offers and coupons received via direct mail.
• 20% of consumers reported that more than 10% of the offers or coupons they received by mail led to a purchase.
• Almost 40% of respondents said they had tried a new business for the first time because of information received via direct mail.
• Nearly 70% of respondents said they renewed a relationship with a business because they received a direct mailing or promotional item.
• Respondents stated that information received via direct mail often led to a contribution to a non-profit organization for the first time.
The surveyors concluded that: “Direct mail induces the consumer to touch the offer—recipients of direct mail are receiving, sorting, reading, and using direct mail to make purchasing decisions.”
In 2009 Target Analytics published the Index of National Fundraising Performance, which analyzed giving via direct mail marketing for 79 of the largest non-profit organizations in the United States. The study included data from more than 38 million donors, and more than 74 million gifts totaling in excess of $2 billion in revenue.
Study results show that direct mail was responsible for 78% of donations received, or about $8 of every $10 contributed. This made direct mail the top source of fundraising—ahead of the Internet (9%) or telemarketing (3%). The study also found that Internet-based giving is increasing (from 4% in 2005), and that Internet gifts tend to be larger than those received as the result of direct mail ($79 versus $45).
One particularly interesting finding is that in 2009, 89% of all new donors to the non-profits in the study were acquired via direct mail, while only 12% were acquired online.
Local Targeted Marketing
Knowing the national trends in direct mail marketing will help keep you from having to agree with your customers who insist that email marketing is superior to traditional direct mail. Trends may be pointing in that direction, but as shown by numerous studies, today direct mail still dominates results.
This is even more apparent when thinking about marketing locally. An obvious example of successful local marketing using direct mail is a political campaign for mayor, city council, school district, a local bond issue or proposition, etc. For local campaigns, direct mail remains the most effective way to introduce a candidate or an issue, largely because the marketing can target specific blocs of voters.
Likewise, direct mail remains an effective and economical way to reach a small geographic division such as a neighborhood. Many mail list providers now offer online tools to pinpoint a small area such as a one mile radius around a restaurant, or offer list enhancement services (adding demographic information such as household income, gender, race) to enable even better targeting of the audience.
In fact, the ability to target a specific audience remains a primary strength of direct mail versus other communication channels, including email. Businesses that collect additional information about their customers can develop very personal campaigns based on using variable data printing. Or the direct mail piece can act as an introduction to Web-based marketing by presenting a PURL (personalized URL) as the call to action.