I recently handled a direct mailing for a client.
The job cane in over the transom as we used to say in the 21st century and the client was old school.
However, it reminded me of a recent epiphany I had: digital will always have the best ROI because the “I” as in investment is so low.
However digital is what they call on finance a very crowded trade. Too many digital marketers are competing for a limited supply of human attention.
Therefore direct mail (which in my view includes print space advertising) becomes the contrarian play.
It has many advantages including its relative lack of competition. My USPS mailbox never overflows, whereas I almost always have about 10,000 emails. In addition, a physical piece demands some action: it silently screams “Read me, fold me, or if you must throw me away.” Something must be done with it, especially if Marie Kondo the clutter queen reigns in your condo. Email on the other hand is invisible and easy to hoard. Digital ads are even easier to ignore.
Direct mail also has a certain amount of inherent credibility. Subliminally it legitimizes its sender. Its delivered by a uniformed quasi-governmental employee. It often comes from authoritative sources such as creditors and public officials (who get to mail free with their franking privilege). It cost somebody money to send. Anybody can post online or send an email, but not everybody can afford postage and printing.
So there is merit to including mail in the omnichannel marketing mix.
However there are barriers. One of the biggest is modern media buyers don’t have any digital metrics to justify the ROI.
The answer may be found in a somewhat dated tech to bridge analog reality with the digital domain: QR codes.
I was a skeptic early on but once I got a scanner I became a user. They are particularly good when used in outdoor ads in colder climates such as real estate signs.
As print and direct mail make a comeback, QR codes or something like them are the best way to digitize readership and response metrics.these are analogous to digital impressions/email opens and clicks respectively. What would help is a metric that projects actual offline impressions to QR scans, developing a ratio reflecting the fact that only a small percentage people who read a print mail piece or add actually employ QR tech. This can be augmented by creating dedicated landing pages for each offline ad. The key is to understand that digital derivative print metrics are useful only as a relative metric vs an absolute measure if the ROI of offline ad spend; much of the value is awareness and branding which are best measured by traditional market research.
How T. Nugent & Associates Can Help
Our vintage associates’ (yours truly first and foremost) experience bridges the millennia so we’re old hands at the lost art of direct mail and print advertising in magazines.
Our youthful associates are digital natives. So, we can help you create and implement strategical programs to make the most of omnichannel options via integrated campaigns that maximize ROI.
For more information, go to www.tnugentassocites.com