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