Don’t you just love marketing buzzwords? They last for a year, maybe two, only to fade away when something else takes their place.
As annoying as they can be, two popular buzzwords caught my attention because they describe perfectly how good direct mail can help build a strong business and serve its customers at the same time.
Mail Is Disruptive
"Disruptive" usually means anything that is innovative or unconventional in a marketplace.
Direct mail has been the original direct marketing channel for decades. It’s just print – ink on paper. In our high-tech world, a lot of people have given it up for dead. So, how could it possibly be disruptive? Let me count the ways!
First, the direct mail of today doesn’t always look or feel or act like the direct mail of 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago. Improvements in technology like customer relation management systems and digital printing mean that tactics and techniques that were rare and expensive in the old days are rapidly becoming commonplace and much more affordable for marketers.
Second, younger audiences look at direct mail differently. A USPS survey revealed that 87% of Millennials actually like getting mail. Even better: 57% of them act on that mail.
And Gen Z consumers? According to an MNI Targeted Media study, they spend more uninterrupted time reading print newspapers and magazines than viewing content on digital channels. So, clearly, there is life beyond the online world alone.
What can you do to make your direct mail disruptive?
Here are two ideas:
- Mail a bigger size. Everyone mails a #10 envelope. So, move up to a #11 or #12. Same goes for postcards. A jumbo (6”x11”) stands out in the mailbox and gives you more room for your message.
- Use a textured ink or special finish. Mailings with a spot UV coating or other embellishments look and feel different, giving your prospect at least a few extra seconds interacting with your mail.
Mail Is Frictionless
“Frictionless” refers to the measures some retailers – both online and offline – are taking to improve the customer experience and to make transactions easier.
How does this apply to your direct mail?
Let’s say that you’ve gotten a customer’s attention and then persuaded them to buy right away, or at least consider your offer or sales pitch further. What barriers would prevent them from finalizing the sale?
Take a look at your mailpiece, and check for the following:
- Clear call to action (such as “Come in before April 8 for 50% Savings” or “Get $500 back in your pocket by using this code for your car insurance”).
- Detailed but easy-to-read comparison charts, price options, etc.
- Prominent, well-positioned website, QR code, phone number, or map.
- Responsive, up-to-date website or landing page (if applicable).
Here's the bottom line: Technology alone isn’t enough to make your direct mail valuable. What’s truly important – both in changing a marketplace and making the buyer’s journey easier – is ensuring that your mail engages your customers from the first time they hold it in their hands to the moment they use it to become loyal customers.