Q&A with Ritu Kapoor, Lob, CMO
Q: Can you tell us the background of this survey?
A: As digital fatigue increases among consumers, it has become essential for marketers and brands to bolster their omnichannel strategy, combining digital and physical channels, to stand out in a noisy market, engage with consumers, and drive revenue growth and ROI. For the State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights Report, Lob partnered with Comperemedia and interviewed 2,111 US consumers (aged 18+) to understand their usage of, attitude toward, and preferences around direct mail. The survey was designed to provide invaluable insights for marketers and brands looking to stand out in the crowded market. Additionally, for these marketers and brands to engage customers with intelligent direct mail.
Q: What do the findings indicate?
A: The findings in the State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights Report reveal intelligent direct mail that is connected, personalized, and measurable resonates with consumers – emphasizing the channel’s strategic value in the marketing mix.
The report found 85% of consumers regularly read direct mail received from brands either immediately, on the same day, or at a later time, with 62% reporting a direct mail piece has inspired them to take action. This indicates consumers have a positive reaction to direct mail. Additionally, combining digital and physical channels, like sending an email campaign directly after a mail piece was delivered, can encourage consumers to engage with brands. This ultimately drives revenue and increases ROI.
The report also revealed a strong consumer preference for receiving physical mail with many finding it to be an effective way to get to know, build relationships, and engage with brands. Half of the consumers surveyed report they are often introduced to new brands via direct mail. 66% said they are likely engaging with and acting on direct mail from brands they already have a relationship with. This indicates direct mail is critical to the acquisition and retention of customers. While it also proves its value throughout the entire customer journey.
51% of consumers reported they sometimes or often share direct mail with friends and family. This further indicates the channel’s integral role in a successful omnichannel strategy. Furthermore, half of the respondents believe they receive too many emails. 73% have security concerns around opening emails from brands they don’t know.
Overall, the findings indicate brands and marketers need to evolve their customer acquisition and retention strategies from disconnected tactics to fine-tune their omnichannel approach. This need to do this in a way that engages consumers at every stage of their journey with relevant content.
Q: Tell us about Lob and what it is known for.
A: Lob is the only direct mail automation platform for the digital age. The platform automates the direct mail execution process for marketers, at any scale. This includes from creation, printing, postage, delivery, and sustainability with end-to-end analytics and campaign attribution. All mail sent through the platform is 100% carbon neutral across its entire lifecycle. Lob’s technology transforms snail mail into intelligent mail at scale. It enables leading brands to personalize, analyze, and deliver an unmatched omnichannel experience to their audiences.
Lob connects marketers’ digital and physical approaches and enables them to send millions of unique pieces of direct mail for one campaign within days – versus many months with traditional processes. By disrupting the old way of executing direct mail campaigns, Lob makes it a tech-enabled function for the modern marketer. Also, Lob empowers businesses to reach millions of homes and offices each day. Plus, to connect with their customers on a deeply personalized level. All while learning from those interactions.
Q: Where does Lob see this survey taking the future of branding/marketing?
A: This report proves direct mail has a critical role to play. This is especially true as marketers determine how to best engage target audiences. We see more marketers and brands understanding that. So, they look to implement intelligent direct mail into their strategies to connect with customers and inspire action. The pending death of third-party cookies will force marketers and brands to establish real-time, authentic connections with consumers. The report results illustrate receiving direct mail is an intergenerational preference. More than half of all age groups surveyed engage with brands following the delivery of a mailpiece. Also, it can serve as a tool to build personal relationships with all generations as future consumer data and tracking regulations affect marketing strategies.
Q: How are these results in line (or not!) with what the expectations were?
A: While our digital footprint hits overdrive, consumers are increasingly craving the tangible and physical aspects of life. That said, the results from the survey match our expectations. Additionally, it reinforces the power of direct mail in a digitally dominated market. The results speak to why 67% of marketers say direct mail has the best ROI of any channel they use, and why our customers continue to find direct mail a leading channel in customer engagement, retention, and acquisition.
Q: Why is direct mail marketing having a renaissance?
A: We are entering the new world of omnichannel marketing and as consumers are constantly moving between digital and real life, they expect a seamless experience across all touchpoints throughout the customer journey – meaning marketers can no longer dismiss the “mailbox” as part of the consumer experience. As the digital world took off, many marketers likely decided to leave direct mail marketing in the past. Then, they dove in headfirst into digital channels.
But the reality is direct mail is not only alive. It is also even better than before. Marketers can no longer afford to miss out on the marketing channel with the highest potential for profitable growth and ROI. With the power of automation and emerging technologies, marketers can add and fully integrate this proven, powerful channel into their marketing strategies. This creates a seamless customer experience across both physical and digital touchpoints.
Q: How important does Lob consider direct mail marketing to be for Gen Z?
A: Marketers and brands must gain the trust of Gen Z consumers for them to engage. With personalized and intelligent direct mail, brands can combine physical and digital channels to build trust with this younger generation in a crowded market. A physical piece of mail can encourage consumers to engage with brands on other platforms. This includes driving them to make online purchases after receiving a personalized letter, making direct mail essential for establishing real connections with Gen Z, and for brands to reach this generation in the attention economy.