August 11, 2021

Direct Mail a Marketing Tool That Just Won’t Go Away

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.

Direct mail long has been a popular choice for a print-marketing campaign mix, and it apparently remains so — despite the pandemic-driven challenges that small businesses and marketers have faced this past year and a half.

“Direct mail is growing exponentially,” says a woman who would know, Joy Gendusa. She’s the founder of PostcardMania, which she started in 1998 “with only a phone, a computer and postcards” and has since “bootstrapped” it into a bona-fide, $62-million business by 2019.

During this past year and a half, especially, she tells Forbes: “People are spending more time than ever at home, and businesses are tapping into this with physical touchpoints, such as postcards. As the founder and CEO of a direct mail tech company, I’ve seen this firsthand. Our 2020 numbers are record-setting.”

A Forbes Council member herself, Gendusa also earlier this year penned a Forbes column titled “How Trigger-Based Direct Mail Will Supercharge Marketing in 2021.”

She cites some statistics from the major player in the direct-mail marketing world, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), whose customer and market insights department last year found these pros to conducting a direct-mail campaign:

  • 50% of consumers had tried a new product, service or establishment in the previous six months after receiving a direct-mail advertisement.
  • 81% of people reported that they looked forward to seeing what they’ve received in their mailbox.
  • Two-thirds of customers collected their mail every delivery day.

She also notes a 2015 study on “the neuroscience behind the response-driving power of direct mail,” which showed that direct mail messaging is “more persuasive and easier for our brains to process than digital.”

About Those Joy-ful Triggers

In marketing, “a trigger is anything that creates an automated response,” Joy Gendusa explains in her Forbes piece.

“You can pre-set your triggers to be almost anything: a new prospect just inquired, a customer’s subscription lapses, etc.,” she says. “Triggers create a more personalized consumer experience, which typically equates to more conversions and higher revenue.”

The times that a business might pull a trigger are plentiful. They include sending mailings to newly moved people in the area, who can be found via the aforementioned USPS, which has a direct mail program of its own.

Other trigger examples, Gendusa says, include:

  • Insurance agents setting up automated mailings for all homeowners whose policies are up for renewal that month;
  • Birthday coupons (“people ride a natural high on their birthdays, and receiving a discount for your product or service in the mail will always be appreciated”);
  • Customer “thank you” mailings, which “could even include a coupon to ensure their return”;
  • Reactivation mailings — “it’s been three months since their last order — why not automate a mail piece with a discount?”

Combine Direct Mail With Digital Strategies, Too

Direct mail and print marketing in general can be even more effective when combined with digital search marketing and/or digital direct mail strategies, such as IP address targeting. Smaller businesses may want to work with a marketing expert to formulate such combined plans.

As for PostcardMania’s plans for the rest of this year?

Gendusa promises this: “Expect to see more ads in your mailbox in 2021.”

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