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Direct Mail is Transforming to a multi-channel marketing activity

When targeting the right audience, it seems that many marketers have abandoned good ol’ snail mail for the more contemporary world of digital marketing. In all facets of life, as new trends emerge, we tend to leave the past behind. For example, we quickly trashed our cassettes for CDs, and when MP3s came along, we dumped those, too. Then, when it came to our personal and business organization, we abandoned our trusty day planners for PalmPilots for BlackBerrys for iPhones. In most cases, the introduction of new technology has proven to keep us more organized, provide efficiency and speak to those who we might not otherwise be able to reach.

The Benefits of Direct Mail

This thought process, however, doesn’t hold true when it comes to the subject of direct mail. While this was one of the very first marketing channels to be used, it is not obsolete in the wake of the more advanced method of direct marketing. The following are four arguments for the integration of direct mail in a diverse and effective marketing strategy:

  • ROI. The goal of every marketer is to grow business. We conduct campaigns to build brand awareness and to sell products and services. A measure of a successful marketing campaign is the return on investment (ROI). Ideally, the business should make more money than was spent on the effort. SmallBizTrends.com reports that, on average, direct mail campaigns generate an ROI of 18 to 20 percent.
  • Targeting. Using geographic and demographic filters, recipients of direct mail can be customized, ensuring a targeted audience is reached. This way, we can be confident that our message will make it to consumers who are likely to need and/or want the products or services that we offer.
  • Consumer engagement. A survey conducted by MarketingSherpa revealed that of all the various types of communication available, the majority of consumers (54 percent) prefer to receive information in the mail. It is reported that consumers read 80 to 90 percent of the mail that is received. Assuming that the mail piece is visually appealing with a well-crafted message, it’s safe to assume that the consumer will take note.
  • Cost effectiveness. Direct mail can be sent for as little as $0.13 in postage per piece. There are few other channels that can be executed at such a low cost while reaching a large volume of consumers. For budget-conscience businesses, this is a tactic that can allow for repetition in messaging, building brand awareness over time.

Street Addresses and Cyber Addresses

There are so many effective ways to advertise and reach your intended audience. One doesn’t have to replace the other. Direct mail should be considered as one piece of a marketing plan that will contribute to the achievement of your business goals.

What’s best of all is that direct mail does not have to be siloed off from other aspects of your overall campaign. IP targeting maps a physical address to an IP address and allows you to add a digital channel to your direct mail push (or vice versa).

Say you’re reaching out to past visitors of your website. You can tailor your direct mail messaging based on what someone at a specific IP address was looking for on your site. Or, you can make the mailers you send to prior visitors of your website different from the ones you send to fresh prospects. The possibilities are boundless.

Who Gets Credit?

IP targeting can also bring insight to your attribution efforts. Results of direct mail efforts can sometimes be difficult to track, especially if the prospect does not respond via mail. But with IP targeting, if someone at an IP address to which you mailed takes an action you were trying to drive with your mailing, you can be reasonably confident that your direct mail campaign at least influenced that action. It’s always good to have multiple touch points.

Getting back to direct mail by itself, there are a few options for attribution. Attribution is important because you want to know where your customers are coming from, and people brought in by direct mail may have different characteristics than those who come to you through digital means.

Your departments are all on the same team with the same goals–to generate revenue–so why does attribution matter? Simple. You need to know what works and what doesn’t, and in order to learn that, you need to know where clients and customers are coming from and what’s bringing them in.

Attribution Models

So who does get credit for the conversion? What pushed the customer over the edge to take the action you wanted him or her to take? Was it the direct mail piece mailed to the customer’s house? Was it the social media post they saw? Maybe it was the paid search ad.

It’s hard to tell, especially when you begin mixing online and offline channels in a campaign. That’s why there are attribution models. There three basic attribution models: first-touch, last-touch and multitouch, with some having variations.

  1. First-touch: This model of attribution gives 100 percent of the credit to the channel that started it all. If you sent a direct mail piece, followed up with an email and then got a conversion via organic search, the conversion would go to the direct mail piece.
  2. Last-touch: This model is the opposite of first-touch attribution, giving the credit to the last channel. In the previous example, organic search would get credit.
  3. Multitouch: This model weighs each channel separately and shares credit around. The most basic version of this model, called linear attribution, distributes credit equally. Other variations such as time decay or full path weigh the touch points differently depending upon their position in the campaign.

If this seems daunting, not to worry. Points Group’s marketing and strategy teams can work with you to determine whether direct mail is a viable approach for your organization. We can also help you decide which attribution model might be best for your organization or campaign. Contact us to learn more.

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