With direct mail response rates rising and volume falling, marketers are finding new ROI by combining print and digital for maximum impact in their omni-channel.

The mailbox is not empty, but it’s roomier than it’s ever been — and more profitable, too. After years of moving spend from print to cheap digital ads, brands are finding that mixing the two enhances the response and ROI in both. It’s time to rediscover the lost art of print and how a true omni-channel strategy leads to better marketing experiences and more profitable campaigns.

A Print Renaissance in the Digital World

Undeniably, marketing mail volume has declined. Since 2006, USPS reports that mail volume has fallen from 212 billion pieces to less than 150 billion, a decrease of more than 30%. But at the same time, direct mail performance has increased considerably. According to the ANA/DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail response rates are up to 9% for house lists (up 173% since 2006) and 5% for prospect lists (up 194% since 2006). Compared to digital response rates, which are 1% or less for every channel from email to social to display ads, direct mail stands out as a high-impact channel that can convince people to take the next step with your brand.

But the reason marketers turned so heavily to digital in the first place was ROI: At dirt-cheap prices, digital marketing was seen as delivering a higher return on investment than print. Even that tide has turned, though. The same ANA/DMA report found Direct Mail ROI at a healthy 29%, which is far ahead of paid search (23%) or online display ads (16%). It’s on-par with the ROI of social (30%). 

That leaves email as the only channel that actually surpasses direct mail with an, admittedly impressive, 123% ROI. But that ROI comes with elbowing your way through an email inbox chock-full or spam. The average American gets over 600 emails a week (and if my inbox is any indicator, many of us get a lot more). How can you stand out in that deluge?

This is exactly where rediscovering the art of direct mail comes in. The average postal mailbox gets less than 17 pieces of mail a week. The channel is wide open and a great way to make the kind of impression digital just doesn’t allow. And new research is showing that whatever your other channels are doing without direct mail, adding personalized direct mail to an omni-channel marketing campaign improves all results.

Direct Mail Boosts Omni-Channel Marketing Performance

Digital marketing is in a new place, especially after COVID-19. People now rely on digital channels for 90% of their communication — personal and commercial. Marketers are just getting the hang of how to integrate those channels and make them personal.  

We’ve been helping companies build personalized omni-channel marketing campaigns for years. One of the things we’ve learned is that no matter what combination of digital marketing you put together, it will always perform better with a direct mail component. And the numbers bear this out. 

A recent survey of 600 companies doing omni-channel marketing found that only about half of them (51%) had “good” or “very good ROI” on omni-channel campaigns without a direct mail component. With direct mail as part of the omni-channel mix, that rate jumps up to 83%. 

Personalized direct mail makes an even bigger impact. In the same survey, 52% of respondents who added direct mail reported a moderate to major improvement in performance. But when that mail was personalized, using individual customer data to tailor the mailpiece to each recipient, 89% reported moderate or major improvements in performance.

The clinching argument should be that only 56% of the marketers surveyed included direct mail in their omni-channel campaigns. This is a wide-open opportunity to add a channel to your marketing that instantly improves ROI. And it’s a channel that half of your competitors are ignoring. 

Make the Lost Art of Direct Mail Your Own

For years, there’s been a question around the survivability of direct mail. But that’s always been the wrong question. The right question is: How can you craft a marketing experience that has the maximum impact on your target audience? No one channel is more important than the success of your campaign, it’s the balance that matters.

In personalized omni-channel marketing, direct mail is a breakthrough touchpoint. Today’s data and lead-generation techniques can pinpoint your ideal target audience with more accuracy than ever before, and the digital tools at our disposal allow you to surround them with relevant content. But so can everyone else. Putting a personalized direct mailpiece into that prospect’s hands lifts your brand above the digital din. 

At Propelo, this brand of omni-channel marketing has been our secret sauce for years. If you haven’t done fully integrated omni-channel direct mail before, we’d be happy to talk you through the process and show you just how effective this lost art can be. If you already have an idea of what you want to do and just need help to make it happen, we are here for that, too. 

It’s time to bring direct mail back into the omni-channel fold. Contact us to find out how Propelo can help build your most-profitable omni-channel campaign yet.