8 in 10 Marketers Report Good or Very Good ROI with Integrated, Personalized Direct Mail, but Only Slightly More Than Half Are Using Physical Mail Regularly
PFL, a leading martech company that is pioneering the ‘tactile marketing automation’ category, today released its 2019 Multichannel Marketing Research Report: Direct Mail in the Digital Age. The study, conducted by PFL and Demand Metric, found that adding direct mail to multichannel campaigns is a catalyst for better response rates and higher ROI, yet not all marketers are using direct mail as a primary channel. The study, available for download here, indicates there is a significant opportunity to leverage the power of physical mail to reach the right audiences with personalized, on-brand messages that resonate and drive ROI across channels.
“Our study illuminates the role and impact of direct mail across the multichannel marketing mix,” said Daniel Gaugler, CMO of PFL. “The data clearly shows that direct mail improves overall multichannel marketing performance – and results improve significantly when direct mail is fully integrated, personalized, and represents a company’s brand well. We’re excited to share this treasure trove of data with marketers so they can more effectively integrate direct mail into their multichannel campaigns and improve performance.”
The survey of nearly 600 respondents found that more than 8 in 10 (83%) marketers report good or very good ROI when direct mail is fully integrated into the multichannel campaign mix (versus only 51% without direct mail). The data also shows that most marketers leverage 3 or 4 channels in a multichannel campaign (29% and 21% respectively), but only a little more than half (56%) are typically using direct mail. Email is ranked as the most popular channel (91%) followed by social media (81%) and events (73%).
With direct mail proving to be one of a marketer’s most strategic channels, the survey explored the role of direct mail in today’s multichannel campaigns and the ROI it drives, as well as best practices on how and when to include direct mail in multichannel campaigns. Key findings include:
Direct Mail Boosts Other Channels
Marketers agree that adding direct mail to the multichannel marketing mix improves overall campaign performance, with half (52%) reporting it delivers a moderate to major improvement. That number jumps significantly when direct mail is personalized and tightly integrated into the channel mix, with 89% of respondents saying it delivers a moderate to major improvement to response rates.
Yet the data shows a majority of marketers are not fully integrating direct mail efforts into marketing campaign technology. Only 16% of respondents have complete integration (where direct mail sends and measurement are an inherent part of the marketing technology) and 17% have high integration (where direct mail is sent by a core marketing technology but measurement is separate or not available). When it comes to personalization, only 4 in 10 marketers are significantly personalizing direct mail (25% reporting ‘a lot’ of personalization; 12% ‘complete’ personalization).
Direct Mail Influences Decision Makers
Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (78%) ranked integrated, branded, personalized direct mail as the second most effective channel for reaching their target audience (events was the most effective channel at 83%).
For the C-suite, the audience that study participants most desire to reach, direct mail was the second most effective channel (29%) just after events (37%). For those who hold the purse strings (financial or purchasing decision makers), direct mail was the single most effective channel for reaching them (34%) followed by email (28%). In both cases, social media marketing was named the least effective channel (6% for C-suite and 12% for financial or purchasing).
Dimensional Mail Shines
When it comes to direct mail, the majority of marketers are sending postcards (55%) and letters (52%). However, most say that these fall short when it comes to demonstrating brand value. The study found that dimensional mail, the third most popular form of direct mail, did the best job of representing a company’s brand. Dimensional mail are pieces that are not flat and are often sent in boxes or tubes, such as a gift – and 4 in 10 marketers (42%) send this type of mail today, with 35% reporting it represents their brand “very well” (versus 17% for postcards and 19% for a letter).
“This study will cause many marketers to realize that one of the most effective channels for their multichannel campaigns is one they aren’t necessarily using,” said Jerry Rackley, chief analyst for Demand Metric. “The study data provides several, key insights. One is that direct mail is ideal for certain audiences that marketers are trying to reach. Another insight is that when direct mail is done intelligently – meaning it’s integrated with the campaign technology, it’s personalized, and the formats that represent the brand best are used – it’s very effective. It lifts overall campaign performance. Marketers can actually gain a competitive advantage by putting direct mail into the channel mix.”