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Lobcast Podcast: State of Direct Mail & Dark and Stormy

Marketing these days can feel like navigating some rough seas, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Mix up a dark and stormy and hear how marketers are leveraging direct mail in their marketing campaigns to find smooth sailing toward results.

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On this Lobcast Podcast episode, we're discussing marketing trends in direct mail and sharing findings from the Lob 2022 State of Direct Mail report.

Key highlights include:

  • 67% of marketers agree that direct mail delivered the highest ROI of any channel they use
  • Pairing direct mail with email marketing can drive a 27% response rate
  • Top metrics used to measure the effectiveness of direct mail marketing include response rate, revenue generated per mailpiece, and ROI

Meet the Speakers

Stephanie Donelson

Senior Content Marketing Manager

Kim Courvoisier

Senior Director, Content Marketing

Transcript of the Lobcast Podcast: State of Direct Mail & Dark and Stormy

STEPHANIE: Hello and welcome to the Lobcast Podcast: Mixers and Marketing. I'm Stephanie Donelson, your hostess with the marketing mostess. And I'm the senior content marketing manager here at Lob. I'm thrilled to be joined by my senior director of content, Kim Courvoisier, who's joining me for a drink as we talk about direct mail. Thanks for hanging out with me, Kim.

KIM: Yeah, absolutely. I'm thrilled you've had me at, like drinks and direct mail.

STEPHANIE: Do you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and your career so far?

KIM: Sure absolutely. So I'm Kim Courvoisier, and I spent the last 15 years working at startups of all stages, ages, and sizes here in Silicon Valley. And I've spent the last about year and a half here at Lob running the content marketing team for the whole channel.

STEPHANIE: Awesome well, welcome to the show.

KIM: Thank you.

STEPHANIE: So, like you just mentioned, you and I both have been in marketing careers for a long time and have had to navigate our own rough seas, hence the dark and stormy paired with this episode. But even when the waves are choppy and we feel like we might be pushed off course, we know that marketing matters to keep businesses afloat. Oh, and by the way, listeners, if you want to make this cocktail at home, you'll need two ounces of dark rum, a half ounce of lime juice, freshly squeezed. If that's your jam and ginger beer, you'll pour the ginger beer and lime juice over ice into a glass and add your rum floater on top. Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel if you want. Cheers!

KIM: Cheers. I have to say, I busted out the 1977 Darth Vader cup from Burger King. So we kicked it a little old school. And it is strong liquid courage, so to speak, here as well.

STEPHANIE: We'll just call this the Darth and stormy.

KIM: Yes, I love that.

STEPHANIE: This is really fun because this is just like happy hour with a colleague as we talk about marketing. So what exactly are we talking about in this episode? We're talking about the 2022 State of Direct Mail report and calling out what trends held up throughout the year, what stats still prove true, and what we might or what we think might change in the 2023 edition. Kim, can you provide some background on the state of direct mail report, please?

KIM: Yeah, absolutely. So we work together every day, so you know that I'm a total data driven like numbers nerd. So any chance I get to do anything that's related to data is a good thing. So earlier this year, we partnered up with compare media and we went out and we sort of surveyed about 200 enterprise marketers to ask them about their use of and the effectiveness of direct mail as a channel. Right? so then we took and we packaged up all of our findings in our state of direct mail reports. The key finding in this report that I'm was so jazzed about was 67% of the participants of the survey said that direct mail delivered the highest ROI of any channel they use, and that was huge in understanding what kind of bottom line impact is direct mail having these days.

