Performance Marketing

Making the Most of the Mailbox: Why Print Stands Apart

In the digital age, brands are constantly looking to improve their media mix. But among all those push notifications and social posts, channels like print could be considered a bit old school. After all, isn’t print the Mad Men generation’s advertising?

Contrary to these outdated notions, the glossy appeal of print is undeniable, even among younger audiences. And print has been having quite a moment in the past few years, thanks to the shift in remote work caused by the pandemic. According to a 2020 USPS study, all generations are spending more time engaging with their mail — sorting it, opening it and reading it — with millennials topping the list.

Source: USPS Study 2020


Where Messaging Meets the Mailbox
With benefits in both reach and frequency, print is a great addition to any overall media plan. It’s a great channel for driving transactions and responses, but it’s also a fantastic vehicle for creating awareness, thanks to its extended shelf life. In essence, it becomes the point of activation for other media messages. Consumers must take action with a piece of mail, while other media is consumed more passively. Direct mail is often consumed on the recipient’s own time and it’s often uninterrupted. It has an open rate of 90% compared to 20-30% for emails.

Source: Gallup Poll; USPS Study, 2020


Crashing Through a Cluttered Marketing Environment
In today’s cluttered media landscape, you need to leverage every channel available to you—including print. And within each channel, you need to deploy all the best tactics. Here are some tried-and-true guidelines for successful print campaigns:

  • Leverage QR codes to connect your tangible print pieces to your digital platform
  • Use attention-grabbing offers
  • Develop eye-catching creative and unique formats to draw in readers
  • Target your audience using your CRM data to reduce waste in your marketing spend
  • Leverage third-party data to target lookalike audiences that may be interested in your brand
  • Connect the user’s experience by enticing them to log on for a digital offer from a print piece
  • Create urgency in your creative that encourages readers to visit your brand
  • Target households within a small trade area near your location, since they are more likely to be your customers
  • Be hyperlocal by providing a special offer for a specific location to boost traffic or blunt competitors

The Perks of Personalization
Direct mail allows you to personalize a message or an offer. You can also break through the clutter with an eye-catching piece on nice paper stock. Treat your most loyal customers to a different offer set than your acquisition list.

Clients who can leverage their CRM data to influence their print target audience are at an advantage over those that can’t. While they’re able to deploy customer data to influence the version and offer provided to customers, other clients are stuck marketing to the masses, and with larger waste rates.

Post-Pandemic Print Trends
The average person is exposed to more than 5,000 ads per day. But the number of impressions in someone’s mailbox is much lower, meaning those messages get more attention and those experiences are less fragmented. The average U.S. household receives 454 pieces of mail a year, and 58% of that is advertising, yet people still get excited to check their mail and they feel appreciated by brands who take the time to send a note. According to a Gallup study, 41% of Americans look forward to checking their mail daily.   

With an average shelf life of 17 days, print has staying power that outperforms other channels. In fact, 73% of Americans say they prefer direct mail because they can process it when they want. Email and digital ads communicate more urgency, but direct mail has staying power. Print is a great tactic to combat digital fatigue, and it’s been shown that direct mail takes 21% less cognitive effort to process than email. Lastly, direct mail recipients purchase 28% more than those not included in a mailing.  

Make the Most of the Mailbox
In a world of endless touchscreens, scrolling and page clicks, the power of holding a physical object in your hand is undeniable. With full-color photography, artful type and tailored messaging, there’s no limit to what print can do for your company. So, what are you waiting for? 

Ad Week: Why Print Matters More than Ever in a Post-Pandemic World
Small Biz Genius: Direct Mail Statistics By the Numbers
Gallup Poll

By Emily Schaefers

As AVP, Media Services, Emily serves Ansira’s Performance Media group as the lead on the Print Center of Excellence.