Direct Mail During COVID-19

Direct Mail Moves Marketing Past ‘Online Fatigue’ and Into Your Audience’s Hands

by Bart Devos

Social distancing and shifting to working from home have presented brands with a novel challenge: “online fatigue.” While social media usage is at an all-time high (which would usually work in marketers favor), users themselves are following new behaviors which are difficult to predict.

The past few months has seen social media increasingly used as a method to interact with friends and family, leaving users less open to being enticed by advertisements while they’re online. Likewise, with more free time as people work from home, scrolling and content consumption has become a mechanism to fill time or distract – users simply aren’t “in market” for advertising. The result is digital advertising campaigns bringing in unpredictable results as audiences skim over adverts or use social media in a way that bypasses them. In just a few short weeks, brands have found it harder to make a meaningful impact with their usual online advertising campaigns.

So, what next? Direct mail has reestablished itself as a frontrunner for marketing spend, and some companies have already made moves to tap into the opportunities presented by the print marketing channel.

Marketers know more people are home and life has changed pace: a walk to the mailbox used to be a chore, now it’s an opportunity to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. We expect to see a significant uptake in companies looking to use direct mail and competition for the mailbox will be high. With marketing spend more closely monitored than usual, marketers also are considering innovative ways to make sure their direct mail campaigns stand out and maximize ROI.

Standing Out in the Mailbox

Making direct mail stand out has always been the key to a successful campaign, but it is critical now more than ever. In current circumstances, we are seeing firms actively looking for new ways to evolve their direct mail programs. The aim is to maximize campaigns and uphold great ROI – especially if other forms of advertising haven’t been generating their usual results. Practically, here at AR Metallizing, we are seeing renewed focus from our customers looking to innovate their envelopes, as they look for ways to engage and delight prospective customers from the moment the campaign lands in letterboxes.

Incorporating innovative envelope materials into direct mail campaigns is guaranteed to make an impact. In the past, a major US credit card retailer boosted its response rate by 30% using holographic envelopes. Another distinct benefit of direct mail is that it provides more predictability than digital marketing – an exciting direct mail campaign using inventive envelope materials will remain attractive and memorable, regardless of most external circumstances.

Incorporating innovative envelope materials also can support marketing spend. The USPS’ offers advantageous postage discounts on envelopes made from sensory and tactile materials, meaning that marketers are able to stretch their budgets further.

As the way the world increases its use of digital tools during this period and we simultaneously see a drop in physical social interactions, brands are also considering how direct mail might be able to fill a gap in interaction with their target audiences. The physical aspect of direct mail campaigns has the power to connect more meaningfully with consumers given they offer a tangible interaction that even digital campaigns cannot.

Far from being a thing of the past, direct mail campaigns also have the potential to resonate strongly with Millennials and Generation Z. Using the right campaign elements like strong looks and memorability, brands can create a unique, exciting and engaging direct mail campaign that will resonate with younger audiences.

While looking to stand out with direct mail campaigns, we always offer a word of caution: campaigns should remain memorable but polished. It’s sometimes a fine line to walk — brands need to spark excitement, but shouldn’t appear brash or attention-seeking. Incorporating complicated designs, heavy copy and trendy imagery can present poor results if the elements don’t fit with your overall brand and messaging.

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