Critics of direct mail have been predicting its demise for years. But three recent reports, including Ballantine Corporation’s annual “Direct Marketing Trends” white paper, Epsilon’s “2011 Channel Preference Study” and the Winterberry Group’s “Outlook 2012: Trends in Direct and Digital Marketing,” indicate otherwise. It appears that 2012 is positioned to be a year for growth in direct mail. In fact, the Winterberry Group expects direct mail spending to increase 2.5% in 2012.
Three major trends are supporting the increasing popularity of direct mail.
- Crowded inboxes. One of the driving forces increasing direct mail’s popularity is consumers’ bulging email inboxes. We’ve discussed this trend when targeting Millennials, but the recent Epsilon study shows that email fatigue is common among many more consumers. Of surveyed consumers, 65% reported receiving too many emails. 50% of U.S. consumers also reported preferring direct mail to email. For marketers, these findings illustrate that to fight through the clutter, direct mail is a smart way to go.
- Consumer interest in mail. A study cited in the Ballantine white paper uncovered promising trends in consumer behavior for direct mailers:
– 85% of consumers sort through and read selected mailpieces each day
– 75% of consumers are examining mail more closely
– 40% have tried a new business after receiving direct mail
- Innovations enhance effectiveness. The latest innovations in design and printing have allowed for more relevant, targeted and memorable direct mail pieces. The Ballantine white paper emphasizes the importance of utilizing tools to enhance targeting and personalized to more effectively reach audiences. IWCO Direct’s Mike Dietz has discussed some of the creative trends and services that increase open and response rates.
These industry trends and consumer behavior reports indicate marketers can make the most of their 2012 marketing budgets by embracing direct mail as a very relevant, successful and often preferred marketing channel.
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