STEPHANIE: No, that's definitely true. And that's such great information for marketers. And in fact, on our next episode, we'll talk about the consumer version of the survey. But, today we're focused on marketers' perspectives. And when it comes to direct mail and marketing, one of the first things we have to look at is the marketing funnel. So the state of direct mail report showed that marketers are using the channel primarily for acquisition and retention 27% and 29%, respectively. A while back, I actually did an informal survey on LinkedIn that showed 63% of respondents were focusing their marketing efforts on leads or prospects and only 25% on current customers. Now, that was marketing in general and not solely direct mail. What I find interesting is that we as marketers aren't leveraging this channel as frequently as we could in reactivation campaigns. I think there's a huge opportunity for us to use this channel to reach people at home or their business, depending on your industry. I'll take an example from my own life. I subscribe to a makeup and beauty brand and they haven't used direct mail to reach out to me since I unsubscribe from them. Oh sure. They'll send me emails trying to win back my business, but as soon as I see the brand name in my inbox, I delete it. They have so many items to my home. They know where I live. They know what I've rated highly in the past. So with a few personalization variables on a postcard, I'd stop what I'm doing to scan their mailer as it would feature items I've indicated interest in, and if they gave me a discount, I might come back because I actually see what I'm going to get. They don't even get any sort of engagement with me through email. Kim, I'm sure you've had similar experiences of a brand, you know, that's missed the boat on using direct mail in some form or fashion. But do you agree that marketers should be leveraging direct mail to win back? Or should we follow the numbers and focus on using this channel for customer acquisition?

KIM: I mean, undeniably, there's a place for both, right? And, you know, throughout the buyer's journey. And some of those numbers are surprising, right, that marketers are really relying on this mostly for retention and not really using or for acquisition, but not really for retention or reactivation and win back. Because you can integrate your direct mail these days with your CRM, with your marketing automation platform, and then be able to trigger direct mail like you would an email based on customer behaviors, events milestone, which truly makes it a great wingman for your other marketing channels in the case like the beauty brand you mentioned like that unsubscribe could have triggered a direct mail postcard to be like, hey, you might not want to get our emails, but we don't want you to miss that all our great offers and remind you of the value that you once got from that brand. So that would have been a perfect play, right, for direct mail or you hadn't logged in x period of time or you bought a liter of your favorite shampoo. And maybe they model out that it takes an average person, you know, three months to go through that leader. They could have pinged you at the direct mail postcard three months later and said, hey, your leader of shampoo might be running out. Time to buy again, right? So those are all just real life examples of the way that they could be triggering based on data they have about you and they have your address, they can send you a postcard. So it's a big missed opportunity. And when you mentioned reactivation, a real life story came to mind: Marley Spoon. They're a subscription-based meal in a box brand started by Martha Stewart, and they wanted to use direct mail alongside email to reactivate current customers. And so what they did is they segmented their churned audience into cohorts based on customer value, how much they have been over their customer lifetime. Right and what they did is they used email with their low value customers and then they use direct mail with their more high value customers. And what they found was that the direct mail had a 267% higher conversion rate than email. Though I want to be fair that they used obviously the direct mail with their higher value customers. So, you know, there's going to be a direct correlation there, but I still think it's like that's a great use case for using both channels the way they strategically will have the biggest impact to the bottom line.

STEPHANIE: Oh, definitely. I mean, it really comes down to your budget for where you should be allocating your funds. But then, like you just said, targeting is everything. And that's a really good point that they were testing both and integrating both into their strategy. You know, we talk a lot about omnichannel marketing around here and with good reason. Most of my marketing friends and former colleagues don't just know how to use one channel for their marketing efforts. You know, nobody's just only sending emails. Nobody's only just on Facebook, which I don't even know if Facebook is still around anymore.  

KIM: Well, Twitter won't be!

STEPHANIE: But it's always a mix, right? I feel like it's typically a mix of digital channels, though, even I make sure that digital marketing skills stand out on my resume. But I think in a way, as we get closer to the Metaverse or VR living or whatever we want to call it, people still value real, they still want offline. We're kind of approaching that saturation point in our digital lives where we'll be spending less time online and more likely to invest in ad blockers. I remember there was that comic making the rounds a few years ago about how people didn't like checking their mail because it was junk. But now we're scared to check our inboxes because a lot of it's junk. So can how can we as marketers ensure that our direct mail isn't viewed as junk across the marketing funnel?

