By Tempest Wright, Staff Writer/Illustrator –  October 7, 2019

Traditional Advertising: If It Ain’t Broke…

We all get them – the promotional postcards and brochures that take up most of the space in our mailboxes, announcing various products and services. In today’s digital age, one would assume that this method of marketing would be ineffective (if not obsolete), but the opposite is the case.

According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), mail volume has decreased by almost 30 percent since 2006. However, this decrease in mail spells good news for marketers, as they have less mailbox clutter to compete with to stand out. In fact, direct mail house lists average a 9 percent response rate while email, social media, and paid searches yield just a one percent return. 

Additionally, the Data and Marketing Association (DMA) reports that 79 percent of consumers immediately act on direct mail prompts, as opposed to email’s 45 percent. Edison Software Inc. reports that 74 percent of consumers admit they feel overwhelmed by the quantity of emails they receive. This alone argues the case for the effectiveness of direct mail.

As the name implies, direct mail gets a brand’s message directly into the hands of its target market. There are no intrusive pop-up ads, and there’s no inbox clutter – just a single piece of mail in the grasp of a consumer. Additionally, the Canada Post reports that direct mail pieces are more memorable and easier to understand than digital material, in that it requires “21 percent less cognitive effort to process.”

As with any marketing campaign, there are several keys to ensure the success of a brand’s direct mail venture. First, there is a guideline dubbed the 40/40/20 rule: 40 percent of success depends on the mailing list, another 40 percent depends on what’s offered to the customer, and the remaining 20 percent depends on the format and design of the mail piece. It’s also important that marketers employ tracking methods to determine the response to the direct mail and measure results.

While direct mail has its advantages, none of this is to say that digital media should be neglected. Digital media, particularly social media, and direct mail used in tandem is a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal. Through direct mail, brands can prompt consumers to follow and engage with the brand’s website and social media pages. The inclusion of QR codes and social media icons on direct mail material is crucial to encourage higher engagement.

Marketing and advertising is a complex world of strategies to circumvent the constant stream of distractions consumers navigate on a daily basis. In this industry, it’s completely acceptable to merge old and new school tactics to maximize a brand’s impact. The more creative the strategy, the better, and nothing is limited to just digital technology.


Find us on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.