Direct mail leaves a lasting impression with consumers

Real-time marketing is the latest buzz word in the direct marketing industry. The term defines consumer expectations of marketing and response immediacy.

In b-to-b marketing, branding and customer satisfaction take on different roles when selling business-based services compared with a consumable product. Success is dependent on the integration of communication channels. Measuring this success can prove to be a difficult task.

Marketers in the b-to-c world are still trying to figure out how to monetize real-time marketing. According to IBM Corp.‘s October 2011 “Global Chief Marketing Officer Study,” 56% of CMOs are not prepared to be accountable for marketing return on investment (ROI). Of the survey’s 1,734 respondents, 63% said ROI will be an important measure of their success by 2015, but less than half (44%) said they felt prepared to manage its increasing importance.

Marketers have flocked to email marketing because of the low campaign cost. Using a rented opt-in list, a marketer can email at a lower cost per household than direct mail. However, direct mail wins in generating greater numbers of leads, which tend to be more qualified than email leads. Some industries, such as insurance, find direct mail is the proverbial workhorse to direct response campaigns.

In a 2007 Financial Times and Doremus study, 59% of senior executives prefer printed resources compared with online resources for information while 60% of these executives turn to print for in-depth analysis. Sometimes all that can be found amongst the  marketing clutter is the paper trail.

Putting direct mail in the hands of a consumer creates a lasting impression not available with viewing online images. In the “Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct

Mail” October 2010 study by Bangor University and Millward Brown, tangible materials triggered a much deeper level of emotional processing and generated more activity in the area of the brain associated with integration of visual and spatial information. This deeper emotional processing embedded the images in the memories of the test subjects. In effect, the tangible materials were more “real” to the brain.

Real-time marketing may be the buzz in the b-to-c world, but real-time includes direct mail delivered straight to the home of the person looking for your service. Can you afford to be the other company because you didn’t consider direct mail?

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