KIM: Yeah, I mean, that's a fair point, right? And that's a good joke to tell. But, you know, when marketers and consumers hear direct mail, they might associate it with junk mail. But truly, there's nothing junky about intelligent direct mail. And that's a difference, right? Intelligent mails connected. It's personalized, it's scalable, it's trigger able, just like that Marley Spoon example we talked about or all those ones from the beauty brand that they could have done. And it's easy to use and get results. So both marketers and consumers approve of it. And 85% of the people in our survey told us that they read direct mail nearly immediately or on the same day that they get it in. And 62% of them took action based on a mail piece they got. So like, that's not junk. Junk mail, on the other hand, is that unsolicited unwanted advertisements, bulk mass mail. Kind of think of it as the physical form of email, spam and words that come to mind when I think of it like bulk, mass, I wrote these all down. So I could remember them all. Generic, you know, not personalized that customized, not trackable. All the nots, not read, not acted upon. They're expensive. It has like long lead times, slow execution, disconnected, doesn't add value, certainly not eco conscious, because it's just being blanketed with like mass, not carbon neutral. And the lack of ROI is, of course, you know, ROI is just not even a thing. But bringing it back like Intelligent Mail empowers companies to spread and expand their brand. Brand awareness, you know, boost those response rates like 67% said increase that ROI with personalized, customized and targeted mail pieces. And you know, the words, conversely, to junk that we would associate with Intelligent Mail would be targeted, personalized, customized, data-driven, trackable, actionable, flat-rate pricing. Oh, there's a concept, right? Doesn't matter how much you send, you can figure it out and then you can model how much it's going to cost to do your mailing. Scalable, quick turnaround in execution. We have customers tell us that they've gone from taking, you know, months to get a campaign out the door to days. That's massive. That's a game-changer, right? That's like an email campaign. You know, it's integrated with your other marketing tactics. It's not one off automated, adds value, higher higher ROI, eco conscious. And lastly, carbon neutral. What a concept. You know, people think of direct mail as like it does use paper, right? It does use a natural resource, but we're making it eco-conscious and we're making it carbon neutral, which is a massive win.

STEPHANIE: Yeah And in that way, you're kind of shifting the responsibility on the people sending mail instead of just the end consumer, hoping that they're recycling it. We've already done all that work up front for them. And by the by, I'm totally turning all those words you rattled off into a word search. Be on the lookout for that.

KIM: Cool!

STEPHANIE: No, seriously, the customized, the data-driven, integrated with other marketing tactics, that really stands out to me when talking about intelligent direct mail. In fact, integration is kind of key. Our own survey respondents shared that pairing the channels can drive a 27% response rate. I mean, hello! Now that does require assistance from the wider marketing team, which does lead us to our next discussion topic: marketing operations. So, going back to our survey, our respondents listed a few reasons that they've stayed away from direct mail as a channel, and that's because of complex workflows, customization capabilities, and personalization options. Do you think there are other reasons that modern marketers have bypassed this channel?

KIM: I mean, for all the things that, you know, we think about when you think of old school, which is why I have my old school cup here, you know, direct mail. And, you know, most marketers tell us that they use direct mail given its massive return on investment. But when people think about that old school perception of it, it's this clunky channel that's hard to manage, hard to track. It's all disparate where we have to send it out to the printers and somebody else has to mail it. And it just doesn't work with the way we're used to moving it. Like the speed of light now, right? Like we're moving so fast, we're executing so many things that thinking about having to do something that's slow and clunky isn't appealing. But we know those things aren't true when you use a platform like Lob.

STEPHANIE: Yeah I mean, before I joined Lob, I'd done direct mail through systems like Vistaprint. And yes, you stand alone and you really hoped for the best in how you designed your postcard. And forget any sort of personalization beyond "Dear Resident." I mean, I think I even had to coordinate with like the mail pickup, make sure it got sent out, had to work way backwards to make sure that my post card has to hit by this date. So people show up for this event that's on this date. That's not moving. So I need to make sure my mail gets there in time. But with APIs and integrations, we expect more from our marketing technology today. So Kim, you and I both talk about how sending a piece of direct mail should be as easy as sending email. Do you think we're there with our martech?

