In an effort to get the most out of our marketing dollars, we tend to underestimate the value of direct mail as an effective form of marketing and advertisement. However, statistics reveal that direct mail maintains a strong performance, with average ROIs of 15-17%.

Direct mail marketing may have a reputation for its difficulties related to tracking the results of a campaign, but by implementing the right metrics and strategies, you can get a lot out of this low-cost marketing channel.

We’re going to look at reasons why direct mail is still a very viable and powerful method of advertisement, even if it doesn’t provide the same data aggregation and optimization as its digital marketing counterpart.

Direct Mail has More Authority

Today’s marketing landscape consists of advertisements that flash before our eyes at lightning speeds as we search and stream online content. On average, an American consumer is exposed to thousands of advertisements each day, with nearly 300 or more within his or her first waking hour.

Because of this, we have accustomed ourselves to screen those exposures, and mentally ignore the advertisements. As a result, we only give our attention to about two percent of the advertisements that come into our view each day. These statistics have called into question the true effectiveness of digital advertising, as well as the arguments against the relevancy of direct mail campaigns. But there’s more to it than just screening- it’s all about the mental load.

When we look at the cognitive efforts of processing digital media in comparison with processing direct mail, we see that the cognitive load is much lower with direct mail- actually, about 21% less than that of digital media. And true indicators of media effectiveness are in the understanding and persuasiveness of the content.

This means that because it takes less effort to sort through direct mail, we’re able to recall brand names much faster, and are likely to retain more content from the advertisement itself. In essence, direct mail has more authority over our attention, and that means it maintains the potential to be a highly successful form of marketing.

The Appeal to Mindfulness

Not only does direct mail provide a lighter mental load, it also inherently lacks the distractions associated with digital media marketing. People are hard-wired for paper. We enjoy the tangible, interruption-free process of sorting through paperwork and mail without open tabs and push notifications to call us away from our tasks.

Manually sifting through our mail gives us ample time to process the messages we receive from paper advertisements. We have a chance to pause and consider if the information in the marketing material is actually valuable to us. We don’t face the influx of algorithm-based advertisements that provide a host of competitors’ ads along the peripherals of our screens. We take time to consider our direct mail offers before relegating them to a trash bin.

Even if we choose not to hold onto certain pieces of direct mail, our processing of it provides an ability to recall it more easily- should we discover a need for it in the future. And that’s powerful.

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