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Physical disruption in a digital world

Direct mail can create real cut-through, drive attention and deliver authenticity. 87% of consumers rate messages delivered by mail as believable (vs 48% for email)*. This perception of authenticity and trust is strong. It allows brands to communicate openly with shoppers around any product changes or launches, knowing that the majority of readers will consider their key messages. As 37% of advertising mail is planned to acquire new customers **, this level of trust is a crucial benefit of the channel and brands.

MarketReach has previously looked at the interaction between email and mail, and saw that the channels can be complementary. The blend of email’s speed and informality with the authority and reliability of mail is a combination that can provide communication opportunities in the most appropriate way for the consumer***. This enhanced relevance and shopper centricity should naturally lead to a more successful campaign, with greater cut-through and overall response.

Trust in tradition

It’s not only shoppers that trust mail, brands should too. The reliability of mail means there is little opportunity for the challenges experienced in the digital world: ad blocking and viewability issues are factors that don’t impact the physical media channels. Digital media allows for greater creative flexibility than traditional channels; however results of tests can be challenging to interpret if the delivery of the message to the shoppers isn’t accurate – how does a brand know if a shopper actually saw the communication?

The tactile, physical nature of direct mail means that shoppers can build their own perceptions of a brand via the paper quality and pack format before the mail is even opened. These subtle details are just as important as the copy and overall channel creative and, despite this instant impact, can often be overlooked. Traditional channels can provide a richer engagement with shoppers and communicate a multitude of product and brand cues that are more challenging to convey in the online environment.

How does mail perform?

Direct mail gives brands the opportunity to create experiences for shoppers. It is an ideal channel to deliver samples direct to shoppers; allowing them to experience the product, driving mental availability and ideally a trial purchase. Robust evaluation methodologies also can allow brands to understand incremental sales impact and more in-depth customer metrics around acquisition, repeat purchase and loyalty. Direct mail has a positive influence on purchasing behaviour; we see an average of +33% incremental sales in the live period with a sustained 5.8% in the following post period.

The result of a compelling campaign can be seen with unprompted feedback on social media thanking the brand and/or retail partner for such a rewarding communication It’s this element of surprise and delight for shoppers that can create positive sentiment and a great brand experience. In an age where advocacy counts, this earned media and publicity is incredibly valuable.

Our analysis shows that an integrated approach to campaigns generates the most successful results: shoppers exposed to a blend of messages across channels and locations usually demonstrate the greatest level of incremental sales and awareness. Combining mass media with precision targeting across digital and physical channels can provide the best of both worlds for brands and shoppers alike.

*MarketReach: ‘The Value of Mail in Uncertain Times’ Aug 2017 ** The Direct Marketing Association ‘Mail Matters’ March 2015 ***MarketReach: ‘It’s all about Mail and Email’ May 2014

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