KIM: For sure. So I spent over a decade in email marketing and I'm going to date myself and I know I already have with my Star Wars cup. And I remember the days of literally having to code emails with a HTML write and what a massive pita that was. You know, I remember all the pain of email rendering differently in all the different browsers and all the pain points that we had to do with dealing with that, sending out the test to all the different things to see like, oh, God is going to look like crap and you know, Gmail or whatever that was. But you know, email evolved and it became much more targeted for marketers that didn't want or know how to code. And so it all became very much like this. What you see is what you get, you know, very templated. Mailchimp completely redefined the creation and sending of emails, making it so easy. And that's exactly what lob has done for direct mail.

STEPHANIE: Oh, Yeah. WYSIWYGs made a huge world of difference, I swear. Same thing with coding. I'd go into the code. I want to just bold two words or the date of an event. And then I'd pull out of it and I've broken an image or a paragraph tag, or somehow a new font has appeared in my email. And it's just I'm a content marketer, I'm not a coder!

KIM: I don't miss those days at all.

STEPHANIE: I mean, you're also in content, which means you've talked to a lot of our customers about their use of direct mail. And as a marketer yourself, what kinds of triggers should be used in marketing ops to signal that it's time for a piece of direct mail? We've already kind of talked about unsubscribes, last purchase date, finishing an email nurture series, so on. What else do you have to add?

KIM: Yeah, so many write like we talked about the beauty brand. I just rattled those off. Right but there's like a plethora of things I get so jazzed about this that can, like, signal that opportunity for a direct mail piece to be sent. So I can break it down into three buckets because we talked a little bit earlier where a lot of marketers are just using this for acquisition, but think about acquisition, retention, and then that reactivation and we can talk about a couple of triggers for each just to keep it brief. But for acquisition, an example is can retarget visitors who've come to your website that didn't sign up and send them a direct mail piece to assist them and get them to convert. Quick one for retention off the top of my head like trigger a direct mail piece to be sent on the anniversary of a customer's first purchase. Right that's great. For your beauty example, or your half birthday. I love the half birthday because it's so unexpected. It's like one of those moments of surprise and delight for my birthday. I kind of expect it, right? I'm like, oh, you know, bring me the offers, but your happy birthday, you're kind of like, oh, that's kind of fun. Like all of a sudden in June, I get something. I'm like, oh, and it's less noisy, right? Or you could do something based on like, it's been X days since you purchased or logged in. Or like you mentioned before, one of my favorites for retention is like if someone unsubscribed from your email list, you can't send them email anymore. So what do you do? Are you lost? You can never communicate again? No, send them direct mail. Well, we have some great use cases around that. So for reactivation, lastly, I'd say send a direct mail piece featuring like a product they ordered frequently to remind them of the value it provided. Right because if they've churned, they've left, they may have just kind of like gotten busy or didn't need it. But if you can remind them of the value that it brought them or the delight that it brought them that can get them to come back. And also triggering a direct mail piece around a non-traditional holiday can help you stand out from the noise around like the big holidays like we know are coming up throughout the year and be that moment of that unexpected surprise and delight like for instance, if there was a dark and stormy day, you could like send out you know, and I feel like there's a national holiday literally for everything now. There's like hot dog day and like donut day and coffee day and, you know, your dog day.

STEPHANIE: So if you're a brand in that area, like I used to work in aviation, we would celebrate like aviation holidays or Amelia Earhart's birthday. And it's like these are the fun ways to stand out from the crowd instead of being like, "Hey, happy holidays. Here's your 10% off." Like, who isn't sending that?

KIM: It gets your attention. So, yeah, no, totally.

