. . . And The Envelope, Please!
Of the 14 methods surveyed for customer acquisition and retention, direct mail ranked number two in both categories behind e-mail. This is the same ranking as 2009. What keeps direct mail prominently in the mix is its improving ability to target an audience. That is the science part. When it comes to avoiding waste of paper, print and postage, direct mail pros are getting leaner and meaner. Delivering an interesting offer to your mailbox that you at least scan or read is the equivalent of a click through an Internet ad.
The 2008 United States Postal Service (USPS) Household Diary Study showed 79 percent of mail is scanned or read by recipients. Internet ad click rates were .28 percent, according to Wikipedia. E-mail click rates were 5.9 percent in 2009 reported by Epsilon in its 2009 Q2 E-mail Trend Results. How much e-mail does not make it to your inbox? If it is permission-based, and not spam, 21 percent of e-mails do not make it according to Return Path, a leader in e-mail reputation services. Isn't the mailbox looking a little better?
Your mailbox is only accessible by you and the USPS. First Class Mail is only to be opened by the recipient. More than custom or protocol, it is law. Despite all of the unique ways to communicate today, nobody I know wants to get rid of their mailboxes. With the reverential value of mail and the mailbox established, it comes down to a mystery, a package and a promise.
The contents of an envelope can be mysterious and enticing. That is the way a marketer wants it. It already has an aura of class, style, vibrancy or cleverness. The outside exudes the message, whether subtle or screaming its call-to-action. It says: "Open me and see what I've got."