How Bank of the West’s purposeful messaging paid off
For marketers, it’s not always about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes, it’s about rediscovering what made the wheel great in the first place. So let’s look at direct mail.
Long a staple of marketing, especially in banking and financial services, direct mail lost favor over time. It was replaced by more expeditious (and cheaper) channels such as email and social media.
But the pendulum swung back. As time passed, customers weren’t complaining about their outdoor mailboxes being packed with junk mail. Instead, they were dismayed that their email inboxes and social platforms were packed with marketing messages. Then came a pandemic, which made electronic communication more essential and even more pervasive. But it also made those communications less effective.
Let’s look at where the pandemic has left us and how we’ve been navigating the “new normal” as guidelines continue to change. Human connection and communication have taken on a more important role. Zoom meetings, grocery deliveries and online shopping and banking have all become ubiquitous, even essential. At the same time, with consumers going to e-bills and companies switching to digital marketing, physical mailboxes are often empty.
All this makes print more powerful than ever for marketing. Haptics, the neuroscience of touch, holds that being able to touch something makes us feel differently about it — we place greater value on it. Thirty-six percent of people report having brand recognition after seeing a piece of print; just 18% report brand recognition after seeing a digital ad.
There’s also digital fatigue. According to a study by Sappi, 65% of consumers agree that mail lifts their spirits. Households receive on average just two pieces of mail per day, versus 157 email messages. Plus, with 7 in 10 white collar workers in the U.S. still working from home, mail is a welcome distraction. It’s part of the reason the USPS is consistently ranked as the most popular entity in government.
We can make some reasonable assumptions as to why direct mail is less popular than other marketing tactics, beyond falling out of favor in the digital era. Direct mail is likely more costly than email, there is more room for error when it comes to printing and personalization, and it may be difficult to verify the correct home or business addresses of your targets.
However, data shows us direct mail is worth the extra effort. According to the ANA Response Rate Report, just 38% of marketers report using direct mail in their direct marketing campaigns compared to 82% using email in direct marketing campaigns. However, of those who used direct mail in campaigns, the return on investment was the highest of all mediums at 112% average ROI:
Direct mail isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. It plays well with digital communication.
There’s a 28% increase in conversion rate for marketing when direct mail and digital ads are used together as a one-two punch. And consumers say they prefer to receive direct mail and digital over any other media, including social media.
Those facts suggest that if your retail marketing strategy has defaulted to digital only, you’re missing an opportunity.
The 2018 DMA Response Rate Report finds that 80% of sales are between the 8th and 12th touchpoints. Direct mail, as part of a larger physical/digital strategy, can help you increase touchpoints and get the most bang for your buck.
With USPS Informed Delivery®, consumers can sign up to see your bank’s mail as a scan, in email, in addition to receiving the physical piece in their mailbox. The side that’s scanned is the address side so include key information, including offer and visual, there. The open rate for Informed Delivery email is impressive — 64% to 80%.
Here are some options for investing in direct mail and supplementing the effort with digital:
Mail + Retargeting
Flip it; Digital first, followed by Mail/Mail + Machine Learning
Mail to someone who has visited your website — machine learning can be applied to automatically tell you what to mail. Customize and personalize; drop within 24 hours.
Mail with Video
It’s reported that video provides a whopping 88% return on investment. To enhance your video performance, consider QR codes, which have made a comeback, for example, on restaurant menus and other touchpoints. You might also look at video mailers with a built-in player. Especially for high-value targets, they’re an effective substitute to replace in-person meetings with a physical experience and get your message noticed.
A 2019 study by Keypoint Intelligence shows that 29.2% of mail recipients are more likely to open and read your communication if it appears personalized and relevant.
Here are some ways to make a stronger human connection with personalization:
You have five seconds to get your mail opened or ditched. Let your design agency bring you more impactful ideas that are right for your specific audience: