It seems logical to attempt to build your marketing strategy by avoiding overutilized mediums, making every effort to ensure that your company stands out from the crowd. Why then is everyone still investing so heavily in channels like email marketing?
A recent Gartner research study showed that 11% of chief marketing officers are cutting their email marketing budgets, but 45% are increasing them. More and more companies are putting dollars into the same marketing channels their competition is using. But for what in return?
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel there is great value in utilizing email as part of an integrated strategy, provided that companies are smart about how and when they use it. That in itself is a very lengthy discussion, but I’d rather focus on something that is sitting out there that marketers could be taking advantage of, but generally aren’t.
Direct marketing, or specifically direct mail, has fallen out of favor over the years with the rise of digital marketing. It isn’t flashy, it doesn’t always provide instant gratification, and if done incorrectly, doesn’t provide the workable data that you can get from a digital campaign. It also has the stigma of being another piece of clutter in already overflowing mailboxes.
But, guess what, there’s been a major reversal. Clutter in physical mailboxes have seen decline while email boxes are overflowing with spam. And with more and more companies marketing via email, because it is “easy” or “cheap,” a formerly viable channel is being eroded.
In recent research from the Data & Marketing Association, we can see the tried and true direct mail route is doing well in terms of ROI. Their research showed an astonishing year-over-year increase in customer response rate of 43%, and for prospects… 190%.
Couple this with the fact that volume of direct mail went down again in 2016 and you can see that a long-disrespected channel is actually, once again, a very viable one.
So, when building out your plan for 2018, if you want a chance to rise above the clutter, think unplugged. The classics are more effective than you might think.