To echo Mark Twain, the reports of the death of direct mail are greatly exaggerated. In fact, Direct Marketing News points out that standard direct mail volume is up 3% over last year with the expected 2015 expenditures on direct mail across all industries to reach $45.7 Billion.
Why are companies still spending so much money on direct mail in the age of digital communications?
Because it works.
Even though it is an expensive channel, direct mail can be very effective. And there are distinct advantages for educational marketers who are fighting for attention in administration email boxes.
As email marketing has grown in the educational industry, companies have sent out less physical mail. However for companies marketing to institutions, it is still efficient – particularly when combined with digital efforts.
Direct mail still works because there is less competition in the physical mailbox than the email inbox. And recipients view direct mail as less intrusive. It’s a tangible medium that can be opened immediately or saved for a more convenient time.
Many education companies have built their businesses using catalogs – one of the best kinds of direct mail for schools and districts. Purchasing products with district purchase orders is a proven method that is efficient for both the district and the provider. Even though the actual purchasing process may now be electronic, it is clear that the physical catalogs are often driving online purchases.
The increase in electronic communication does not necessarily mean that older marketing tactics like direct mail are no longer effective. Companies often find that using direct mail and email together achieve a greater response than either method used alone.
Data availability makes it an easy matter to personalize and target prospects with customized offers that are shaped by previous purchasing, demographic or other institutional data. District procurement policies often involve materials review in different departments such as curriculum and technology. Physical catalogs, brochures, and other types of direct mail standardize the information that purchasing teams have to review resulting in a more efficient process.
Including direct mail as part of your marketing mix is both a strategic and a financial decision. Target Marketing suggests that some of the best ways to use direct mail are:
- Driving traffic online
- Lead generation
- Customer acquisition
- Supporting other channel offers
- Rewarding customer loyalty.
The most effective combination of marketing channels and tactics will be different for each company. Often it can differ from product to product within the same company. It might seem counter intuitive to use a direct mail piece to sell a digital curriculum product, but it can be an efficient and effective way to support other channel efforts, including a sales force.
Because the cost of direct mail is high, it is important to measure the success of each campaign by having clear objectives, a straightforward call to action and a tracking system that captures total sales. Thanks to new technology, education marketers now have unlimited flexibility in customizing and personalizing direct mail offers.
Agile is here to help your marketing team develop an effective multi-channel strategy that includes direct mail, email, digital advertising, and content marketing. Give us a call today!