Direct Mail is Back with a Bang

Ten or fifteen years ago, DM was king. It was the quickest, most cost-effective way to mass market to your customers and prospects. If something didn’t work, you could test a different approach to a small test cell before rolling out to your full list.

Then came email and everything changed. You could have an idea in the morning and be sending out orders in the afternoon. Better still, you knew exactly how many emails were delivered, opened, clicked and acted on.

Email was sexy and cool. DM was boring and so 20th century. Who wants to open grubby old junk mail through the post?

But email became a victim of its own success. Everyone wanted a piece of the action. Your email Inbox was constantly ‘exceeding its limit’. And then there was the Spam – casinos, Viagra, Nigerian diplomats offering you fortunes and eastern European ladies in various states of undress.

Instead of getting excited about getting emails, it became a chore having to wade through a bulging Inbox, especially after a few days away from the office.

Now, it seems that DM is back and it’s doing better than ever. Did you know, for instance, that DM has seen its ROI rise steadily over the last three years, a trend put down to better targeting?

• In 2010, an average of 91% of prospect DM was opened, including 96% for personal banking and 95% for stores

• 75% of consumers like receiving special offers and vouchers by mail

• 69% welcome mail that rewards their loyalty

• 17.7m people ordered after receiving a mail order catalogue in the past 12 months

• DM has seen its ROI rise steadily, from £1.57 in 2006 to £3.22 in 2009

• 61% welcome DM from companies they are already a customer of

• 54% like to receive mail telling them about better offers or new services

Now this doesn’t mean that you ignore email and throw all your money at DM. Just combine the two, along with other marketing channels in a clever mix. The trick is, finding out the best marketing mix for your business.