Is Direct Mail Advertising a thing of the past?

In this day and age where everything moves at the speed of light and businesses are grasping for ways to market and advertise their business; there are a few select franchises that specialize in advertising and marketing. Many times I hear people say that “direct mail is a thing of the past”, but I disagree and the Direct Marketing Association prints a report every year with statistical data contrary to this belief. This data along with my experiences as a small business owner; advertising/marketing director; and consumer have convinced me that direct mail is not going away any time soon.

A surprising study from February 2015 looks at the statistics behind the effects of direct mail versus digital media.

The following 5 findings are significant:

1. Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media. 
It requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits a much higher brand recall.
2. Direct mail is far more persuasive than digital media. 
Its motivation response is 20% high even more so if it appeals to more senses beyond touch.
3. Direct mail is visually processed quicker than digital media. 
When considered in concert with its higher motivation and lower cognitive load, this suggests it gets the message across faster.
4. Direct mail is more likely to drive behavior than digital media.  
Surpassing the important motivation-to-cognitive load ratio threshold of 1
5. Direct mail outperforms digital media across all age groups.*
* Source: Canada Post / True Impact Marketing, Understanding the Impact of Physical Communications through Neuroscience, February 2015

Direct Mail should be included in Local Marketing Plans

In other words – direct mail should be included in local marketing plans because it’s easier to remember, it’s more persuasive, it gets the message across faster, it is more likely to drive behavior, and most surprisingly it outperforms digital media in all age groups!

Advertising/Marketing Franchises

There are a few excellent advertising/marketing franchises that offer a variety of avenues for marketing and advertising of which direct mail is only a small part. Perhaps it is the most visible aspect of the business, the additional SEO, Website design, social media presence, and graphic design offerings, often are overlooked. The small business is presented with the opportunity for one-stop advertising and marketing in an entire package. Most businesses in this day and age need to use many tools to promote their business – this is where the direct mail and advertising franchise has a clear advantage. The convenience for a busy small business owner to work with one company for all their advertising/marketing needs is essential.

A few years ago, I took a job at the local newspaper selling and designing advertising for local businesses. Working with business owners, knowing I was helping them increase their business through advertising was very rewarding. Business owners are typically not specialists in the areas of advertising and marketing and really appreciate the assistance, advice, and convenience of working with a professional.

In the age of the Internet there are so many options for advertising and marketing a business, the message often gets lost among an overwhelming number of ads. Many businesses in the past decade stopped sending catalogs to their customers, however, recently, they are bringing them back because studies have shown that customers respond to the written page (see New York Times). In my own experience, I generally buy from a few select businesses. All have a presence online, a retail store, and sell through catalogs. The catalogs keep the business top of mind, while emails are easily deleted, I tend to sit down and leaf through the catalog while watching TV and if something catches my eye, it’s easy to cut out the page and place it on my desk as a reminder to order the item. The printed page keeps the business “Top of mind”.

Direct mail is not going away, the DMA has the statistics to prove it. Businesses need to promote themselves in many different venues and direct mail is a great way to keep a business top of mind. Brochures, cards, envelopes, flyers, catalogs, are used to advertise and market businesses. Direct mail is a great way to reach potential customers and keep the business out in the open.

Years ago I owned a retail store. The store was located in a small town and I was looking for ways to get the word out that we were open. At that time, there was “the bag” where a business could place flyers promoting their business. Every time I placed a flyer in “the bag” my business increased exponentially. The advertising was expensive but worth the cost because of the increased sales. Today, my business would look much different as I would be able to contact customers through a website, twitter, Facebook, email, and much more. However, direct mail would still be used as a marketing tool because of the power of reaching specific demographics and locations.

Demand is high for this type of business; the franchises are growing every year in number of franchisees, locations, and sales. If you enjoy sales in a consultative role, working with small to medium sized businesses and helping them grow, and want the flexibility that comes from owning your own business, this is an excellent time to consider an advertising/marketing business. You can work from home while building your business to keep your overhead low. You will have the backing of a well-known brand name along with training and systems to assist you in your endeavors. Your consultative role will be rewarding as you help other businesses grow. You will have the opportunity to build a business with potential to expand and grow. Direct mail is not going away – why not turn it in to the business of your dreams?