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October 4, 2022

4 Direct Mail Marketing Myths Debunked

by 
Guest Author

We've all heard some scary stories and mysterious myths in the marketing world but it's time to discover the truth when it comes to direct mail marketing!

With the digitization of marketing, you may have encountered increased skepticism toward direct mail over the past few years. After all, how can you justify direct mail compared to marketing mediums that don't have intrinsic costs, like email and social media? And surely purely digital campaigns are easier to measure ROI than letters, brochures, and postcards?

Many of these reservations about direct mail marketing come down to persistent myths about its effectiveness and value. Let's run through them and see how direct mail remains a significant foundation for modern omnichannel campaigns.

Myth #1: Nobody reads direct mail

Nobody wants to read "junk mail," and as a result, many people think that direct mail is doomed to end up in the trash before it's properly read. But that's not the case, chiefly because good direct mail campaigns are far from junk mail.

Quality direct mail campaigns are highly targeted and relevant to readers. Contrary to the myth that nobody reads it, we found that 72% of consumers read direct mail marketing the same day they receive it in our State of Direct Mail: Consumer Insights report.

Rather than being "junk," direct mail is one of the most instrumental marketing channels for large swathes of consumers. In fact, among some consumers, direct mail is the preferred method of communication with brands. We also found that 62% of consumers aged 55+ prefer brands they don't know to engage with them first via direct mail.

Myth #2: There's no way to measure direct mail's ROI

One significant advantage of digital marketing channels is that they allow for straightforward attribution. For example, URL codes and click tracking can enable marketing teams to quickly understand a customer's journey through the marketing and sales funnel, allowing teams to develop a strong sense of the ROI from an email or social media campaign.

How do you reliably secure attribution for a direct mail marketing campaign? It doesn't seem so obvious, so direct mail can be dismissed in terms of measurement.

However, this is a myth. Direct mail campaigns can mimic the 1-to-1 attribution model from email or social media via customized CTAs like URLs, coupon codes, phone numbers, or QR codes in direct mail campaigns. Additionally, direct mail can also leverage well-established cohort analysis measurement methods, which compare test and control groups and campaign effectiveness.

As a result, many marketers feel confident to cite that direct mail's ROI is among the highest channels available to them. We found that 67% of marketers believe direct mail delivers the highest ROI of any channel they use in our 2022 State of Direct Mail report

Myth #3: Direct mail takes too much time

Last year, marketing agency McCarthy & King published an article stating that a direct mail campaign can take "5-10 weeks to plan, create and implement," with it taking up to another 1-2 weeks for finished mail to arrive to consumers. While this was true of traditional direct mail, modern direct mail marketing campaigns can take place in a few days.

With automation tools like ready-to-use templates, teams can rapidly assemble mailers that would previously have to be manually done by design teams. And with code, teams can automatically alternate the images and copy based on a customer's previous interactions without manually building and populating spreadsheets.

That's not to mention that on the printing and tracking side, modern direct mail platforms like Lob can automate the printing and mailing of newly designed pieces with a few clicks via APIs with other service providers used by businesses and marketing teams. As a result, direct mail campaigns today can be planned and executed in comparable timeframes to social or email campaigns.

Myth #4: Direct mail costs too much

Unlike email or social media, direct mail has implicit costs associated with paper and mailing. This has created a myth that direct mail costs too much compared to these mediums. But, in practice, these costs don't have to be prohibitive or make direct mail less attractive than digitally native channels.

One challenge to this myth is that nearly seven out of ten marketers feel direct mail is the highest ROI marketing channel at their disposal. But the costs of direct mail in terms of person-hours and materials can also be minimized via automation and improved operational efficiency.

For example, teams can implement hyper-personalization, continuous optimization, and vary their use of mailer size to reduce printed material waste. The reduction in operating expenses can be stark; in our aforementioned 2022 State of Direct Mail report, we found that marketers can achieve 85% cost savings by increasing operational efficiency.

Deliver effective direct mail marketing with Lob

In debunking myths around direct mail marketing, we've found that a lot of what can make this channel compelling and competitive in today's marketing landscape comes from leveraging innovation and technology. This is exactly what our team at Lob does when working with marketing teams.

If you want to generate personalized, time-effective, high-ROI, and affordable campaigns that maximize your connection with customers, find out about Lob's platform to achieve industry-leading direct mail automation. You can get a demo now or contact us to find out how to level up your direct mail campaigns.

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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