In the latest NAPL survey of quick and small commercial printers, 23.8 percent of printers picked mailing and fulfillment as the fastest growth area, placing it fourth behind digital color static (65 percent), wide-format color (47.6 percent), and digital color variable (38.1 percent). The same survey found that 27.6 percent of printers had made capital investments in mailing capabilities in the past three years, and 35 percent expect to do so in the next three years.
Of course, getting into direct mail is not just a matter of digging up a mailing list and some mailing software. Anything that goes into the mail stream is subject to a slew of requirements and regulations. That’s why years ago we instituted the Priority Mail column and, later, Mail Room: Ask Sandra in order to provide more detailed information to those readers using or planning to use direct mail. However, the USPS recently has instituted a program that could be an attractive entry point into direct mail.
Every Door Direct Mail
Every Door Direct Mail was introduced in 2011 and is gaining traction with small businesses because it lets mail be sent to a designated area—Zip code, neighborhood, or even a single carrier route. Small businesses serving a specific area can quickly put together an offer or communication without the cost of buying names and addresses or creating a media plan. With the lower costs, these small businesses can experiment to find what works best with their customers or potential customers in their area. This is an ideal opportunity for quick or small commercial printers to get into direct mail or to attract new customers for existing direct mail operations.
In the Mix
A recent survey by Pitney Bowes found that 76 percent of small businesses agreed that the ideal marketing mix features a combination of digital and physical communications. It also found that 58 percent used multichannel marketing. The survey also found that both direct mail (44 percent) and social media (50 percent) were popular marketing options.
There is no doubt that the marketing landscape is changing and will continue to change, but there is also no doubt that direct mail will continue to be an important component. According to Charles Prescott of the Global Address Data Association: “I cannot see a time when there won’t be direct mail marketing. It’s the single most effective way of making a sale.”