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Is Direct Mail The Answer to Your Company’s Digital Media Strategy?

I know many of you are saying that sounds ridiculous. After all, we’re talking about snail mail here, right? While a lot of organizations are still using direct mail in a traditional way to prospect for new customers, many aren’t using it to its full potential in the digital age.

Traditionally, companies have viewed direct mail and digital marketing as existing in two different worlds. But, if you use the two together in a holistic approach you’ll create a symbiotic relationship that doesn’t exist by using only a single source strategy.

First, the digital universe has become as cluttered as many mailboxes used to be. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Rule of Seven, which is the old marketing adage that says that a prospective customer or client must see your brand seven times before they take action. While this rule isn’t an absolute, it forms a good foundation for us to consider when targeting prospective customers. So, if the digital world is increasingly crowded it may be difficult for you to break through all of the noise with digital marketing alone. A strategy that utilizes both direct mail and digital campaigns may be just what the doctor ordered.

In addition, digital marketing techniques can increase the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns and vice versa. The benefit of the world of digital campaigns whether they’re social media campaigns, PPC campaigns, or display ad campaigns is that they allow for continuous and instantaneous feedback to see what works and what doesn’t. This feedback can be used to more effectively craft your direct mail message and also further target your direct mail universe. How is this possible? Simple you can look at measures such as demographics, topics that demonstrate interest, click-through rates and other analytics to more effectively segment your mail audience.

Mail campaigns can also work in tandem with digital campaigns. At Latitude Studios we like to call this approach a digital overlay campaign. We coordinate a direct mail campaign with precise digital targeting. This means that Latitude Studios is able to market to a specific location and can use social media or other digital initiatives to deliver hyper-local advertisements. How hyperlocal do you ask? Well, the ads can literally be customized to be delivered to a particular individual or down to the plat line of a particular property.

This allows for several things to occur. First, this enables specific measuring to see which ads work in certain locations and can help companies more quickly determine if a potential customer or location is a viable target for their continued direct mail marketing efforts. Facebook and Instagram, for example, allow companies to target customers by demographics, interests and location. The ads are an excellent companion to direct mail. Essentially, someone will not only receive digital advertising but they’ll also receive follow up direct mail to enhance digital initiatives and help an organization hit the Rule of Seven to foster brand recognition.

Now, this strategy works on a deeper level than simply having someone receive your brand multiple times. It also provides that information in different ways. Think back to when we were kids. You’ll remember that your teacher taught in the classroom in many different ways. He or she may have written things on the blackboard, played movies, lectured, allowed group activities or several other different types of learning techniques. These different approaches go along with the Seven Learning Styles, which describe how different people learn and retain information. Some are visual learners that prefer pictures and images, while others are aural learners who benefit from using sounds or music. Others learn verbally by using words, both in speech and writing. While some are physical learners that prefer to use their body, hands and sense of touch. Some learners prefer social learning with groups, while others are solitary learners that prefer to work alone and use self-study. Finally, some are logical learners that prefer reasoning and systems.

If you’re running effective digital media campaigns you’re likely to cover many of the different learning styles. A good digital campaign can use images and music or sounds to cover visual and aural learners. Digital campaigns also provide opportunities to drive customers either to social media pages for group interaction for social learners, or websites for study for logical and solitary learners. But, what about those that are physical or kinesthetic learners, as they’re sometimes referred to? Well, some studies have shown that in a classroom 37 percent of children are kinesthetic learners, and around 30 percent of students in the classroom prefer mixed learning styles that could include kinesthetic learning. So, if you’re simply depending upon digital media to meet all of your customers, you’re potentially missing out on targeting a big chunk of your audience in the way that they best retain information— through a tactile and physical approach.

So, are you still convinced that there’s no reason to use direct mail and digital together? Look, you shouldn’t all of a sudden throw away all of your digital marketing efforts and go back to the days of big shopping catalogs and phone books. However, many companies have actually started to send direct mail again because marketing research has shown that these pieces have become more effective in an increasingly busy digital universe. But, when paired with a digital campaign it can help brand messaging cut through that clutter and help both forms of media stand out more than a single source campaign.

It’s time for us to think about the way people retain information and ways to cut through the increasingly crowded digital space. Direct mail, when done right, can elicit a pronounced emotional response, and brings added value to a digital campaign by making a message more memorable. Together, direct mail and digital media can heighten the influence and reach of a company’s branding strategy. It’s time for your organization to evaluate its marketing techniques to ensure that your strategies are effective in the current environment.

That’s the power of direct mail in a digital world.


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