Staying power in a fast-paced digital culture is not always easy to find but tailored direct marketing is proving its worth more than ever.
Standing out from the crowd means choosing quality and a tailored direct marketing campaign can help you reach exactly the sort of customers you want.
Play for keeps
Print delivers both longevity and a tangible offering that customers can hold on to, refer back to and act on.
While emails are easily lost in a sea of information, high end products in particular benefit from the lasting power of print. A high end purchase will not be made from an impulsive click on a link.
The proven option
Research has revealed that more than half of direct mail is opened, compared to just 25 per cent of email marketing.
Good investments take consideration and a bespoke direct marketing campaign offers food for thought for customers looking to spend on a high ticket item.
Use the space to lay out all the information potential customers will want to know within a high impact design
Target the right customers
Targeting the right customers is part and parcel of a quality approach. Instead of wasting time and valuable resources promoting your brand to customers who are not in the market to buy, use clean, efficient data to reach an interested audience.
As GDPR brings new standards to contact data, direct mail campaigns should reach the people who really are interested in buying your product.
With customer consent companies can use valuable information such as age, interests or location to conduct a highly efficient targeted campaign.
The personal touch
Make it count – an eye-catching bespoke print campaign will let you reach out to exactly the customers you want to attract.
Use direct marketing to bring the personal touch with a message that is built to last – just like your product.
The way that companies use and handle data will see a huge shake-up from May 25th this year when GDPR comes into force – so what exactly does that mean for direct mail marketing?
The ultimate aim of the General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) is to give individuals greater control over their personal data and more specifically what organisations can do with that data.
The biggest cause for concern in marketing terms is the requirement of consent to store data and then to use that data to contact a potential customer.
Consent and GDPR
Under GDPR organisations will need to show explicit consent that a person has agreed to be contacted – and this needs to be proactive, such as ticking a box to opt in.
In addition to the need for consent, organisations needs to explain how they intend to use that data and in what form, such as email, text message etc.
There is, however, the option to use legitimate interest as a reason to make contact with an individual without having their express consent.
This works when a customer has already ordered something from a company and there is a legitimate reason to expect they may want to use the service again.
Direct mail marketing: A good alternative
When it comes to direct mail marketing that scope is wider, which will serve organisations aiming to reach a wider customer base well. The interpretation of GDPR in regards to direct mail marketing allows contact under legitimate interest – that is if a company can show evidence that the individuals contacted would have an interest in their product.
As with digital communication, individuals must still be given the option to opt out of receiving direct mail, but the method is generally seen as a less invasive and a more engaging manner of marketing.
When companies combine this with using best practice to match customers on the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) it provides a sound and ethical way to reach a solid customer base.
Door to door leaflets are also a great way to continue to engage new customers without running the risk of breaching GDPR as no personal details are required in a general mail drop.
The introduction of GDPR should give engaged, genuinely interesting marketing information a chance to be seen and heard.
Direct mail presents itself as an excellent solution to reach out to new customers without running the risk of breaching GDPR.
WHEN celebrating all things digital, there’s a common mistake – presuming that the digital world actually exists. Worth bearing in mind when we talk about digital marketing that its purpose is to persuade someone to interact with a very much real and physical entity.
Want an example? You might choose your next settee off the DFS website, but DFS will still deliver it. Your backside is not sat perched on some digital ether. The end of the line is always reality. The physical.
Other than in servers in distant countries, the digital empire doesn’t really exist. Nobody’s ever flown there. No-one’s ever invited the neighbours round to show them the slide show of their two-week break on the holiday island of eBay. Remember when a teacher would invite a recalcitrant pupil to write 2,000 words about the inside of a ping-pong ball? That same teacher, in 2017, might well swap the ping-pong ball for the sphere of the digital world. They are, after all, equally empty.
Truth is, we all live in the real world. Well, maybe not Premiership footballers, but you see what we mean.
People are those we trust and believe in
The touchable, the tangible, is everything. Why’s that? Because we desire interaction. We need people, and they need us.
You only have to look at banks. The commonly held view is that young people wouldn’t recognise a bank if they walked past one, so welded are they to the concept of digital finance. And yet a recent poll by business strategists Egremont International and Stone & River in conjunction with YouGov revealed that young people much prefer face-to-face contact ahead of mobile technology when making major decisions with their personal banking.
Some 62% of 18-24-year-olds with a current account, for example, are unlikely to use mobile banking to apply for financial products, while 54% of 18-24-year-olds would prefer to discuss bank accounts with their bank face-to-face, rising to 55% when seeking guidance on taking out mortgages and loans.
At the same time, while closures have occurred, more than a quarter of high street banks branches have been refurbished in recent years. The physical world wins when making significant personal financial decisions.
“We actually see branches as representing a real opportunity to better connect with our members,” says Graeme Hughes, group distribution director at Nationwide, “using new and traditional means, on a more personal level. It’s about creating a more valuable customer experience in branch without losing the human touch.”
Print delivers the personal touch – communication, warmth, and trust
Fine, you might say, but what’s all this got to do with print vs digital? Well, the principle remains the same. The personal touch, the physical, is all. The real world is one of communication, warmth, and trust. The digital world is burdened by an emotional disconnect.
That’s why, after a flirtation with the digital model, marketers are more and more returning to the old tried and tested methods. They are reconnecting with those who do not wish to have their aims and desires assessed by invisible algorithms, pinging (often grotesquely misplaced) adverts up on every web page. Indeed, we live in a bizarre age where digital marketers no longer make customers feel valued. Instead they make them feel spied upon.
Credibility comes from print
Compare that to a well-formulated direct marketing campaign, aimed at specific consumers, in a well-presented package, designed with them in mind. Easy to understand, pictorially magnificent, and with no nagging feel of distrust or exploitation. Sounds good, doesn’t it? And it feels good too to those wearied by a relationship with the digital world that becomes darker and dingier by the day.
Digital marketers would give their right pixel to have the creditability of print – credibility that comes not only from its content, but from the customer understanding that effort has been taken to write, edit, publish, and distribute the item in question.
Would those with a low quality or untrustworthy product really go to such levels? How the digital world must envy the real world for its lack of fake news, fake everything.
No distractions for customers
Similarly, when it comes to print marketing, there aren’t a multitude of other distractions fighting for customers’ attention. People’s attention time isn’t as limited. They’re not constantly looking for what’s next, changing direction to Facebook, having a look on Pinterest, seeing if the right-back for Birmingham United really has got a groin strain, or who did what on Bake Off. Print has a depth of mental penetration that just isn’t there in a fleeting digital world.
High visibility of print
Remember too, the high visibility rate of print marketing. It cannot, after all, be casually rolled past on a screen, the content of an email not even opened. We know from our own experience that direct marketing often sits for hours, if not days, in our homes. It has eyes on it, not fingers swiping past it. Think of those in the market for purchasing, say, a conservatory. They may well be of a generation that attaches a cache to the more traditional approach – an approach that quickly yields contact with a human being.
Print – the real world solution
Some still dismiss direct marketing as cumbersome. Really? It’s a leaflet, a letter. No more cumbersome than clicking on a link that doesn’t work, racking the brain for passwords, looking under the bed for that forever-vanishing charger.
Perhaps, instead of positioning these two marketing strategies toe to toe, it might be better to gather them for peace talks. The two are not mutually exclusive. The digital and real world need to work together and support one another. Direct marketing can back up a website, just as a digital campaign can work in conjunction with a concerted campaign on the ground.
When it comes to it, though, print marketing will always have a high value, and that’s because it is making a connection in the here and now. None of us wants our senses dulled, to live life through a screen.
We live alongside one another – print never forgets that.