Category: Direct Mail

Print Works!

Here’s to Old Friends … This DM’s for You

As so much of the world turns to digital, why is it that direct mail still works so well?

According to Money Mailer CEO John Patinella, direct mail is effective because “giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.” 

We’ve talked about the importance of the tangible before; there are real psychological reasons why we value the physical more than digital. Perhaps because of this human preference, direct mail delivers the results, too.

As Steve Olenski writes in Forbes, “ U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,300% return on their investment. The response rate to direct mail pieces is much higher at 3.7% compared to 2% for mobile, 1% for email, 1% for social media, and 0.2% for internet display.”

Advertisers aren’t stupid. And marketers are under increasing pressure to prove their worth. They are realizing that even in this digital-heavy age, consumers like print marketing like coupons, for example.

“In fact, according to a recent study, 93% of people said they’ll use coupons from the mail in 2018,” Olenski writes. “This is up five percentage points compared to 88% in 2017. Although consumers rely on their smartphones, there is still a pleasant ‘tactile experience’ from touching and using physical coupons.”

It’s not just coupons; millennial consumers reportedly prefer receiving direct mail over email marketing. All the cool kids are doing it. Of course, they are the ultimate omnichannel consumer, so a hybrid strategy that transitions the reader from printed direct mail to an online interaction can be powerful.

As Olenski notes, it’s important to maximize the power of your direct mail.

“Use logos, visuals, charts, and targeted content to make direct mail a leisure activity,” he suggests. “It may be beneficial to use a geo-location strategy to encourage a call to action to visit a local storefront. Lastly, research the demographics in your area to align your messaging and visuals with your audience’s preferences and interests.”

Rethink your own marketing tactics and take an honest look at where direct mail might make a big impact. So here’s to our old and still very powerful friend, traditional printed direct mail.

Revisiting The Power of Print

By Pat Friesen

Haptically speaking, there’s a lot to be said for writing marketing messages for print. For starters, they have a better chance of being read when printed on paper and remembered than those viewed on a screen. (More on this later.)

If you’re not familiar with haptics, it’s the neuroscience of touch. What we know about haptics is based on extensive research that has produced fascinating findings.

You may wonder why, in today’s digital world, marketing communicators should care about haptics. As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons starting with this: According to neuroscientist/haptics hotshot Dr. David Eagleman, “Human touch represents a powerful form of non-verbal communication.”

If this sounds interesting, I highly recommend “A Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch.” It’s a joint project of Dr. Eagleman and the paper people at Sappi. Some highlights from the book to pique your interest, followed up with some quick thought from me:

„• More than half the brain is devoted to processing sensory experience, and much of that sensory receptivity focuses on touch. (PF: Hmmm. So, my words on paper are likely to get extra attention from my reader’s brain. Good to know.)

„• When you touch something, it triggers a reaction. You feel differently about what you touch. You begin to feel you own it. And research shows this makes you value it more. (PF: Soooo, this is why I can’t throw away greeting cards, catalogs and direct mail pieces I’ve held onto for 10 or 15 years.)

„• Rough. Smooth. Heavy. Light. Hard. Soft. What you touch shapes what you feel, and this influences perceptions —consciously and subconsciously — related to what you read. (PF: Savvy paper companies, printers and designers who understand print are capitalizing on this.)

Here’s where it gets really interesting for those of us who write for both digital and print. According to Ferris Jabr, whose article “Why The Brain Prefers Paper” appeared in Scientific American, “People understand and remember what they read on paper better than what they read on screen. Researchers think the physicality of paper explains the discrepancy.”

Hmm. Maybe this is why when I read something important on screen, I print it. Then reread and digest it later.

Studies show people read best on paper for three reasons.

  1. It makes content more intuitively navigable.
  2. It facilitates better mental mapping of information.
  3. Reading on paper drains fewer of our cognitive resources, making retention easier. This adds up to better retention and understanding.

Here’s a video of Dr. Eagleman further explaining how the medium shapes the message.

According to the guide:

“The main job of communicators is to identify what is unique, and good, about a brand and create a program that reveals it clearly. A communicator’s tools are words and ideas, expressed through typefaces, colors, and form, delivered on a medium that further shapes the content it carries.”

With so many types of media vying for brand dollars, it’s reasonable for communicators to look to science to help weigh the alternatives.

