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legitimacy of direct mail

The Legitimacy of Direct Mail in a World of Fake News, Bot Traffic, and Click Fraud

Alan Sherman

Between the spam, phishing attacks, fake ads, troll farms, and other forms of ad fraud, how do we really know what we see and read online is real? The short answer is, we don’t always know.

We are all subject to potential phishing attacks designed to steal our identity and it seems like major data breaches have become a common occurrence. Our personal data is no longer secure. The Washington Post estimated that Russian operatives placed some 3,000 Facebook ads in 2016. The Russians also created thousands of fake Twitter accounts and placed thousands of paid search ads on Google. While digital marketing is an essential component of an omnichannel strategy, online marketers are facing increasing skepticism from consumers.

Consumers and Advertisers Feel the Effect of Ad Fraud and Over Saturation

It is estimated by the statistics portal Statista that an average of 269 billion emails are sent every day in 2017, with this amount rising to 319 billion by 2021. Of the emails sent this year, spam messages accounted for a staggering 59% of the volume. How do consumers know when emails are real, since so many aren’t, and often look as professional as the legitimate ones? Bogus emails are a challenge made more difficult by the low barriers to email entry, primarily its minimal cost. Spam, combined with the desire to wring every last dollar from consumers via non-stop emails, have led to consumer email fatigue.

At the same time, digital fraud has a tremendous cost to advertisers. Click fraud scams are widespread, and according to a report by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), advertisers are expected to lose an estimated $6.5 billion in 2017 because of fraudulent impressions or bots. 

The Legitimacy and Effectiveness of Direct Mail Stands Out

So when you want to make a solid, persuasive case for your product or service, how do you target both prospects and customers in a way that leaves no doubt about who you are? The answer, which has always been there despite the rise of digital marketing, is sitting in the mailbox. Direct mail is a solid, proven and real medium that enables marketers to reach both prospects and customers at an 80%+ open rate. Because the creation of a direct mail campaign requires the right resources and knowhow, and is more of an investment than email, there are no phony direct mail packages. Consumers can trust the offer is legitimate and marketers can be confident the responses are, too.

There are three other important reasons why cable, financial, insurance, and other industries target consumers and other companies via direct mail:

  1. They can’t generate the growth they need via other channels, including digital.
  2. Direct mail, when integrated with digital marketing campaigns, makes online efforts more credible and therefore more likely to be opened.
  3. It works.

Yes, direct mail (when done properly via the right strategy, targeting, and creative) works—and works very well—both on its own, and in conjunction with online marketing tactics. To be sure, a standalone direct mail program is more than capable of high response rates, but a direct mail program combined with a digital effort can increase response rates across the board. A strategic campaign that sends a direct mail piece to a consumer before targeting that same prospect via email increases the likelihood of the email being opened and alleviates concerns about ad fraud because the direct mail piece has given credibility to the offer and prepared the consumer for the digital touch.

There is a very high likelihood that the marketer who tells you, “we tried direct mail, and it didn’t work for us,” didn’t have a well thought-out long-term test and learn strategy, was not leveraging effective analytics and targeting approaches, and did not use best practices for direct mail creative.

So next time you’re racking your brain on how to reach more prospects online, how to get more customers to open and read your emails, or how to erase any doubts about the legitimacy of your offers, maybe the answer is as simple as thinking about the mailbox. IWCO Direct’s Marketing Services group specializes in managing all of the components and channels of a successful direct marketing program. You can reach me at alan.sherman@iwco.com if you would like to discuss in further detail.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2017/11/17/ad-fraud-and-direct-mail/
Alan Sherman

Author

Alan Sherman

Vice President, Marketing Strategy. Boston University alum with an MBA from City University of New York. Brings more than two decades of direct and digital marketing strategy, testing, and project management expertise to make customers extraordinarily successful. Husband and father who splits his loyalties between the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Celtics. Fan of concerts, traveling, non-profit volunteer marketing, and walking the dog even though it was just out.

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