Mail as a disruptor

I read something recently and it started with the line “Mail as a disruptor” Immediately this grabbed my attention, as we are an offline marketing agency we absolutely believe in the power of print and direct mail in an omni-channel marketing strategy. This is backed up by numerous studies and figures from Market Reach and Jic Mail to name a few.

“More than 95% of recipients open, read and file their mail”

Campaigns are 75% more likely to report profit uplifts when mail is in the mix

 The Jic Mail recent Q1 figures for 2024 further emphasize the impact mail is having within such an omni-channel approach.

“6% of mail prompted a purchase in Q1 2024 – up from 4.2% in Q1 2023. These purchases relate to truly omni-channel customer behaviour with 46% of them fulfilled online and 32% in store. In total, 38% of the visits to advertiser websites prompted by mail converted into online purchases.”

 

This backs up what we all know to be true in the offline community, no one means of delivering a message is better than the other but through the use of a truly mixed approach including both online and offline solutions engagement and activity increases.

At Callimedia this is something we have always championed and held as a core belief within our business.

Some years ago we wrote a piece about the value in print and where that can be found. The inclusion of print in a marketing strategy can help deliver a value proposition for the consumer. They understand that the price point for a piece of print may well be more than online activity so immediately a perception of quality and value can be attached to that piece of print and subsequently to the brand itself.

I think about these interactions a great deal as it forms a large part of our thinking and strategy as a business. It feels that there is a real push/ desire for experience led interactions not only in terms of marketing and brand messaging but also within the wider scopes of society.

I read a piece recently about town and city centres and how to survive, they are becoming less retail focused and more experience led. A good case in point is a shop local to me which started life as a vintage clothing store. To begin with trade was good and it created a community around itself. However, with the advent of Vinted (and others) they quickly became aware of the need for change in order to survive. The shop now exists as a clothing repair shop, café and clothing store, customers not only visit the business to make a purchase, they also visit to spend time with the staff and other customers with common interests. The place is now more experience led with less pressure to purchase, however, to quote a customer in the piece they do make purchases because they know that in doing so they are supporting the business therefore ensuring it’s survival.

The shop is mainly frequented by a younger audience which made me think about how younger audiences would respond to direct mail.

Like a large number of houses in the UK, we have a place for mail. It sits on the table in piles for each person. Having a vested interest I receive far more than anyone else in the house, which means the younger members of the household are very used to seeing mail. However, when they see that something is addressed to them there is a little out pouring of excitement with a “oooh what’s this” . Invariably it is something from their college, school or the NHS, but it does make me wonder what the result would be if one of their numerous online avenues of purchase sent them something in the mail.

It would no doubt drive engagement, perhaps increase loyalty and it would certainly make them remember the brand and no doubt they would keep hold of the piece if it had some redeemable code, prize or another reward proposition. The brands could further use the piece as a data capture activity, after all the more you know the more targeted your messaging can become.

With the inclusion of print/ mail the interaction between consumer and brand becomes less transactional, the physical piece of print exists alongside the consumer and can be engaged with multiple times.

I wonder if the idea that mail is becoming a disruptor in the marketing mix is part of a wider notion that people seek a more physical experience in their everyday interactions and many of the younger marketers and business owners who have grown up as digital natives now attach a sense of added value to a piece of print. They know and use online tools and will always do so but are more open to a value driven experience led engagement activity.

Working within the print and mail arena for over 25 years we have seen print and mail quantities reduce and businesses focus on a more online approach to targeting their audience, through to a deeper understanding of an omni-channel approach to drive engagement. At one point the online activity was seen as the aggressive disruptor within the mix, certainly it has the capability to be reactive, instant and viral, however, this has become the norm in the mix and now print and mail is having more of an impact and can really drive engagement.

We think it is safe to say that the print and mail channel will continue to be vital and will continue to evolve and we as a business will continue to champion innovative, relevant print campaigns.

By Chris Nunn, Callimedia