Closing thought. If you think direct mail and other printed messages are too old-school for emerging markets such as Gen Zers, think again. According to Angie Read, blogger and co-author of the new “Marketing to Gen Z,” “Gen Zers love getting things in the mail with their name on them. Since they’re so used to digital media, they view print as NON-traditional marketing.” What goes around comes around.

Full disclosure: Ink-on-paper is in my DNA. I’m the daughter of a postmaster and I began my career as a catalog and direct mail writer. That said, I fully appreciate the immediacy, brevity and linkability of my words delivered digitally in blogs, tweets and SEO content. But learning about haptics has reinforced why I continue to enjoy writing — and reading — words on paper.

From: Target Marketing, Feb 23, 2018

Direct Mail vs. Email – Pros and Cons

Cormac Reynolds ||

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology’s impact on business, society, and culture.

Email has long since been considered as a marketing medium that provides maximum reach for minimal investment and has served as an essential element of many a marketing campaign across any and all industries.

However Direct mail, whilst having been subject to somewhat of a falling out of favor over the past few years is beginning to see a resurgence, and is proving to be particularly popular for those who are harnessing this medium in new and re-thought ways.

These two mediums are widely different. Offering contrasting benefits and being suited to sometimes completely different audiences, industries or particular campaigns. So the question then is how you choose between them for your marketing needs, and, when all’s said and done, who comes out as king of the marketing mediums: Direct mail or Email?

Understanding the pros and cons of each marketing medium

Email: Pros

Email is cheap, fast and efficient

Email is seriously cheap and although you should spend time in carefully crafting your copy (and feature it within a sales focused email design) it still makes for a great form of marketing with one of the best ROIs out there.

Email is marvelous for data analysis

Not only can your message be delivered immediately, you also benefit from results that are fully analyzable through email campaign management software (perfect for honing future campaigns). Data feedback can include bounce, open and click through rates, to name but a few.

Email: Cons

Spamming is making it harder for everyone

Unfortunately the email marketing landscape has been made pretty bleak in recent years owing to a tidal wave of spam that consumers are, quite simply, sick of. This makes it more difficult for the email marketer as they do battle with inbox authenticity and receivers who are increasingly short on time.

Building a solid email list takes time

Gone are the days of buying cheap contact lists and expecting the world. Today you must build email lists through incentives, pre-approved permission and direct sign ups. Today such tasks take time and effort.

Email is pretty limiting

Email features plenty of limitations upon the creativity and despite advances this remains a medium that can generally only deliver moderately good looking materials.

Direct Mail: Pros

Direct mail is more flexible than ever before

From including printed QR codes which can take your future shopper direct to your website with a scan of a smartphone, through to printing on irresistible discounts on postcards, direct mail really is more flexible than ever before.

Direct mail is seeing impressive modern interaction

Research has found that direct mail is no longer the dull junk mail marketing medium of old and today clever marketers are successfully harnessing this method for encouraging social media activity, downloads, online purchases and audience/business rapport.

Direct mail can provide all the space that you need

In comparison to email direct marketing provides all the space that you need to tell your story, whatever it may be.

Direct mail provides the platform to convey and encourage emotion

Email users are in a rush. They may be checking their emails whilst commuting, or squeezing it in at lunch or before dinner. They don’t have time for emotions. However direct mail can provide readers with both space and time to read the materials in their own time and so you’re far freer with what can be expressed.

Integrating Your Digital and Print Marketing

To see the effect of combining direct mail with digital advertising, Canada Post and Ipsos conducted a neuromarketing study that measured emotional response, for results that provided more predictive insights.

Overall, the study showed that integrated campaigns drove more attention, higher brand recall, and a stronger emotional response than digital campaigns alone.

Integrating DIRECT MAIL AND DIGITAL improved factors that can drive consumer action. In this study, we saw (vs. single media campaigns):

Direct Mail Infographic


In this study, we saw that the SEQUENCE OF MEDIA had an effect on response. When we compared campaign results:

Direct Mail Infographic

Source: Canada Post/Ipsos Connecting for Action, September 2016

Targeting Your Direct Mail Audience

BOND will take care of all your mailing details for you – such as targeting, sorting, grouping and more.

Let us help you plan the best delivery routes for your Smartmail Marketing™ campaign. We can help you find the right customers in the right locations. We have the expertise to help get your flyers, postcards or other Neighbourhood Mail™ pieces to the right customers at the right time – target age, household size, income or a geographic area.

Call today (604.683.1251), and let us take the worry and hassle out of your direct mail needs.


BOND - Canada Post Smartmail Marketing Partner