“If direct mail is dying, it’s sure taking its time about it,” quips Lois Gellar in “Reshaping Direct Mail for 2014,” an article she wrote for Forbes.com.
Gellar is referring to the state of an industry that many digital marketers assumed would die a rather quick death. She is convinced those assumptions were wrong, as she gives us a round-up of her opinions on trends for direct mail in 2014.
One of her key predictions is that “mailers will go where the money is,” primarily to older people. Not simply because they are more likely to prefer printed mail to electronic communications, but because they have money to spend that the younger folks don’t. And they like to read, taking time to hone in on the message instead of being impressed by the medium.
Continuing the trend of the past couple of years, direct marketers will rely on mailed pieces to help with customer retention and reactivation of inactive buyers. This makes profound sense when you consider that your best source of new business is the customer base you already have. And while digital marketing is obsessed with getting new eyeballs on your message, printed direct mail solidifies your existing relationships in a way that digital just can’t.
Finally, Gellar expects to see big progress toward truly personal (not just personalized) direct mail that is welcome and relevant to the recipient. This can only happen when marketers forgo the compiled lists and truly embrace “big data” in their marketing efforts. This data is the only way to really understand the people on your list and provide the kind of personal experience that moves your piece into the select pile of “keepers.”
With increasing postal rates and ever tighter regulations for direct mailers, Gellar also expects to see a trend toward “mailing smarter,” with tighter targeting, more relevant offers and more creative pieces. It’s no longer feasible to blast your message out there unless your offer truly has interest to almost everyone.
The bottom line for Gellar? 2014 may be the year when marketers finally get to know their customers, target them with appropriate, relevant and welcome messages and finally see direct mail as the growth strategy it truly can be.