Direct Marketing Enters a New Phase
New tactics, smart databases, and list updating and hygiene are making direct mail more viable than ever
Rumors of the “death” of direct marketing have been greatly exaggerated. Marketers increasingly are using new tactics driven by advanced demographic data and digital capabilities to make direct marketing more viable than ever.
As digital communications fill our inboxes and clutter our brains, marketers are realizing that compelling direct-mail pieces, informed by unique papers, die cuts, sizes and (above all) precision targeting, can be the most effective tool in their arsenal of marketing channels.
ROI is strong when mail is delivered to a well-targeted audience, and it’s having an impact on the success of direct marketing.
According to these recent stats from the Association of National Advertisers and the U.S. Postal Service, 42% of recipients read the catalogs they receive in the mail, far above typical email opens or banner ad click-throughs. More than 100 million purchases via catalogs were made in a recent year, and direct mail as a proportion of all mail is on the steady rise.
Further, while customer response rates to direct marketing have increased year-over-year by an impressive 43%, the response rates of prospects—those folks who aren’t yet your customers but may soon be—have increased by a remarkable 190%. Even companies that have never used direct mail are finding it’s incredibly valuable not just for customer retention but for lead generation and customer acquisition.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
Data is your company’s most valuable asset
Better targeting is among the most valuable advances benefiting direct marketing these days. Customizable data files of household or business occupants, properties, and businesses—files that are constantly updated with the latest, most accurate information— give marketers the ability to identify prospects most likely to buy their products or services.
Think of the possibilities for just a few industries:
- Healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies and more can specifically reach out to those suffering from certain medical conditions.
- Lenders, real estate professionals, investors, and insurance agents can have instant insight into property value and history, homeowner history and other property data.
- Auto dealers, parts suppliers, and repair shops now have at their fingertips detailed auto owner data, including make, model and year to precisely target new customers.
- Municipalities and other government entities can now locate health issues, poverty trends, crime rates and even areas at risk from fire and storms to better provide community services.
Addressing a world of constant change
Data never stands still. Because of that, modern data enhancement services may be technology’s greatest addition to direct marketing services. Having a richer understanding of prospects and customers is the key to marketing success.
New technologies allow for dynamically updated, cleansed and enriched contact lists that allow marketers to search for and create files based on location, lifestyle attributes, demographics, property information, business firmographics and a multitude of other specialized data elements. New data enhancement services allow marketers to take their basic database lists and append to each entry additional fields that are vital for truer insight into customer’s needs and wants.
But there’s more. Are your prospects still living or working in the same place they were last month? Are their names spelled correctly? Are phone numbers scrubbed against the Do-Not-Call registry? And what about your Canadian or overseas lists? These challenges increasingly are being met by the newest direct marketing technologies and dynamic list building tools.
In future blogs, we’ll examine more fully the technologically driven world of direct marketing, and the exciting new capabilities it offers to marketers of today … and tomorrow.
Melissa Direct is your one-stop source to improve omnichannel marketing, save money by reducing direct-mail expenses, and increase sales conversions. See https://www.melissa.com/direct/ for the exciting details.