Be Different! Send Mail!
February 16, 2011
by jpark

Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Do something different? Send mail! To many, this might sound like a strange suggestion. After all, isn’t the average household inundated with mail? Isn’t all this unwanted mail why services like Catalog Choice (which allows consumers to opt out of unwanted catalogs) are so popular? Isn’t it why, after more than a decade, the “Seinfeld” episode in which Kramer tries in vain to stop the mail, still strikes us as so relevant and funny?

The truth is, according to the United States Postal Service’s “Household Diary Study” detailing mail usage and trends in U.S. households, total mail volume to homes in the U.S. is down. This volume grew from 100 billion pieces in 1981 to 212 billion in 2007 (an increase of 93%). Since 2001, however, it has slowed considerably, dropping to 131.6 billion in 2009.

Swim Upstream!

The explosion of mail growth in the early to mid-1990s is due to construction of massive, computerized databases and techniques for sorting large amounts of data. This, combined with low postal rates, created a fertile climate for direct mail marketing. At the same time, computerized financial systems facilitated and encouraged billing by mail.

Since that time, the mailing environment has changed. Postal rates have risen, e-mail has replaced “snail” mail for everyday communications, consumers have become more comfortable with electronic bill paying and the popularity of online sources of news and information has exploded. It’s no wonder we’ve seen a general increase in electronic diversion of the mail.

Does this mean it’s time to slow your print budget in line with the trend? On the contrary, as the volume of household mail declines, now is the time your printed communication will stand out the most. Take advantage of it! Give that next direct mail piece some extra punch. Over-size it. Increase the brightness of the color. Personalize it.

Blow Out Your Competition

Beefing up your direct mail efforts at a time when household mail is declining seems counter-intuitive,but it follows the old marketing adage, “When is the best time to advertise? When the economy is down!” When your competitors are not advertising, your message becomes more effective because it has little competition. The same goes for print. As the print volume declines, well-designed print pieces command even more attention.

ROI studies on 1:1 print marketing have shown repeatedly that smart, well-executed personalization can dramatically boost your response rates. Done right, it can also decrease your cost per lead, increase the dollars spent per sale and otherwise increase your ROI.

Now, as the volume of unnecessary mail declines, your personalized direct mail dollar goes farther than ever before.

Should you want to discuss any of these changes or others you may hear about, please don’t hesitate to call us.

More Insights to Enjoy:

+ Think E-Media Beats One to One Printing? Think Again! {Consumers Love Getting Mail}

+ Pushing the Envelope

+ Psychographics Can Help Your Marketing Communications and Improve Your Direct Mail

© Action Graphics, 2011. Article taken from Action Insights, Vol. 2, Issue 2. Sign up today to receive future issues of our newsletters.

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