Do old-school marketing tactics such as “snail” mail still work? You betcha, according to research gathered by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) from an online member survey this past spring. Yielding average responses from 34 of every 1,000 pieces distributed, direct mail is nearly 30...
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Do old-school marketing tactics such as “snail” mail still work? You betcha, according to research gathered by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) from an online member survey this past spring. Yielding average responses from 34 of every 1,000 pieces distributed, direct mail is nearly 30 times more effective than email and 340 times more effective than web banners, the 2012 study reported. “For email, the average response -- measured by taking the click-through rate and multiplying the conversion per click -- is 0.12 percent,” the report stated, citing Epsilon data, meaning that only one customer out of 1,000 would follow the email solicitation through to sale.
Meanwhile, paid search campaigns averaged a 3.88 percent click rate: The conversion-per-click rate, however, which indicates that someone took action after clicking on an ad, is less than 6 percent of those 3.88 percent who clicked. For Internet display, Bizo data showed average click rates of 0.024 percent and ultimate conversion rate of 0.010 percent.
For non-scientific proof, just look at today’s mail. With the holidays fast approaching and America’s mailboxes filling up, is there any doubt that direct mail still works? I regularly receive mailings from retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kohl’s, where I shop frequently and have a credit card. On the same day earlier this month, Carson Pirie Scott sent me a polybagged set of three mini-catalogs and promotional flyers (including perfume samples) and a pre-Thanksgiving discount postcard for half off a purchase of $100 or more. The 9x6-inch piece was printed in full color, albeit on somewhat flimsy paper stock – parent company Bon-Ton Stores’ way of cutting costs, perhaps?
As part of a cross-channel, multifaceted marketing mix, good ole ink (or toner) on paper can work really well in tandem with cleverly creative uses of mobile/smartphone (QR codes) and tablet apps as well as other electronic media: TV, radio, YouTube videos, webcasts, podcasts, online landing pages, SMS texting, and social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Ahem, Not So Private
While Halloween has past, growing privacy concerns are the scary part about today’s direct mail regulation. Some industry watchers refer to it as “Big Data Marketing.” I received a letter recently from a credit card provider that read, in part:
Financial companies choose how they share your personal information. Federal law gives consumers the right to limit some but not all sharing. Federal law also requires us to tell you how we collect, share and protect your personal information…. This information can include:
- Social Security number and income
- account balances and employment information
- credit history and transaction history
Frankly, legalese like this frightens the dickens out of most consumers, myself included, and confuses a slew of others. “When it comes to the use of data, you need to be careful and respectful,” said Janice Reese, CEO of foldfactory.com, an industry leader in direct mail solutions, print finishing software, and resources. Reese’s firm is based in Nashville, known as the Silicon Valley of health care. “There are compliance and HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] rules to follow, but it’s also a huge opportunity,” she noted.
To help direct marketing providers better understand what they need to know, executives are rallying next month at the National Center for Database Marketing (NCDM) conference in Orlando. Industry leaders will discuss the many and growing threats to data-driven marketing in an agenda-setting panel on December 4. Participants are Susan Fox, VP of government relations at Walt Disney; Tony Hadley, Sr. VP of government affairs at Experian; and Brian Huseman, director of public policy at Amazon.