Direct mail growing in the US: Does it mean South Africa will follow?
Ever since the introduction of digital marketing there has been a debate on what the future holds for traditional media, and direct mail in particular. However, what if the answer isn't one or the other but rather how digital marketing and direct mail complement each other? American research 2017 Media Usage Survey by targetmarketingmag.com proves that it does. They have done in-depth research into media usage in the USA.
Using the premise that South Africa has a lagging media landscape that will (in time) follow similar trends that the US are currently experiencing, which certainly highlights the possible opportunities for South Africa to grow both the digital marketing and direct mail industries concurrently.
60 Second Marketer’s Jamie Turner is a digital marketer who has worked with some of the world’s largest brands such as Coca-Cola, AT&T, CNN and Cartoon Network to name a few. Jamie has used information generated by a Media Usage Survey in his article to support how direct mail and digital marketing, when executed together, make a significant impact difference to any campaign's ROI.
According to Jamie’s article, “Modernizing Your Direct Mail Spend With Technology”, direct mail enjoys a higher response rate than any other channel, and states that a direct mail postcard will net about a 4.25% – 5.0% response rate. The reason why direct mail secures such a high response rate is due to the following four factors, viz. the ability to utilise data smarter than ever before; better advances in data-gathering methods; greater accuracy in market segmentation; and, the ability to model data more precisely.
As per the Media Usage Survey results, direct mail hasn’t plateaued but in fact is growing. 31% of the marketers who participated were increasing their direct mail usage this year, with another 33% maintaining spend year-on-year, and based on spend and volume analysis, major brands such as Nordstrom, Starbucks, and General Motors are among the top direct mailers in the USA.
Multi-channel campaigns have become the standard for most businesses and brands seeking to penetrate the market, and when direct mail is a part of the marketing mix, it not only gains the hard yards in its own right, it also adds exponentially to every other point of contact. Marketers are continuing to experiment with combinations of mediums such as direct mail, email, social media and television, and what they are finding is that each time direct mail is used in the mix, it enables all channels to be more efficient and effective.
The collaboration of direct mail and the digital world crafts an environment in which direct mail is poised to be more influential and cost-effective than ever. This bodes well for the South African landscape which has its challenges both in the geographical spread of the population as well as the sluggish interaction with the online world. A combined direct mail and digital marketing campaign is the solution for a more comprehensive reach.
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