STEPHANIE: All right. You just talked about being delightful and surprising your customers. So your turn for a surprise as I'm going to bring up a bad word now, data. Now, I've worked on marketing teams that have cursed the quality of their data, or we would have a really killer idea for a campaign, but we just couldn't execute it because we couldn't trust our own customer data. Do you think marketers can work with marketing ops to set up direct mail campaigns for success with data?

KIM: OK well, to be fair, I said in the beginning that I was a big data nerd, and so I'm a glutton for punishment. I love data, and I'm one of those weirdos who loves the challenge of trying to get to the data that we need. Right like reverse engineering stuff. So I absolutely think that direct mail really boils down to having accurate address data. Right to ensure mail pieces you send get delivered and Address Verification, which Lob offers makes that a snap. You can verify your addresses before you send to ensure you don't waste money on invalid or undeliverable addresses. And actually, you know, we're talking about the state of direct mail that we did for 2022. But I happen to have an inside track to 2023 data. And one of the top challenges that we're hearing from marketers is that address data, look at all the people who've gone to work remote and now crud like I can't just send them something at their HQ address. Now everybody's at home, how the heck do I get to them? So this address data is tricky right now. You know, when I think about other data you'd use for a direct mail campaign, the best data sources are going to come from your CRM or your marketing automation platform, or maybe your subscription management platform where you're managing all of your inventory and things. Because then like we talked about, again, going back to your beauty example, we know what you bought, you know, we know that you love that Armani foundation and that we want to remind you to buy that again. So getting all of those and incorporating them will help you leverage those more effectively.

STEPHANIE: No, I definitely agree. I think, you know, address verification and even kind of that next step of validating that the person lives there. Like I recently got something from a brand I had bought a product from years ago that had to be forwarded because I didn't live at that address anymore and it had my old maiden name on it. I was like, have you guys not updated anything? Like, my name has been changed for like three years now.

KIM: No yeah, not great data. So again, like you said, like data is always going to be a challenge. This is my sixth startup. I have never been at one startup yet that's been like our data is pristine. It's perfect. No said no one ever.

STEPHANIE: I don't think there's even fortune 500 companies out there that are like our data is the best!

KIM: Right? But it's a challenge, but not one that's unsurmountable.

STEPHANIE: So since we're talking about getting data, I know that you feel very strongly about A/B testing, which requires help from marketing ops to accurately attribute the results to the right variable. Do you have a feel for what kind of direct mail A/B test were popular in this past year?

KIM: Yeah so like you said, there's heaps of different tests we can run, right? And the most popular always seem to be the easy ones right around like copy offer calls to action and and format. So not always easy, but it's very similar to I think back in the email days where we were always testing like our copy, our subject line, our pre header text, you know what call to action, is it button or is it a text link like all that stuff, you know. But format is pretty interesting to unpack because should it be a postcard or should it be a letter? Should it be a self mailer like, you know, what should it be? And some things work better for certain industries and certain types of mailings, right? Like I don't want to get my health test result in a postcard that everybody can read, nor do I want to get like an invoice in a postcard. But do I want to get some kind of fun marketing offer in a postcard? Absolutely so, you know, thinking about those basic kind of table stake tests that we're talking about, you can also get really granular then with each one of those buckets and look at like permutations within like a call to action. Like, do you just use one or do you do multiple? Do you use personalized URLs or generic urls? Do you use a QR code? It goes on and on. And what I'm seeing a lot of is multiple ways to redeem an offer. So I'm seeing QR codes plus a custom URL, you know, maybe even a phone number so that there's multiple ways to take action on something. And, you know, even though QR codes has become kind of a big topic. I don't think that they are being used widely, but I don't know how much they're being taken action on as much as we would hope to see. But the proliferation of them has become like massive, which is exciting, I think.

STEPHANIE: No, I agree. I think the same thing. Like we've kind of seen that resurgence of QR codes, but I'm a lot more likely to use it when I'm at the restaurant down the street than when a piece of mail, like, I'm still going to go to my computer and type it in because I want to see it on my big screen. I don't want it popping up on my mobile device.

