Direct mail provides ’solid ROI’

Posted by on 17 Sep 2010 | Category: Industry Trends

by Mark Haslan

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Though businesses now have more communication channels to reach consumers than ever before, marketing expert David Jackson recently argued on Promotion World that direct mail marketing is still an effective way to generate sales.

Jackson asserts that a properly executed direct mail campaign still provides a "solid return on investment." Citing a recent study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, he says that direct mail marketing expenditures are expected to increase by more than $1 billion during 2010.

Consumers are also eagerly welcoming the influx of mailers. Referring to the same study, Jackson claims 79 percent of U.S. households either completely read or skim through direct mail messages sent to their homes. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by postal automation firm Pitney Bowes found that consumers still prefer physical mail over digital communication channels, relays the source.

Consumers are especially accepting of postal messages containing confidential statements or new product announcements. Jackson writes that

  • 73 percent of respondents prefer direct mail to receive information about new items,
  • while 86 percent would rather receive private communications through postal mail.
  • In both cases, consumers reveal a strong preference for postal messages over digital mail.

Pitney Bowes’ survey also indicates that

  • 31 percent of mail recipients tend not to throw away unopened postal messages, ranging from brochures to envelopes,
  • whereas 53 percent are likely to delete unopened email messages.

Additionally, many consumers find direct mail to be less intrusive than unsolicited emails and phone calls.

  • Nearly half of respondents (43.2 percent) said direct mail was more convenient,
  • while 30.2 percent indicated the sales environment was less high pressured.
  • This translated into greater responses overall, with 12 percent claiming direct mail was more persuasive.

"If you haven’t considered trying direct mail, maybe you should. A properly executed direct mail campaign combined with online marketing methods could be an unbeatable combination," Jackson wrote.

The effectiveness of direct mail marketing has caused many businesses to adopt the channel. According to a recent report from the Global Insight Analysts, direct mail expenditures are expected to hit $25.45 billion globally by 2015. The firm cites direct mail’s physical presence as its biggest selling point, especially in comparison to digital channels.

Direct mailings featuring coupons can boost campaign ROI

Posted by on 14 Sep 2010 | Category: Hints & Tips

Many companies understand the benefits of direct mail marketing, yet some businesses are not using the service as effectively as possible.

One way to increase the ROI of a direct mail marketing campaign is to include a promotional offer, exclusive to recipients of the mailing.


For example, a restaurant that wants to send out postcards to recruit new customers and retain existing ones should feature

  • high-quality and attention-grabbing graphics of the decor and food
  • a sample of menu items
  • contact details
  • and even a small map showing customers how to find the restaurant.

Yet in addition to all of these features, the restaurant should offer some kind of discount or promotion to the postcard recipients, such as a free appetizer or dessert, or a two-for-one meal.

Though some businesses may get the impression that doing so makes them look less professional or classy, the realities of the recession have overridden any potential negative connotations with coupons and discounts.


In fact, a recent survey from Nielsen found that affluent consumers are actually among the most frequent coupon users – 39 percent of consumers who earn more than $70,000 are classified as "super heavy" coupon users, while 42 percent fall into the category of "coupon enthusiasts."

Therefore, even high-end businesses should not shy away from using coupons in their direct mailings, as any incentive or discount will likely boost sales.

This is especially the case now that competition can be fierce  – and coupons may make the difference for a customer choosing between one business and another.

A study released this week regarding online retail coupons captured the make-or-break nature of promotions in today’s economic environment, showing that 30 percent of online adults will not make a purchase at an online store if they cannot find a coupon for that store – marking a 3 percent increase from 2008 – while 22 percent of online adults will go to a different store to make that purchase.

One way to measure the effectiveness of a coupon-focused direct mailing campaign is to require that the recipient brings the coupon into the store or business in order to receive the discount. Doing so can allow the business to compare the number of people who received the mailing with the number that brought the coupon in for use, guiding any changes to the campaign such as the mailing list or the offer itself.

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