COVID-19 took its toll on innumerable businesses, forcing many of them to pivot to older, direct marketing techniques. However, MountainTop Data CEO Sky Cassidy explains that a simple postcard campaign is clearly not effective anymore – direct mail campaigns must also embrace modern data collection and tracking strategies to complete in the digitally dominant marketplace.
After a long struggle with economic shutdowns and business closings, employees are starting to come back to the office. But upon their return, businesses are facing a changing landscape. Among those changes is a resurgence in the popularity of direct mail campaigns. “Businesses are discovering that after many months of isolation and increased online interaction, customers are finding a new appreciation for physical mail,” Sky Cassidy, CEO of MountainTop Data explains. “Digital marketing campaigns are expected and ubiquitous nowadays. But now, getting a real, tangible piece of mail has become something special—and welcomed.”
While consumers’ renewed interest in hand-delivered items is opening up new marketing opportunities, the cost of such campaigns must be carefully considered. A simple postcard campaign—USPS’ direct mail service prices for example range from .16 to .19 cents per piece(1)—is already more expensive than its digital counterpart, email. Furthermore, one can see the cost is greatly increased with large boxes or envelopes, but at the same time greatly increasing its chances of being opened—and most importantly – inspiring a response. But so does the potential ROI. 42.2 percent of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they receive (as compared to 2019 email open rates of 22.1 percent.(2) What’s more, campaigns that include direct mail are 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance and 40% more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition levels versus campaigns without a direct mail component.(3)
You’ve Decided on Using Direct Mail—What’s Next?
B2B Account executives must realize that a direct mail campaign cannot work as a passive, “send it a forget it” scenario—they need to perform all of the follow-up tasks that “seal the deal”:
- Make return phone calls
- Send Emails
- Respond to posts on social media
- Track QR, coupon, or other special code responses
Furthermore, like any digital campaign, direct mail campaigns must rely on solid, clean data to produce contact lists that hyper-target prospects and customers, to ensure they are achieving maximum reach for every dollar of their marketing spend. Data segmentation, file formatting, datasheet structuring, and other management task are arduous, time-consuming, requiring specialized expertise and dedicated personnel. Fortunately for marketers, there are data companies that not only specialize in these very services but also provide vital advice on how to use their data to maximize a direct mail campaign’s effectiveness.
Another important factor to consider is the source of your data. While data companies can be invaluable assets, marketers must perform their due diligence when selecting the vendor that best suits their needs. In the search for a data provider, markets should beware of some of the common signs that a data company may not have their best interests in mind. Many data companies will not engage with marketers until the project surfaces. This way they know how much money the marketer is willing to spend and whether or not they are worth the effort. Others may outsource their services outside of the U.S. to multiple zones – convenient for the data company, but complicated and problematic for their clients.
Despite it being the most expensive form of marketing, direct mail is proving its worth. Marketers can target people where they live more effectively using a direct marketing approach for an average ROI 23 percent higher than digital channels.(4) To achieve that kind of success, having accurate information is paramount. A reliable data company will not only consistently furnish clean data, but they will go out of their way to guide the client through the process, ensuring that the client gleans the most benefit from the data provided.
“Direct mail will not work alone in a vacuum. The days of sending simple mailers and waiting for a phone call are long gone. If a marketer is willing to spend the kind of money to make their mailing campaign work, they must also be ready to perform all the needed follow up tasks and partner with a data company that will provide the quality data to do it right,” says Cassidy.