KIM: Yeah, I know I'm the same.

STEPHANIE: And I actually it's kind of funny. That reminds me of a conversation that I had with Paul during our acquisition webinar where we talked about, yeah, the different options for CTAs because from my generation it's pulling teeth to get me to make a phone call. I don't want to call someone. I want to go online and do self service. So when they send me to a website that has a landing page and application, I'll fill it out. But if it is, you have to call this number. You lost me.

KIM: Yeah, I don't want to talk to anybody. I mean, I'll talk to you while I'm having a drink, but I don't want to call.

STEPHANIE: But that just paints back the picture. There's so many ways you can do A/B testing, very similar to email, very similar to social media landing page. Anything you can do with digital, you can pretty much find the equivalent in direct mail. But we also know that setting up and running the A/B test is only half the battle. The other half lies in analyzing the results, which leads us to our last discussion topic for today: analysis. So marketing metrics, measurement, ahoy. So Kim, do you mind starting us off with some standard metrics that marketers should use to measure the performance of their direct mail campaigns and set benchmarks for?

KIM: Yeah, I'll keep this pretty brief, but some of the best metrics include response rate like obviously. Right you want to say you sent them out, what kind of response did you get and all those things that we were just talking about, like using QR codes and personalized URLs, you know, phone number, that's an option to help you actually figure out what response rate did you get, right? Because people took action on it. Revenue generated per mail piece. So you've gotten them to take action. How much did they spend? And then you put that against, right? How much did each one of those pieces you put that against? How many sent it out? And then ultimately my favorite and many other marketers favorites: ROI? Right that's the proof in the pudding. How much did it cost you to send this campaign? How much revenue generated per mail piece did you get? Voila, ROI. And I'll remind you of our golden stat 67% of the marketers said that direct mail delivers the highest ROI. And I would predict for 2023, we're going to see that number even climb higher than 67%.

STEPHANIE: Oh, I bet. I know. Those are some great metrics. I mean, even referencing our 2022 State of Direct Mail report, again, when we asked our marketer friends about this, they said that 52% track individual customer activity within a specific period of time, 48% use personalized URLs and 45% use QR codes. So, this speaks volumes about working with your marketing ops team to ensure that customer activity tracking is ready to go. Though, again, going back to our QR code discussion, I am honestly so surprised that QR codes were so low as they really did make a comeback in the pandemic. So you know, you just mention the 2023 report. Do you also see that there will be a shift in more marketers using QR codes on their direct mail pieces?

KIM: Oh my God. Yeah so I'm so glad you asked me this. So back in the day, like, QR codes were kind of a thing, but they came and went right. I remember using them in email and different things, but they just never really caught on. During covid, like they were used for a myriad of things like mentioned just now, like accessing a menu at a restaurant, like sorry, you're not going to get the menu unless you look it up. But so many people were like, Oh my god, I don't know how to do it. But the other day I was driving down Lombard Street in San Francisco. It's a very well-traveled street, lots of advertisements and billboards along it. And I saw this massive, huge billboard from Salesforce and it just has this big old QR code on it. And then I came home, I went to my mailbox and I got a holiday catalog from Amazon. And I kid you not every single page had a QR code on it. And when juggernauts like that are using QR codes, you gotta know they're working.

STEPHANIE: Oh, Yeah. We got the same Amazon catalog, and I'm pretty sure our nephews are going to send us screenshots of the pages that we need to be QR coding.

KIM: Right but, you know, it's like we've talked about this a little bit too. It's a mixed bag with QR codes, right? Because, yes, we're putting them out there. We're hoping that consumers will scan them and engage with them. And that remains to be seen kind of how widespread that gets. But then when you think about the fact that people also share direct mail. So think about if you are doing that QR code to like a personalized landing page you might want to do, you might want to think about that, right? Because if I get a direct mail piece and I share it with you and it's going to a personalized URL that kind of breaks that experience. But I guess knowing that you got it from me, you don't expect it to be personalized for you. Right? So just things to think through when you're thinking about QR codes.

