New Zealand Marketing - - Contents -

Mary Rob­bins’ ode to ad­dressed mail.

What’s the world’s most pow­er­ful medium? C’mon. You must have an opin­ion. TV? Ob­vi­ous. Ra­dio? Tra­di­tion­al­ist. Press? Re­ally? My an­swer would un­equiv­o­cally be

ad­dressed, per­son­alised mail, one of the most in­flu­en­tial and grow­ing me­dia in New Zealand, up 16 per­cent to $58 mil­lion in the lat­est Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Author­ity ad spend stats.

In fact, ad­dressed mail spend grew more sub­stan­tially than any other me­dia last year, far out­strip­ping dig­i­tal’s growth and was one of only four me­dia to ex­pe­ri­ence growth in New Zealand last year.

Mail can pro­duce re­sponse rates of one to 50 per­cent. Only email can of­fer sim­i­lar re­sponse rates. And it’s in­ter­est­ing that both are per­sonal medi­ums, or what I call nar­row rather than broad­band mar­ket­ing.

A re­cent US Di­rect Mar­ket­ing Re­port called ‘Emerg­ing Trends’ noted that mail is one of the most ef­fec­tive meth­ods for reach­ing con­sumers, sur­pass­ing other di­rect me­dia such as tele­mar­ket­ing. A whop­ping 74 per­cent of house­holds read or scan their mail in the US. And New Zealand stats are

Ad­dressed mail is grow­ing. And with such per­sua­sive pow­ers,

so it should be, says Mary Rob­bins.

not far be­hind, with Nielsen not­ing that 46 per­cent of those who read mail buy some­thing as a re­sult. So why is ad­dressed mail grow­ing? Ad­ver­tis­ing spend took a step back­wards in 2012. And while mar­ket­ing man­agers may find ways to jus­tify sales losses (the GFC, loss of ma­jor con­tracts, exploding me­dia op­tions, smaller wal­lets, lit­tle loy­alty), mail re­mains a way to ac­tu­ally mea­sure the ef­fec­tive­ness of your mar­ket­ing spend.

Mail is tan­gi­ble . Whether it comes as a well­writ­ten let­ter, a smart in­vi­ta­tion or a multi-page prod­uct cat­a­logue, mail gets your at­ten­tion, in­volv­ing sev­eral of your senses.

Mail can build aware­ness, in­ter­est, de­sire and ac­tion. Be­tween 50 per­cent and 75 per­cent of con­sumers re­search a prod­uct on­line be­fore pur­chase. To­day, many UK and US re­tail­ers and cat­a­logue com­pa­nies use mail to stim­u­late that search.

It’s per­sonal. Mail is the only medium that uses your name and your ad­dress. You know it’s for you. But you need to get the ba­sics right. In­cor­rect spelling of a name, trans­posed street num­ber, in­cor­rect gen­der sa­lu­ta­tion and it can re­sult in a more than 40 per­cent drop in re­sponse. It lit­er­ally pays to get the de­tails right. A re­cent Forbes ar­ti­cle speaks about the power of a per­sonal ap­proach: “The prob­lem is that to a crit­i­cal and un­tu­tored eye a great di­rect mail let­ter doesn’t look like much. It looks sim­ple, which is much more dif­fi­cult to achieve than some­thing so­phis­ti­cated.”

It works. That’s the big­gest ap­peal to mar­keters. For in­stance, New World ran a large di­rect mail cam­paign tar­get­ing its top Fly Buys and Christ­mas Club cus­tomers invit­ing them to re­ceive quadru­ple Fly Buys points on a des­ig­nated Christ­mas Shop­per day. It sent an email to its other Fly Buys cus­tomers in­form­ing them of the Christ­mas Shop­per day. 24 per­cent of cus­tomers who re­ceived the di­rect mail vis­ited and spent in­store on the day, with av­er­age spend 40 per­cent higher than on a com­pa­ra­ble day with­out a cam­paign. In con­trast, the email re­sulted in just seven per­cent of re­cip­i­ents spend­ing.

So who reads and re­sponds to mail? More good news. Nielsen notes the more af­flu­ent are 20 per­cent more likely to read and re­spond to mail, with loy­alty pro­gramme mem­bers and DIYers not far be­hind. Or, as Ron Kurtz of the Amer­i­can Af­flu­ence Re­search Cen­tre says: “Di­rect mail is prob­a­bly the most cost-ef­fi­cient method for reach­ing the truly af­flu­ent, house­holds with a net worth of $ 800,000 or more and in­comes of $200,000 plus.”

So, if your mar­ket­ing plans do not in­clude mail, you may be miss­ing a huge, re­spon­sive and very per­sonal sales op­por­tu­nity.

Writ­ten by mary rob­bins Rob­bins is direc­tor at Rap­port Ad­ver­tis­ing. mary@rap­port. net.nz

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