Direct Mail Marketing Can Grab and Hold Attention

Printed Marketing Stands Out

Celebrate a birthday lately? If so, you probably got a number of emails and Facebook messages, most of which contained the “default” applicable words “Happy Birthday.”  It’s nice that people expressed their good wishes, certainly, and you appreciated it, I know I always do.

But let’s be honest. How many of those people, if there were no Facebook, would have gone to a store,  bought a card, dug up your address, wrote a cute note, found a stamp, and mailed it to you?  My guess is, well, let’s just say a smaller number. And those who did would really stand out right?

When it comes to your business, that ‘standing out’ thing is pretty darned important. That’s why this research study over at Two Sides North America jumped out at me while I was gathering info for a post last week. It’s worth your time to read but here’s what I took away from it.

Direct Mail Marketing Is Simply More Engaging Than Email

The research methodology of the study, commissioned by Canada Post, used lots of fancy techniques, tracking peoples’ eye movement and behavior as they opened regular “snail” mail and as they got into their email accounts on a computer.  The study included subjects from multiple age groups: Baby Boomers, Generation-Xers, and Millennials.

Across these groups, the respondents made one thing dramatically clear, they are more likely to notice and read direct mail (53%) than email (26%).  That’s more than twice as likely, for those like me who can be mathematically challenged, at times.

The study includes some “verbatims” from study subjects that might help explain the numbers. They explained the positive aspects of direct mail these ways:

  • “It’s more visible – I don’t receive a lot of mail.”

  • “I receive too many emails and ads get lost or deleted.”

  • “I have to collect the mail and decide what to keep.”

  • “I spend all day on a computer at work, prefer to read print when I get home.”

The article also includes research findings from other studies that may provide some deeper, even psychological factors that enhance the perception of direct mail as compared to email. Some of them are as simple as the excitement the trip to the mailbox holds for many people to see what surprises might have arrived. Another study cites the “endowment effect” which says that people are more positively disposed to things they actually own – and clearly there’s a greater sense of ownership over something you can hold in your hand compared to an email.

Other studies point out the “staying power” of direct mail as opposed to a quickly-deleted email. Catalogs and flyers tend to hang around the living room, restaurant menus live on in kitchen drawers, while coupons and other promotional items are kept by the fridge. You might even have a few on the dresser, next to your wallet!

How Do YOU Handle It?

Whether you are currently sending promotional emails for your business or not, it’s hard to ignore these results. It is not about using one marketing method while ignoring all others. Give me a call, and maybe we can put together some ideas for direct mail that would get people to spend more time thinking about your messages and make them more likely to take things further.


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