April 29, 2021

Make the Most of Direct Mail Marketing — Now and in the Future

By Julie Poast

•  The pandemic continues to unfold and change consumer shopping behaviors.
• As a result, advertisers are considering multiple media to best reach and engage their valuable customers.
• Increased interest in direct mail presents a key opportunity for marketers — read on and get tips for campaign success.

With more than half of U.S. workers always or sometimes working from home (according to a January 2021 Gallup), an increasing number of businesses are revisiting direct mail marketing — and for good reason. Mailboxes are rarely as cluttered as email inboxes, making it much easier to grab consumer attention. But the real catalyst has been increased consumer interest.

As consumers spend more time at home, the 2020 Valassis Consumer Study found more than one third are spending more time reading mail advertising. The timing couldn’t be better to implement a direct mail marketing strategy to complement your existing efforts to drive awareness and sales.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions surrounding direct mail marketing campaigns. Direct mail campaigns do not have to take months to plan, they can be affordable by reaching both customers and prospects in the same outreach, they are measurable, and they can generate strong response rates.

With the right direct mail marketing partner, you can take advantage of the medium in no time — and at a cost-effective rate with significant ROI. Ideally, you would partner with a company that leverages strong data, rich consumer intelligence, and superior end-to-end execution.

Like almost any other marketing tactic, direct mail requires some effort and strategy on the front end to ensure the best results on the back end. Implement the following ideas to build successful direct mail campaigns:

1. Access, analyze, and act on great data. When you know and understand consumers, it becomes that much easier to tailor a direct mail marketing campaign around their specific needs. You know what they consume, how they engage with your brand, why they might be in the market for a certain product or service, and when they might be in the market to make the purchase.

For example, the 2020 Valassis Consumer Intel Report revealed that 68% of all consumers use coupons they get in the mail, while 82% of millennials do so. Additionally, Valassis’ 2020 Consumer Study found that 71% of consumers and 72% of millennials read direct mail ads. Sixty percent of consumers and 58% of millennials have done so within the past 30 days. That’s a lot of eyes on your brand.

Data can give you a glimpse into consumer preferences and the buyer’s journey, allowing for more relevant direct mail campaigns. You can offer the right promotion at the right time to the right person or the right neighborhood and can also have options to tailor your approach to specific households and their preferences. Each household or neighborhood will respond differently, so use a data-driven approach to build direct mail marketing practices that focus on relevant messaging and targeted media spend to drive results.

2. Make efficiency a central focus. One major component of any direct mail campaign is, naturally, the mail. That means printing, preparing, and delivering a promotion, which calls for partners that understand the importance of postage and distribution. Without a knowledgeable partner, the time and money involved in a campaign can quickly balloon — or you could risk missing your target audience or window of opportunity altogether.

When evaluating a partner, consider every facet of a direct mail marketing program, including:

  • Pricing
  • Format and availability of high-impact additions
  • Postage and timing
  • Print and paper quality
  • Address list quality
  • Incremental lists costs
  • Measurement

Capabilities are important especially when you want to vary your direct mail marketing tactics — perhaps when moving from a postcard to a solo mailer to a full-size 3D piece. But this isn’t for variety alone; certain types of content are better suited for each stage of the buyer’s journey. A cooperative piece of mail helps improve awareness in neighborhoods through saturation, while a solo delivery excels at personalized messaging.

There are partners, like Valassis, that provide turnkey direct mail solutions. In fact, our company has the only residential list with nearly 100% of U.S. addresses updated and mailed weekly. This provides more accurate mailings for clients.

3. Add omnichannel as a complement. While a direct mail campaign can stand on its own, it is often most effective when it’s one component of a broader omnichannel approach. A direct mailer can amplify digital or mobile marketing — and vice versa. According to Valassis’ Awareness-to-Activation Study, 49% of millennials say they’re more likely to purchase a product when they see ads both in print and online — and 55% of parents agree. It’s all about encircling consumers with the ideal messaging at the right cadence and in a variety of ways along multiple touchpoints to prompt conversions.

Direct mail provides a tactile experience that appeals to consumers. As the effects of the pandemic become more entrenched — and perhaps permanent — get your brand in front of consumers with printed promotions delivered directly to their homes. Just make sure your direct mail marketing strategy relies on good data, a strong partner, and a personalized call to action that sparks interest and delivers optimal sales.

If you’d like to learn more about the value of direct mail marketing for increased consumer engagement, read our blog post, “Direct Mail Is Having a Moment — Seize it.”

Julie Poast is a product marketing director at Valassis, focusing on how direct mail can bring value to both clients and consumers. She has over 20 years of Marketing experience specializing in many aspects of marketing, from brand management and new product development to content marketing, promotion, and lead generation.


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