You’d be a Dummy to Dismiss Direct Marketing


In the interest-building digital world of inbound marketing, it’s easy to dismiss the more traditional opportunity that direct marketing represents. Some marketers today look on direct marketing as a kind of myth, a strange tale of times gone by. But the reality is you’d be a dummy to dismiss it as obsolete.

Direct marketing is the act of reaching out to communicate directly with specific members of your audience, be that direct mail, calls, email or through other digital means. This is targeted marketing with a very specific direct message in mind. But isn’t that all a bit… last century?

Whatever you might think about the concept, there’s an undeniable argument for the continued benefits of direct marketing as one of the fundamental principles of marketing in our modern world.


Don’t hate on direct mail

Sure, direct mail might seem strange in today’s increasingly digital world – actually sending physical advertising materials to a customer through the post? It’s almost quaint in its barbarism. The truth is that consumers are a lot more attuned to this opportunity than many of us might think.

Research commissioned by the UK’s Royal Mail concluded that the continued effectiveness of direct mail emerges from the fact that “giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.” In fact 38% of respondents said the physical properties of mail influence how they feel about the sender.

The US Postal Service conducted their own research in 2015 that showed physical adverts generated a demonstrably more emotional reaction in an audience compared to digital adverts. Emotions, it seems, are still stirred by the physical interaction of an object- even if it’s just a discount pizza flyer with your name on it.

The Royal Mail study showed that physical mail has another potential advantage over its digital nemesis – persistence. Advertising mail is kept in the household for an average 17 days, a physical reminder of the marketing offer in question. Mail is also shared, around a fifth of marketing mail is presented to other people in a household. When was the last time you showed someone a marketing email that didn’t involve something to do with puppies?

But today’s direct marketing isn’t just about a strange kaleidoscope of pamphlets raining through a customer’s letterbox like marketing candy, the realty of targeting today… is digital.


Digital marketing is more direct opportunity

Let’s face it, when we’re talking direct marketing, those frowning faces are most likely conjuring up images of junk mail clogging up letter boxes. It’s important to remember that direct mail and direct marketing are not one and the same. While direct mail is a form of direct marketing, it’s not the totality of what direct marketing has to offer.

Integrating digital opportunity into your direct marketing efforts is a powerful tool in today’s landscape. Digital insight from social media in particular lends an opportunity for the kind of informed understanding of our audience that helps us produce more targeted marketing campaigns. In its purest form, a well-executed and well-targeted Facebook advert campaign is just a modern evolution of direct marketing tactics. This is about a specific message pushed to a chosen audience to take a certain action. How can that be anything other than direct marketing?

Email is another area where direct marketing is thriving in today’s marketing landscape. A well maintained and segregated email list is another evolution of the idea of email marketing. A study by Jupiter Research showed segmented lists can improve conversion rates by up to 355%. It might get bandied around under the banner of inbound marketing at times, but targeted marketing emails to a specific audience is just a digital version of the opportunity that we frown upon when it falls through a letterbox.

Direct marketing still needs to be done right

Now don’t get us wrong, the concepts of inbound marketing that argues for content-driven engagement which helps fulfil an audience’s needs are vital in our modern environment. They are not, however, mutually exclusive with the principles of direct marketing.

We’re not advocating intrusive cold calls or avalanches of pointless marketing junk mail. What we’re saying is that well targeted and confidently crafted direct marketing has an important part to play in any marketer’s toolbox.

At its heart, good direct marketing isn’t so different from what we’re all trying to deliver daily – beautifully crafted content that’s tailored to your unique audience. So while direct marketing, and direct mail in particular, might have a strangely misunderstood reputation, it’s still an important part of what we do. At Content Nation, like everything we do, we just make sure it’s delivered with excellence.

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