STEPHANIE: No, definitely. I love your example from Salesforce because it's definitely a safe bet to follow those kind of leaders when they have amazing marketing teams and they are tracking ROI to the penny or half, penny or fraction of a cent what have you.

KIM: Yeah, I think that's a safe bet.

STEPHANIE: So kind of speaking again on ROI, you've mentioned that your favorite statistic from the 2022 State of Direct Mail report that 67% of marketers agree that direct mail has the best ROI of any of the channels they use. So why do you think that is?

KIM: Well, I mean, it's like everything we've talked about today, right? It's personalized, trackable, measurable, and it drives bottom line ROI impact. So like, what's not to like about it? It's becoming harder and more expensive than ever to use these digital channels like PPC, social email, and everything else. So we need to think about it as marketers having a really diversified plan with different channels and with shrinking budgets and increasing goals. You know, we need to be able to do more with less. We're all being challenged, right? That like the economy right now is it's a little scary and marketing teams are having to contend with that and contend with changes and maybe not even being able to plan out your full budget for next year. You might have to plan for a half, back half and be ready to change and be able to pivot. So, you know, knowing that you can lean in on channels that you already know, deliver, no pun intended, like direct mail is pretty powerful, but you don't want to put everything in one channel, right? You want a nice diversified channels across the board. So email, direct mail, all those things,

STEPHANIE: Treat it like a portfolio, diversify it. So you mentioned doing more with less, which I am 99% certain is the unofficial slogan of marketing teams across the entire globe. But I'd love to hand it over to you to kick off our closing remarks. What's something that really sticks out in your mind about how marketers use direct mail in 2022?

KIM: Yeah I mean, honestly, it was really exciting to be in the direct mail business in 2022 and seeing the variety of direct mail hitting my own mailbox. Like I love going down to my mailbox every day and seeing what's in it and going through and like, oh, this is good. Or, oh, they could have done personalization or oh, look at this QR code, you know, and it's from everything from small businesses to brand new direct to consumer brands that are popping up all over the place, like huge behemoths like Amazon, like we mentioned, or Salesforce. Everyone was on the direct mail train and I don't see any signs of it slowing down.

STEPHANIE: No, I definitely agree. It's so much fun now checking my mailbox and being like, oh, nope, they missed the boat. Or they could have personalize this. Although my husband got a piece that was... it's a little creepy, but it was also really clever. So in the address line it said, Santa's been watching you sleep at. And then it had our address and I was like, I kind of like that, but I kind of don't.  

KIM: It got your attention!

STEPHANIE: It did catch my attention and I flipped through the rest of their catalogs. I'm like, OK, let's see what you've got. If Santa is really going to be bringing me stuff, let's see what his options are. Looking ahead, what about 2023? I mean, like you mentioned, we're currently working on our next edition of the report now. But, do you have any predictions for what you think will be revealed? If any of them come true? I'll get you a great bottle of rosé.

KIM: I mean, OK, so that's a deal I can definitely get on board with. Our 2023 edition of direct mail, we asked some new questions about marketing budgets. Right? we just talked a little bit about this and we're acknowledging, like the white elephant in the room, like budgets are shrinking, you know, and we asked if there have been any changes in how much marketers are getting from that budget and how much they're allocating to each one of the channels, not just direct mail. So we can really start to understand the marketing mix. And I'd venture to guess based on results, marketers are going to continue to double down on their investments in direct mail because it gets results.

STEPHANIE: Oh, definitely. Well, I'm really excited to see what our final results actually show and create the report and get it out there to everyone else. All right. So to our listeners, thank you so much for joining us for drinks and direct mail. Download your own copy of the 2022 State of Direct Mail report here, on our next Lobcast Podcast episode we all about the State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights report, and we'll be mixing up some Irish coffees as we spill the tea about how consumers feel about this marketing channel. So thanks for listening. And that's all, folks!

Read the 2022 State of Direct Mail report