If you’ve been sleeping on the direct mail marketing medium, and judging from the ad spend numbers many of you have, there’s good reason to reevaluate your budgeting decisions in this area. As the numbers will show, while direct mail might not be the cheapest, serve up the instant gratification or have the shiny object “it” factor when compared to its digital counterparts, it remains a true workhorse for those marketers that continue to utilize it effectively.
At the January 2018 Direct Marketing Club of New York Annual Outlook Luncheon, Bruce Biegel, Senior Managing Director of the management consulting firm Winterberry Group, announced an eyebrow-raising statistic: 2017 direct mail spend YOY had dropped 4.3% down to $42.8 Billion – the lowest number they’ve recorded in decades.
During that same analysis, Winterberry also projected that 2018 would be the first year we reach the, somewhat inevitable, benchmark where Digital Advertising spend will finally surpass that of Offline Media.
To be clear our goal here is not one of declaring supremacy of direct mail over other online channels, but more to restate and often-made point that many seem to have forgotten: That direct mail utilized in conjunction with other direct and online marketing channels most often produces the most effective, ROI generating campaigns.
What is not necessarily clear, or at least where the ability to independently measure success becomes more difficult, is what happens over the long-term, not just from one program to the next, when direct mail is removed outright from the marketing mix?
There is some documentation of what happens when digital spend is cut, most notably being when Proctor & Gamble cut $200 Million from their digital advertising budget and not only saw no negative impact on sales, but actually increased marketing reach by 10%, but stats on it’s offline counterpart are harder to come by and anecdotal at best – such as the decline of much of the magazine publishing industry or many in the brick-and-mortar retail space which can be attributed to any number of factors, possibly the least of which being their decrease in direct mail advertising.
Data-Driven Marketers love their numbers, so here are a few on direct mail worth noting:
While digital marketing medium have generated a lot of buzz and there’s reason to be intrigued, the space is not without it’s major issues, not the least of which being cost. While direct mail was always seen as a more expensive medium when compared to email, newer digital options seem to flip this conception on its head.
Anyone who’s costed out programmatic display advertising knows these medium can easily run well into the six-figure ad buy territory, and all for an online display medium studies have demonstrated:
For those utilizing social media audience targeting, marketers are faced with the further issue of lack of transparency coming from utilizing an ad medium where the owners of the network are in no small part relied upon for the communication of success metrics, and the possible exodus by consumers from a space that is currently facing its own issues with respect to its usage of personal data.
Don’t take our word for it… Try a Google search for case studies or really any independent research into programmatic advertising’s effectiveness. For a medium so highly touted the lack of results for the aforementioned search speaks volumes.
Will What’s Old Be New Again?
Whether less crowded postal boxes, increasing clutter in the online space, the latest social media data privacy scandal or other factors contribute to a direct mail marketing renaissance remains to be seen, one factor remains constant: Those marketers utilizing direct mail advertising, especially as part of a multi-channel approach, continue to get their money’s worth!
Regardless of the marketing medium you choose, Data Services, Inc. is at the ready to help you aggregate accurate cross-channel contact data and metrics to create an accessible Single Customer View that powers data-driven marketing.