The new dawn of direct

With digital transformation on the agenda, it’s easy to embrace more traditional ways of doing things. But, history teaches us that things don’t change as much as we – and our industry focused on the “next big thing” – would have us believe.

There is a very real danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater as we blindly pursue the new and shiny as we try to stay one step ahead.

A recent article by Tom Roach talks about marketing’s obsession with “new stuff”. Quoting Jeff Bezos’ speech in 2019, there are good reasons to focus less on what is changing and more on what is not – “I often ask myself the question: what is going change in the next 10 years?… I hardly ever ask myself the question: what is not going to change in the next 10 years? And I submit to you that this second question is actually the more important of the two, because you can build a business strategy around things that are stable over time. “

With all the uncertainty, volatility and change during the pandemic, we are seeing new behaviors emerging. Despite more than three months of easing Covid restrictions, face-to-face meetings remain the exception, with Teams, Zoom and Google all stubbornly remaining the meeting modes of choice.

And how about watching TV? It has been predicted that by the end of the year, up to 20 percent of us will not have watched any live programming – unfathomable just a decade ago. But don’t forget that there are still 80% of people who sit on the couch to watch something in real time.

And again, we’re told that by 2025, global online sales will account for 25% of all sales, an unprecedented number – WOW! But that leaves 75% of all physical global sales …

Yes, change is a constant, as is unpredictability and pace. But sometimes the old guys are always the goodies. Ghostbuster versus reboot – no contest.

The same goes for the media. Sometimes the physical wins over the digital. Yes, click-through volumes and CPCs are incredibly powerful metrics we can all use to quantify the impact of our business – but old-fashioned, well-used tangible mail marketing also provides answers, engagement and results.

Mail-based media saw some kind of resurgence after the lockdown. Unsurprisingly, while we were all busy typing on our devices at home, many of us began to suffer from digital exhaustion. There was something very comforting about picking up and reading a physical newspaper or opening a piece of mail that landed on the doormat.

The latest industry statistics from JICMAIL show direct mail open rates and engagement rates have skyrocketed across all demographics. Open rates have increased by more than 10% since the start of the pandemic and the length of time mail stays at home has also increased, now reaching eight days. Confidence is another key indicator of growth. Mail is now the most trusted form of marketing communication, demonstrating how some of us have grown tired of social media, previously the most trusted form of brand communication.

This shows that despite many media pundits writing the direct mail like a dead duck on the cusp of digitization, the channel still has a lot of value.

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