The Email-Direct Mail Duo

A trend we’ve been following closely is cross channel performance multipliers. Digital marketers, media industry leaders, and our own clients have been sharing stories of how targeting audiences one-to-one across all major channels is driving success. The article below by MediaPost caught our interest about how an “old school” approach fits right in with the current multi-channel landscape.

We thought it was so good, here is the article from MediaPost in its entirety:


The Email-Direct Mail Duo

by Ray Schultz, Columnist, March 2, 2017

You wouldn’t think that Printing Impressions, a magazine about print, would be happy about email outpacing direct mail in this year’s budgets. But it sounds neutral at least. A survey by its sister publication Target Marketing, shows that 31% of those polled are increasing their direct mail budgets this year. vs. 60% for email. What’s more, 96% of the respondents use email — “a high vote of confidence in a channel that sometimes seems to be waiting to pass its torch,” Mark Michelson writes. In contrast, 72% use direct mail.

Does direct mail still have a role to play? Of course. It generates trust that it didn’t enjoy when it was simply considered junk mail. And it works well when used with email in a coordinated multichannel campaign.

For example, Gaggenau, a European appliance maker, pulled open rates of over 60% with follow-up emails for a pop-up restaurant event. But the campaign started with direct mail, DMN reports.

This type of crossover is common. But here are a few tips on how to do it, based on input from experts, past and present.

  • Time it well — Depending on the proposition, start with the postal piece, then send the first of a series of emails. As one pundit has written, direct mail packages have a longer shelf life than emails, and people remember them longer.
  • Choose the right lists — Your first hurdle is to get email addresses for all the postal records on either your customer or outside rental file. This can be done with email appends. But make sure that you’re in keeping with all provisions of the Can-Spam Act, and applying them in the postal channel, too.
  • Have a strong Call to Action (CTA)  What They Think recently reported on what it called the Danish Cancer campaign. Tests showed that more people remembered the direct mail CTA than the email one. But don’t be swayed by that. People may remember the direct mail CTA. Given the interactivity of email, they are probably more likely to respond in that channel.
  • Maintain consistent branding — Use the same offers and creative in both channels, and be sure the name in your from lines matches the one on your postal envelopes.
  • Don’t be afraid to be repetitive. “It’s like the old story about the clergyman who had so many converts,” said the late direct marketer John Stevenson about direct mail. “He was asked his secret. He said, ‘I tell them what I’m gonna tell them, then I tell them, then I tell them what I told them.’”