Direct Mail in a “Post Advertising” World

18 January 2019 / By Jeff Tarran
Why marketers need to rethink how they allocate spending.

If marketing is your career, check out one of my favorite podcasts on the topic, The Marketing Companion. Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster are always thoughtful and thought-provoking—plus, oddly entertaining, given the two hosts share an endearing (and offbeat) sense of humor. I encourage you to give them a listen AFTER you’ve finished this 2-minute read.

The title of a recent Marketing Companion podcast is “Survival Strategies for the Post Advertising World.” It’s a somewhat apocalyptic title, if you are in any business dependent on media dollars, with the exception of Google and Facebook, which continue to grow. For marketers, it presents the challenge of where to allocate budget to find prospects to grow their business.

The hosts mention some of the troubles marketers face in this post ad world:

  • Difficulty getting prospect attention among the proliferation of multiple channels and vehicles.
  • Newer technologies and business models that act as direct “pipes” to goods and services, effectively circumventing ad messaging. Consider purchases through Amazon or via a subscription.

Media advertising isn’t going away, but “interruption” marketing is losing relevance and effectiveness in driving business. One way around that, as one host pointed out, is simply “to get in front of people” so they can’t avoid, or don’t want to avoid, your message. His examples include experiential marketing, which benefits from being immersive and personally engaging, and marketing where your audience can’t avoid your message; e.g. in-theater and out of home.

As I was listening, it struck me there is another channel he could have mentioned — direct mail. Thanks to better data, improved modeling, programmatic targeting, and personalization technologies, we’re getting relevant messages to people in a channel that’s hard to avoid. Direct mail also engages on a level digital and mass media can’t — interacting with mail is a physical experience.

According to a recent study, 77% of households pay attention to DM and over half report they read their mail. DM also strongly influences purchase decisions, with response rates significantly higher than digital channels’ rates.

At Gunderson Direct, we are seeing an increase in clients moving dollars from other channels to DM, notably from digital, where many report declining response rates and ROI. We’re also seeing clients who have historically avoided marketing through the mail, including app marketers and businesses targeting Millennials. In some cases, direct mail has become a dominant channel for driving leads. What’s old is new. In a post advertising world, more marketers are turning to the post office for business growth.

ONE FINAL NOTE

If you’re interested in adding direct mail to your marketing mix, then drop us a line. We’re standing by to answer any questions, and, most importantly, to help you get your mail opened.

Jeff Tarran
About The Author

Jeff Tarran

As VP of Account Services, Jeff works with our clients to analyze business problems and develop direct marketing strategies that achieve their goals. A 20-year veteran and strategic thought leader in direct marketing, Jeff has headed two independent direct response agencies in the Bay Area after starting his career at Foote Cone and Belding. He earned a Dual BS in management and communications at Syracuse University and his MBA in marketing at Columbia University in New York.

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