A recent headline, published in the 10/18/22 issue of CMO Briefing by xiQ, boldly forecast: “56% of B2B Marketers to Go Mostly Or Entirely Digital Within a Decade.”
Well, for those of us who are true multichannel marketers, and adroitly integrate both online and offline tactics into our campaigns, that’s good news. Copywriter Paul Bringe once said of direct mail: “When the feed is scarce, the chickens will scratch at anything.” And if you think of direct mail as “feed,” then the feed in your prospect’s mailbox has gotten scarcer as of late.
Forbes reports that “as small businesses experiment with alternative forms of advertising, the volume of direct mail is slowly declining.”
According to the United States Postal Service, annual advertising mail volume fell from 103.5 billion DM pieces mailed in 2007 — to just 66.2 billion pieces in 2021 — a drop of 36%. This means that there are fewer direct mail pieces in the mailbox fighting for the prospect’s attention. And with less feed, the chickens are scratching more than ever – and as a result, response rates have been steadily rising in recent years, as Adweek and others report.
Which is an opportunity for those of us who embrace DM to gain a leg up on the half or so of B2B marketers that are cutting down or dropping print DM altogether — and, I would argue, at their peril. “Seems strange,” comments CMO David P. “As there is less competition in the mailbox these days, now would be a great time to crash the box and get some attention with a series of quality packages with a strong offer.”
David adds: “Everybody’s pixel crazy, it’s all about funnels … I’ll match results with a solid control DM package to a great list every time!”
Marketing consultant Greg K. advises: “When everyone else is crowding the in-box, make some noise in the mailbox.”
Marcom manager Charles C. posits that “these days direct mail is a ‘disruptive technology,’ and done well could get more attention than digital communications.” This may give an advantage to marketers with gray hair, because we — unlike our millennial counterparts — know and are comfortable with direct mail.
Copywriter Neil G. says, “I find a general reluctance among a younger crowd of marketers to take advantage of the uncrowded mail field.” And to a degree, I find their caution warranted.
Yes, direct mail packages can perform well in both solo promotions as well as integrated into multi-channel campaigns. But, when your DM package bombs, that hit to your pocketbook can sting more than an email or Facebook ad that doesn’t work.
Educate yourself on what works in direct mail, or, get help from others who already know. Now, that still doesn’t guarantee your direct mail piece will be a winner, but it can help tip the odds of success in your favor.