From recent conversations we have been having with our customers, it has come to our attention that direct mail is taking back over as a main channel of marketing for many companies. This is not solely based on specific current requests our customers are sending us, but it also based on our clients’ future plans for 2015 as well. For so many recent years, direct mail seemed to take a back seat to the new and seemingly trendy digital side of the marketing world. Business owners and marketers wanted to ditch the old tactics and take their shot at learning the ‘modern’ and ‘new-age’ suite of marketing tactics. No longer did marketers want to foot the big bill of the ever-increasing postage rates from the United States Post Office, or have to pay the price of printing , mailing, and direct mailing list costs. Instead, marketers were enticed by the new frontier of marketing – the unknown, but exciting new way to reach out to customers. Some marketers and businesses owners started to adopt these new tactics early and certainly capitalized on it. However, for many marketers and business owners, they were too late to enter the competitive world of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and found that to even try to compete, it was going to be very expensive. Add this to the economic downturn the world experienced in 2007 and 2008, and it created a ‘perfect storm’ for the world of direct mail. Companies slashed their direct mailing budgets or completely canceled them altogether. In the least, many of our customers pulled their direct mailing budget back by 50%. Everyone tightened up their budgets, and for some, advertising and marketing were the first expenses to be cut.
Now fast-forward a couple years. Digital marketing has started to decline due to how pricey it has become for anyone, other than giant corporations, to compete within SEM. Emailing for prospecting purposes has become tougher and tougher due to worries of fraudulent motives, worries of opening emails and contracting a computer virus or spyware/malware, and/or prospects being annoyed by being contacted too frequently via email since it’s cheap and easy to send email messages. Because many marketers tapered down their direct mailing programs, there were far fewer mailers in every mailbox. The less amount of mail pieces that were in a mailbox on any given day, the more those few direct mailers that were in the mailboxes were being seen, read, and responded to. Suddenly, the cost of direct mail seemed to make financial sense, and those clients we have that continued to mail have been seeing much higher response rates since 2010 than they ever did before the economic downturn of 2007/2008. It is everyday that I’m hearing the majority of requests coming in for direct mail again, which is completely opposite of what is was like from 2008-2012 (where everyone wanted email lists).
The day of direct mail is certainly not over, by any means!