Direct Mail and Printed Newsletters WORK – the Experts say why! Are you using them?

Direct Mail and Printed Newsletters WORK – the Experts say why!

A recent study by ExactTarget, an international company that specializes in interactive marketing, helps illustrate direct mail’s continued relevance. The survey asked consumers to indicate how they would like to receive 11 different types of messages. A headline in ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey screams the results: “DIRECT MAIL LIVES!”

Here’s why:

It is tangible. The sense of touch, taking action like turning a page or opening an envelope – makes a physical connection. Holding a printed newsletter adds a sense of validity.

Jeffrey Rohrs of ExactTarget: “As I look at our 2012 survey compared to our 2008 survey, the real story is that we have multichannel consumers due to the explosion of devices, so you’d better have cross-channel communication strategies. You need to be integrating your channels so that you can influence your consumers in different ways. This is where direct mail can work hand-in-glove with e-mail and social media. There will always be a place for channels that break the mold and pleasantly surprise consumers.”

It is fun. The power of mail, lies in the mundane consumer ceremony of walking to the mailbox every day. It is a ritual – beyond habit. It is part of what people do. Printed materials will differentiate your brand in interesting ways that will produce a return on investment.

It is less competitive. The digital age has boosted the impact of direct mail. “Your e-mail inbox is the new mailbox, filled with bills, letters from friends, family and work,” Jon Yokogawa, vice president of consumer engagement for interTrend. “So the amount of paper in your mailbox is less. Therefore, you would be more inclined to look more carefully at any type of mail that you do receive from the Postal Service.™”

A printed newsletter can be picked up and re-read at their convenience. Besides, if you load the printed newsletter with targeted “health” information or local resources, consumers will place it on the frig. 

It has a long shelf life. Consumers will hang on to news worthy print items for months (especially if it’s relevant; give them useful tips and education to help with daily activities.)

It is proven. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has found that direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%, says Yory Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the DMA.

As to why direct mail remains such a strong channel – the reason could be related to the fact that consumers are — now more than ever — continually bombarded by digital messages they don’t want.  

It builds loyalty. Printed newsletters and mailed information cultivates loyalty and brand evangelism among consumers. “We know from our research at the Content Marketing Institute that only about 30 percent of our customers create and distribute a custom magazine, but we think there’s great opportunity in that channel to build loyalty,” Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute says. “Social media is selective. It’s hard to get on that must-read list.”

It helps you target. Denver-based Heinrich Marketing likes to think of itself as the CSI of the marketing world, asking the tough questions before getting the creative department involved. Heinrich managing director Laura Sonderup says the research has shown that mail continues to be one of the most cost-effective methods for targeting that any marketer can deploy: “In many instances, mail allows us to localize lead generation far more efficiently than other marketing channels — down to the census tract and neighborhood level when necessary. Our largest clients insist that direct mail be included in their marketing plans as a means of maximizing budgets and increasing return on investment.”

It delivers results. Whatever its evolution, direct mail ultimately continues to resonate with marketers for one primary reason: It gets results. Robert Salta, owner of Maryland-based and a 30-year direct marketing veteran, has strong views about mail’s staying power: “It’s all about results. Direct mail works,” he says. “The majority of people will open and read direct mail, but often will choose to ignore e-mail solicitations. The fundamentals of direct mail haven’t changed, partly because their efficacy has been proven time after time. What has changed is the advent of data and digital print technology, and both have benefited direct mail immeasurably.”

AND… it’s a great differentiator!  

Sources include: Exact Target and

Repubished from a recent CareBuzz newsletter with permission.