- Publishing & printing
Developing high-impact direct mail.
Perception is reality for impactful direct mail. Experienced marketers know that direct mail works. But saying the right things to the right audience using the right print vehicle is only part of a winning strategy. The difference between a low-impact piece and a high-impact mailer comes down to four factors.1
First, consumers are more likely to read/review direct mail if it features personalized content. Second and third, engagement rises if it comes from a trusted sender and if the message is important to them. Fourth, respondents – especially younger ones – react more to quality paper, creative design, color and images. In other words, if it looks high quality, it delivers true stopping power.
Top 5 requirements for an effective direct mail piece – by age
A 2020 study by Keypoint Intelligence2 found the top five factors for getting direct mail read or reviewed were the same for all age groups. But as consumers aged, the degree of engagement changed. Older respondents placed greater emphasis on personalized and relevant content (63%), if the message was from a familiar or trusted sender (66%) and the importance of the message (47%). Younger consumers, those age 18-35, were far more likely to notice high quality paper, design and images (25%) and the use of color (23%). To help get your direct mail piece noticed and read, here are the most important elements to consider, by age:
Personalized and relevant content
- Ages 18-24: about 42%...35-44: about 50%...55+: about 63%
Familiar and trusted sender
- Ages 18-24: about 37%...35-44: about 40%...55+: about 66%
Importance of message
- Ages 18-24: about 23%...35-44: about 35%...55+: about 47%
- Ages 18-24: about 25%...35-44: about 15%...55+: about 5%
Use of color
- Ages 18-24: about 23%...35-44: about 12%...55+: about 4%
Actions taken in response to direct mail – by age
Results and ROI are the only metrics that matter. How motivating was the direct mailer? Did it lead to action, more importantly, to increased sales? According to recent Keypoint Intelligence research,3 the most common action taken after reviewing a direct mail piece was visiting the physical retail location: ages 18-24: 32% ...35-44: 36%...55+: 48%. The second most common was visiting the sender’s website: ages 18-24: 17%...35-44: 33%...55+: 41%. And somewhat surprisingly, older consumers are not only more likely to engage, they’re also more likely to make a purchase: ages 18-24: 17%...35-44: 24%...55+: 38%.
Not surprisingly, younger consumers are far more likely to react online after reviewing a direct mail piece, with 18-24-year-olds leading the way. This group was followed closely by the 35-44-year-old regarding interactive communication. Both groups are more likely to email the sender, use social media to engage the sender, interact by way of their smartphone or communicate with the sender via text or online chat.4
Print on paper continues to be a highly effective tool, because it delivers qualities difficult – if not impossible – to replicate digitally.
High-impact direct mail delivers high-impact ROI
Print on paper continues to be a highly effective tool, because it delivers qualities difficult – if not impossible – to replicate digitally.5 For many consumers and marketers, print is more credible. It can be read at leisure, with a tactile element that lingers and serves as a messaging reminder, until it’s tossed or recycled. What’s more, print is more engaging, particularly when personalized or enhanced by marketing technologies. It also inspires a variety of results, from visiting a store to triggering a purchase. And most importantly, print direct mail pieces are, at least, glanced at individually before being discarded, while emails are commonly deleted en masse without being read.6
Although age differences seem to determine how consumers interact with direct mail, one factor remains the same – direct mail has real impact.7 From driving store visits and website traffic to increasing purchases, high impact print direct mail is far more effective in standing out and getting attention than any digital marketing channel. It offers immediate accessibility, touch and texture, which makes direct mail the perfect outlet for engagement, interactivity and creativity. Bottom line: perception is reality; if your print direct mail piece looks high quality and communicates the right message, it will deliver higher quality results and ROI.
1, 5, 6, 7 Keypoint Intelligence Research, September 23, 2021
2 Annual State of Marketing Communications Consumer Survey, Keypoint Intelligence 2020. Base: consumers in US and Canada who read/review direct mail marketing pieces before throwing them out.
3, 4 Annual State of Marketing Communications Consumer Survey, Keypoint Intelligence 2020