Mailing services are one avenue that printing companies are using to increase their service portfolio. When looking for a way to grow their share of a customer’s business, increase customer loyalty, or attract new customers, mailing is one of the first lines of investigation. You can see the latest mailing equipment and software at the GRAPH EXPO Mailing Center and learn why direct mail marketing should be part of your company’s mix.
As mailing services expert Nancy DeDiemar noted in her article “Making the Case for Direct Mail Marketing,” a growing body of evidence indicates that direct mail marketing is still effective; it does not harm the environment, and the line between e-marketing and spam is blurry.
Consider this: Every year since 1987, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has conducted an annual study called The Household Diary Study. In 2008, the study included 5,312 households that completed a seven-day household diary of mail received and sent for all 52 weeks of the study year. Here are some of the results of the study:
• Advertising mail represented 63% of all mail received—an average of about 16 pieces a week.
• 79% of households said they either read or scanned the advertising mail they received.
• One in three households said they made one or more purchases as a result of receiving the advertising mail.
• Contrary to the prevailing opinion that direct mail is “junk” mail, a majority of respondents in the Household Study reported paying attention to the advertising.
If you have customers who are non-profit organizations needing to communicate with alumni, members, or donors, inform them of the results of a 2009 Pitney Bowes survey. It included 1,100 U.S. college graduates who were asked about their preferences for receiving information from the school they attended.
The survey found that 54% of respondents have a strong preference for direct mail. Only 23% chose email as their preferred method of communication. The alumni also prefer print mail for correspondence and news from their alma mater—57% indicated a preference for mail versus 31% for email.
In March 2009, Bredin Business Information (BBI) published the results of a survey of 50 small to medium business marketers and 741 principals of U.S.-based businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Marketing to SMBs in 2009 revealed that 43.6% of the 741 businesses said they rely on direct mail, including letters and postcards, for information on products and services.
As software for conducting email campaigns becomes more prevalent, interest in e-marketing is growing. However, recent research suggests that digital marketing may not be an adequate substitute for direct mail. In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive in July 2009, of 2,265 U.S. adults age 18 and older, a majority of respondents stated that printed media is easier to read than the digital equivalent (though they did prefer the immediacy of the digital media). Of those surveyed, 68% said they felt more comfortable when they have something on paper, rather than on a computer screen.
One problem with email marketing is delivering the message. Return Path, an email deliverability company, found that for the first six months of 2009, 20% of consumer email ads sent by their Mailbox Monitor system were undelivered. Of those, 3.3% were sent to “junk” or “bulk” email folders, and 17.4% were not delivered at all. The lack of delivery rate was even higher for business email addresses. Return Path found that, on average, only 72.4% of commercial email is delivered.
Despite all the arguments, direct mail marketing remains a proven way to communicate with customers and prospects. Do your part to keep direct mail marketing relevant by learning the facts and by using it to promote your own business.