Direct Mail is Appointment Marketing – Is It Part of Your Marketing Mix?

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About the Author

Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson

Marcus is a Senior Writer who blends creative writing and idea generation to bring copy to life for leading financial services organizations, professional sports teams, healthcare, and outdoor brands. The question this University of Minnesota graduate and former winner of the Best in Show from the National AgriMarketing Association loves to ask is, “How can I help?” When he’s not pounding out copy, he loves doing yard work, especially leaf blowing. In sports, Marcus cheers for the Humboldt Broncos, the Canadian hockey team that lost 10 players in a 2017 bus crash.

Let’s play a game (not Tic Tac Toe).

How many ways can you think of to market your product or service? Instead of “ways,” you may prefer technical terms such as channels. Or tactics. Or marketing mix. Or even media plan.

Let’s name a few, including the obligatory digital option:

Digital — I’m lumping various digital methods into one super category within the marketing mix. It includes communications/promotions aimed at you and/or a broader audience, such as banner ads, pop-up ads (including so-called native advertising) and the like on the websites you visit, social media ads, even advertorials. And, yes, those that follow you across the internet to other websites.

Email — Does this belong in digital? Discuss among yourselves.

Out-of-home — This includes promotional/advertising media you encounter away from home. Places harboring such OOH media include public transportation (bus cards), bus shelters, billboards, street furniture, the airport, etc. We could go on. This is becoming a more digital channel, of course, and now includes billboards. But I don’t want to wander too far into the weeds. A billboard is a billboard, whether it’s paper or pixels, and whether or not it’s along freeways, people will still have between five and 10 seconds to view and comprehend your message as they speed by.

Mass advertising — These channels aren’t seen as frequently these days because, hey, digital! Also, targeting! And online tracking! They include print ads in widely circulated newspapers and magazines, broadcast and cable TV advertising (which, despite the claims of streaming services, are still the most widely viewed of the TV-watching choices) like ads appearing on the Super Bowl broadcast, and other “traditional” media.

Radio — Think commercial radio. Still a thing, people.

Sponsorships and endorsements (celebrity and other) — Somewhat specialized, but worth a mention as they can appear in a variety of channels and media.

While not exhaustive, the preceding list is fairly inclusive of a typical mix a marketer might consider while planning a campaign to promote a product or service. And, targeted or not, the channels all share a significant downside: the message must be presented to an often reluctant, skeptical, distracted, or downright resistant audience—an audience ever more inclined to shut off messages from advertisers, particularly, and specifically, on their digital devices.

The Answer to Audience Fatigue: Direct Mail

Upon further consideration, that probably wouldn’t surprise you.

If you’re like me, you may glance out the window in the morning and see the mailbox at the end of the driveway and think, “I wonder what’s in today’s mail.” Sure, you can cheat and find out in advance with Informed Delivery. But I actually look forward to the “reveal” when I drop the door on the mailbox.

Apparently, I’m not alone. People actually make an “appointment” to pick up their mail every day. In other words, if you include direct mail in your marketing mix, people come to you.

Contrast that with a “targeted” digital ad that follows you around from one device to another and one website to the next. Not only does that quickly wear out its welcome, you feel stalked after a while.

But a letter from me to you—a tactile thing you can hold in your hands and turn over to read and re-read—is truly personal and engaging.

The U.S. Postal Service observes 73% of households say that they read or scan their daily mail, while 42% of recipients read or scan their mail pieces.

One takeaway from these statistics: If you’re not including direct mail in your marketing mix, you’re missing a potentially high-return channel. Ponder some impressive supporting numbers here courtesy of IWCO Direct’s very own Michelle Peel.

Another takeaway: Unlike digital ad buys where it’s difficult to track exactly where your money goes and whether real eyeballs are viewing your messaging, direct mail lets you track precisely how much you spend and how much is coming back to you as return on investment (ROI) via simple response-measuring devices like reply cards, personal code numbers, custom URLs, and even QR codes linked to landing pages. Those same devices help you quantify results in numerous categories, from lift to cost-per-acquisition to overall response and conversion rates.

Why Wait? Improve Your Marketing Mix with Direct Mail from IWCO Direct

Every marketing dollar counts these days, and direct mail has a median ROI of 29% (among other benefits which we’ll gladly explain). So if you want to put some muscle into your marketing mix, come to the direct mail source. IWCO Direct can get you on the fast track to strategically planned, data-driven, performance-tested direct mail. Call us.

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