I recently asked my daughter to do an errand for me while I’m out of town on Groundhog Day, February 2. She agreed, and I left… only to ask the favor again a few minutes later. She looked confused at first, but then laughed. Even though she was only two when Groundhog Day came out (and she has still never seen the movie), she got the reference to the classic 1993 comedy: Bill Murray’s character relives Groundhog Day countless times, watching the same people doing the same things over and over again. The same thing seems to happen with direct mail—people continue to have the same misconceptions about it no matter how much evidence we have to the contrary.
Mail is trustworthy, tangible, and trackable. Studies continue to show it’s a reliable, repeatable channel. Yet, we continue to run into those who have the doubts about mail’s relevance, cost, and performance. Here are three constantly repeated “Groundhog Day”-like myths about mail:
- It’s not effective.
- It costs too much.
- It’s part of a dying industry.
Despite our best efforts to educate marketers about the truth of direct mail through our blog, speaking engagements, published articles, and more, these myths are hard to snuff out because they make sense at some level. So let’s bust these myths.
Myth Buster 1: Direct Mail Continues to Reach and Engage Consumers
In this age of technology, it would seem logical that paper would die out and mail would become obsolete, but that’s not happening at all. In fact, people’s preference for mail over digital is a staggering statistic: 73% of U.S. consumers say they prefer direct mail when it comes to brand communications, and 87% of millennials—a.k.a., the kids who are always on their phone—say they like receiving direct mail.
With these facts in mind, let me pose a question: if a huge majority of the incoming generation—the generation projected to have $200 billion in buying power—likes mail, do you really think it’s an ineffective marketing channel on the verge of extinction? What if I added that 57% of millennials reported making a purchase after receiving a direct mail offer?
Myth Buster 2: Direct Mail is Cost Effective Because it Works
Here are the facts: direct mail continues to produce the best response rates, according to the 2017 DMA Response Rate Report (which you can read more about here and here). Its predictable Return on Investment (ROI) and measurability are stronger than other channels, and because it’s so predictable and the returns are so strong, it’s easy to make it cost-effective.
Direct mail is only as expensive as you’d like it to be. Utilizing a wide variety of format sizes, postage classes, paper stocks, and quantity can help you manage direct mail costs, while testing ensures that you’re getting the most bang for your marketing buck. Plus, advances in print technology continue to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of mail for even greater savings.
Myth Buster 3: Direct Mail Improves Response Rates for ALL Marketing Channels
When direct mail is added to the marketing mix, marketers see improved conversion rates in other channels due to the increased exposure to the offer, brand recognition, staying power of the message, and its ability to provide a physical touchpoint, according to the USPS’s The Case for Marketing Mail report. In fact, that same report states that marketers who combine digital and physical mail can see anywhere from a 10–30% increase in conversion.
For those still skeptical on the effectiveness of direct mail, I’d encourage you to read my colleague Krista Black’s article on the topic. And, as always, you can stay on top of the latest figures, trends, and tips by subscribing to SpeakingDIRECT.
We hope that a year from now, we will have finally broken the direct mail myth cycle. Until then, happy Groundhog Day! And have a happy Groundhog Day!
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