ANA Conference Reports on the Effectiveness of Direct Mail

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Michelle Peel

As Sales Content and Research Manager, Michelle enhances the customer experience for our clients by keeping her finger on the pulse of key consumer trends, new vertical market developments, and competitor insights that impact their business. A graduate of Elizabethtown College with more than 20 years of direct marketing experience, she brings the “make it happen” attitude to IWCO every day. She is a dedicated Pittsburgh Steelers fan who enjoys shopping, crafting, and spending time with her family.

Since the pandemic I’ve found myself enthusiastically leaving my house…to check my mailbox. I wouldn’t just glance at my mail, but really looked through and read my mail daily. Apparently I’m not the only one who did this. According to the USPS, 41% of consumers said due to the pandemic they were more excited to receive mail each day, and the effectiveness of direct mail remains strong, with 34%  perusing direct mail ads for deals more now than they were before the pandemic.

I recently attended the ANA’s Direct Mail Virtual Half-Day Conference Presented by United States Postal Service. Since the ANA Response Rate Report hasn’t been published in the past few years, I was really looking forward to the session “ANA – 2021 Response Rate Report – Initial Findings.” Here are some key takeaways, reiteration of best practices, and fascinating statistics on the effectiveness of direct mail from the session:

The key to achieving the best response rates is to implement a multichannel campaign.

  • 84% of marketers reported that direct mail improves multichannel campaign performance.
  • 77% of marketers reported receiving the best response rates when they used four to six channels in their multichannel campaigns. This is an 8% increase over 2019 response data.
  • When direct mail is part of a multichannel campaign, it is uniquely powerful to reach C-Suite audiences.
  • Direct mail was used with email (80%), social media (63%), and paid search (50%).

Personalized direct mail was named the most effective channel for reaching the target audience. With an impressive 82% effectiveness rating, personalized direct mail increased 4% over 2019 response data. This put personalized direct mail in a tie with the Events category, which included webinars, virtual events, and trade shows.

Furthermore, respondents identified the primary purposes of utilizing direct mail campaigns were to drive traffic to retail locations, generate leads, and engage customers.

The top formats varied by whether the respondents were using a house list or a prospect list. When using house lists, the top two formats sent were letter-sized envelopes and postcards. But when using prospect lists, it was surprising that dimensional sized packages and postcards were the top two formats sent.

Direct mail is extremely powerful for moving people to action, as presented in the session “What You’re Missing about Today’s Direct Mail”:

  • 68% use coupons they get in the mail.
  • 46% say direct mail encourages them to go online for more information about an advertiser.
  • 41% say direct mail encourages them to make an online purchase from an advertiser.

Despite the great content on the effectiveness of direct mail,  what was clearly missing from the half-day conference was the presentation of response rates. Although the release of the full ANA 2021 Response Rate Report is postponed, once published, this report will track the performance and cost of direct mail, email, search, display, social, and SMS.

Are you looking to create personalized offers that drive people to action or for the best multichannel approach to creating customers? Look no further than IWCO Direct. We recently announced a strategic $50 million investment plan that features production enhancements to augment our already industry-leading digital print platform with new state-of-the-art presses, a hybrid in-line inserting technology environment to improve speed-to-market, and further investment in our unique postal logistics operation. This transformation of our technology and digital marketing capabilities will provide marketers with solutions to drive greater speed from data to delivery, more opportunity for personalization, a more holistic and multichannel approach to programs, as well as cost efficiency. What are you waiting for…contact IWCO Direct’s marketing experts today.

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