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The Evolution — And Future — Of Direct Mail Marketing

The Evolution — And Future — Of Direct Mail Marketing

The Evolution – And Future – of Direct Mail Marketing


Direct mail marketing has worked for many businesses for decades. With the advent of digital advertising, some folks may rethink their ad strategies altogether.

But what if there was a way to meld the two? That’s where direct mail marketing is heading. Actually, it’s already arrived.

Here’s why – and how.

An Envelope flying to the right

Wait, How Old is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct mail marketing is as old as mail itself – we are talking the Pony Express old. The moment people could send things through the mail, companies began soliciting prospective customers by mailing advertisements.

The obvious version of this in the 20th century was mail-order catalogs, which you can still find today (though maybe not as frequent as they used to be).

As the 20th century progressed, so too did targeting approaches. As a result, dozens of direct mail marketing companies launched in the 1980s. Many of these companies still exist today, but here’s the thing: Few have truly modernized their direct mail marketing approaches. Even fewer have acted on the internet’s immense promise of targeting messages to the most likely prospective customers.

At DK Solutions, our methods address this gap. To understand why you need to know how web marketing became so powerful in the first place.

The Rise of Web Marketing

The first wave of internet marketing started in the early 21st century. That’s when American households started bringing desktop computers and laptops into their homes. And with these computers and the then-novelty of internet access, people did what they do best: talk about themselves.

Just as with today’s internet, the early World Wide Web was home to many people sharing their interests. The internet quickly became supersaturated with data on whether people were married, parents, or even pet owners.

This information gave marketers a way to access customer behavioral and demographic data. It was the kind of thing you couldn’t then gauge through direct mail (though we’re changing that).

These technological developments explain why many businesses ditched direct mail for web marketing. This shift led to a drop in direct mail ads in favor of the data that targeting digital ads offered. Many direct mail companies didn’t seize the moment and are struggling to keep up with the volume and popularity of digital ads. 

However, the downside to digital ads is the absolute saturation of advertising reaching people’s inboxes and eyeballs.

People began to tune out as early as a decade ago, and they’re still tuned out today. The sheer proliferation of ads in their inboxes and news feeds makes it harder to acquire new customers, even though the cost per click may be appallingly low. 

Relevant: Welcome to DK Solutions: Targeted Leads, Done Better

Why Didn’t Direct Mail Marketing Keep Up With the Times?

Although mailboxes don’t have Promotions tabs or spam filters, direct mail marketers initially couldn’t compete with the promise of web marketing. And more importantly, they weren’t willing to either, even though they could’ve used digital data to power their direct mail campaigns. We would know – it’s what we do.

In fact, when DK Solutions began utilizing this strategy, our first clients were shocked that digital data could inform direct mail campaigns. That’s how unwilling the direct marketing industry was  – and still is – to incorporate the internet’s potential.

That’s changing, but for years, the lack of incorporation of digital data collection techniques left an opportunity on the table for businesses that have used direct mail to their advantage in decades past.

Surprisingly, the key to this evolution, is who is looking at direct mail.

This marketing method is often associated with older adults, partially due to the products and services typically marketed via direct mail. It’s also due to the false notion that younger people don’t check the mail. In recent years, that’s changed as millennials have increasingly stopped renting in cities and started buying suburban homes.

Suburban millennials might be the key to the return of direct mail marketing. These millennials are checking their mailboxes since, as they move, they need to check for mail from their municipalities. They’re likely getting tons of Amazon packages, too. Plus, you can work the infrequent nature of mail to your advantage – folks are excited to see something in their mailboxes! 

This discovery means an entirely new demographic is checking the mail every day. It creates an opportunity all sorts of industry sectors can take advantage of, especially with the power of data collection and data modeling behind a campaign.

Relevant: Advertising Through the Millennial Lens

Magnifying Glass looking over data points

How is Direct Mail Relevant Today – and Who’s Doing It?

As this shift to millennial homeownership occurs, marketing companies launched in the 21st century often lack the proper knowledge to reach this new group. These companies likely focused exclusively on web marketing while disregarding the benefits of direct mail marketing.

There’s way more to it than procuring a list and printing up some flyers. You have to strategically develop who is receiving these mailers by grouping your mailers to stagger lead generation while keeping postal costs down. 

It’s a lot to try to pull off with no prior experience. At DK Solutions, we have the experience – and we’re also direct mail and data experts.

We’re revolutionizing direct mail marketing.

Relevant: Dissecting the Relevancy of Online & Direct Mail Marketing

How DK Solutions Pushes Direct Mail Marketing to the Future

DK Solutions Logo

Direct mail marketing is relevant for all generations.

As ever, it’s a great fit to advertise senior needs. But now, with more millennials going suburban and web marketing suffering from oversaturation, direct mail marketing has a larger audience. And that’s not its only benefit.

When you send a marketing email, you won’t always know if there’s someone on the other end. People stop using old email addresses all the time, and other addresses may be junk addresses.

Direct mail marketing ties consumers to their home addresses, so you always know you’re reaching someone. Of course, it is still tempting to mail ads to every home – unless you choose DK Solutions.

At DK Solutions, we use successful data modeling techniques used in digital advertising campaigns to only target the customers most likely to buy what you sell. As a result, our services close more sales, and they do so at a fraction of the cost.

At DK Solutions, you will pay per lead or per mailer while getting an effective, smaller list. Learn more about how we do things differently, then give us a call afterward.

You’ll get the leads you need – and actually reach them.

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