Is mail by post making a comeback?

By AndrewData, Digital, Direct mail, E-marketing, Marketing strategyComments are off

Whatever happened to the paperless office? Speaking for me my desk still has piles of paper on it, which I work through methodically. Paper, it seems is still alive and kicking!

From a communications perspective we are constantly trying to challenge and stimulate our target audiences. People still talk about great TV ads in the pub or at the coffee shop, posters and Press advertising are still vital in building brands and creating intrigue. As human beings we respond to touch and feel as well as sight and sound. Effective communication is about using all of the tools at our disposal to engage with our audiences.

In my last blog I challenged some of the apparent unstoppable success of email. I have just been reading the Mail Media Centre’s Direct Mail Effectiveness report 2011 (

Summary of key points:

  • 91% of prospect mail is opened
  • This is an increase from 88% in 2006
  • 5% average response from prospect mail in 2010
  • 19% of recipients keep mail sent for future reference
  • 17.7 million people ordered online after receiving a mail catalogue in 2010

It seems we can’t turn our back on paper. Let’s first consider some of these facts. 91% of cold prospect direct mail pieces were opened. This compares with 11% of cold prospect emails.

If a mailing piece is opened the recipient is physically interacting with your brand. Opening an envelope or polywrap, seeing your key message encapsulated in your headline. Through our innate curiosity and by opening a package that is addressed to us we begin a process of absorbing the imagery and content. Even if subconsciously, this interaction begins to build a positive impact on your brand and is a great opportunity to engage consumers. There is no doubt in my mind and in my experience that when used as part of an integrated campaign mail can deliver impressive results.

Let’s consider those open rate statistics.

If we send 10,000 mailers through the post and 10,000 emails just think of the difference in opportunities to get your key messages across.

10,000 x 91% opens = 9,100
10,000 x 11% opens = 1,100

What would you prefer? Fewer open at lower cost?

More open but increased opportunity to attack vital human senses of touch, feel and vision?

There are horses for courses but let’s not cast aside traditional methods and get hood winked by technology. I strongly believe in keeping an open mind and choosing the right communication tool to address a specific problem, but one thing is for sure, some traditional methods still have an important role to play in our planning.