If Direct Mail is king why are we not doing more?

Direct Mail is a print segment that continues to kick goals across the globe and in customer markets. In the new digital frontier, physical communication with customers remains more relevant than ever and the opportunity for printers in this space continues to be significant.

The first thing to understand is that Australians read their mail, and marketers know this. Roy Morgan Research shows 81 per cent of Australians have read their mail – addressed or unaddressed at least once in the past week.  

Direct Mail continues to defy the challenge of digital media with advertising spend growing in Australia by 9 per cent  in 2015 up from 2014. According to the latest report snapshot by Nielsen, Direct Mail (9 per cent) is third only to cinema (32 per cent) and digital (25 per cent) in regards to an increase in year on year advertising spend. Overall, the top 10 market sectors experienced a 13 per cent increase in spend for direct mail, demonstrating that advertisers are still keen to engage their consumers with personalised print media. Interestingly, Woolworths slashed its spend on Regional TV ads by almost a third, while contributing a significant increase in spend on Direct Mail instead.

Direct Mail delivers high engagement, intelligent targeting and strong readership results. “When compared to other channels Direct Mail performs very well,” comments Kellie Northwood, Executive Director, TSA Limited. “Studies show in regards to immediate open rates, 52 per cent of Australians who receive Direct Mail read it then and there, whereas only 19.83 per cent open e-mails.”

Further, Direct Mail continues to show its resilience with figures confirming total spend in 2015 was $257m. Despite the hype around challenges in traditional media, 2015 saw no slowdown in advertisers investing in print campaigns to connect and engage with consumers.

Direct Mail is a highly creative medium and the options to tailor the physical appearance of the mailing piece through print, paper choice, envelope size and shape, and window size, shape and placement is almost unlimited. Australian Paper’s cutting edge Classic envelope machine is a good example of how Australia’s largest envelope manufacturer is continuing to invest in technology to facilitate premium Direct Mail solutions and push the boundaries of the medium.

“Australian Paper has reviewed the international and local market and invested heavily in a Direct Mail solution offering for our customers. Using our Classic Envelope equipment we can now convert pre-printed sheets inline to create high value envelopes for premium Direct Mail campaigns. It’s exciting for Australian Paper to be able to offer this as a real solution to our printer customers and creative agencies,” said Ray Chafer, strategic business development manager, Australian Paper.

The vast majority of mailers, brochures and other promotional material are still printed on standard white paper. One way for brands to differentiate their print marketing from the competition and reinforce their brand identity is to use the power of colour images for their print campaigns. By differentiating visually through the use of bold colours, brands can stand out from the crowd, be seen and have their message heard.

In a recent example of the impact of colour, a company sent a Direct Mail piece to 2,000 clients. 1,000 clients were mailed information on standard, white stock paper with a standard letter and another 1,000 were mailed information on bright red paper. Both mailers were printed on the same paper weight, identical finishes and contained the same information. The only difference – the colour of the paper. 

The results achieved were astonishing with an almost 30 per cent higher response rate from the bright red envelopes than the white envelopes. Colour became an effective tool to help shape the brand’s identity, contributing to brand recognition as well as making the message stand out.

But what about Millennials? Are we limited by age groups when we opt for anything non-digital? “This is an enormous assumption and a great risk that some marketers have made, when the reality is 77 per cent of Millennials prefer Direct Mail over other media. Reports show they like to hold print in their hands, read it, smell it, use it to link to social media, video content, or a coupon, save it, take it to the store with them, and share it with friends,” says Northwood.

It seems, across the entire client base, the print industry has a great opportunity to leverage the power of Direct Mail to deliver more effective marketing communication. Using the right choice of  paper stock combined with a premium envelope solution remains key to attracting your client’s attention by tapping into the power and physical presence of premium direct mail.

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