I recently attended the ADMA Forum09 and went to various seminars on every aspect of direct marketing. From these seminars and from talking to participants and exhibitors at the forum, I got the feeling that more and more clients are moving their DM campaigns online.
Afterwards I discussed this further with some of my clients in order to really understand the key differences between print and online DM campaigns. What are the pros and cons for both? In the ongoing war between traditional and new media, which side medium is best for DM?
If the success of a direct marketing campaign is measured by its response rate or the number of customers that are ‘called-to-action’, then the champion must be the channel that delivers the best ROI, right?
The obvious benefit of eDM is that it allows you to measure and monitor the ‘call-to-action’ response rate immediately after your campaign has been sent out. Additionally, you receive detailed information about the journey the customer went on; from the click through rate to any action that has been taken. Feedback that allows you to further improve the effectiveness of your eDM campaigns.
On the down side, the infrastructure and initial investments related to eDM are high (although it is said they are more
cost-effective in the long run). Additionally, the fact that consumers are being increasingly bombarded with
promotional e-mails might influence the success of your campaign. This could mean that by purely investing in an online campaign, your message is simply left to languish in the junk mail folder. So the eDM verdict: it’s great for
tracking your ROI, but doesn’t necessarily deliver a higher response rate.
A print DM piece has the great advantage in that it is tangible and that customers can feel it, keep it and even pass it on to their peers. According to an independent research, 71.7% of addressed promotional mail is read, kept or passed on. If you combine this with the fact that the majority of consumers like to receive information from businesses by mail, traditional DM still seems to be an important marketing channel.
The disadvantage of print DM is that sending out a campaign can be time consuming, the cost of sending is relatively high compared to eDM and the journey the customer makes cannot be monitored in as much detail. But the truth is, that as more and more businesses jump on the online bandwagon, that a creative, clever and print DM piece could stand out and capture your consumer’s attention. The verdict on print DM: not so great for tracking but a powerful alternative that has everlasting appeal.
So what does the future hold for traditional DM?
In its report ‘Direct Mail, Email, and Online Advertising 2008′, Open Mind Research Group shows that a large percentage (37%) of people prefer a combination of both mail and email. “Consumers believe email is good at supporting of clarifying mail, and they are more likely to respond if communicated to by both channels.”
It is obvious that both online and print campaigns have their own unique characteristics, so maybe print DM and eDM are not enemies after all, but work best as a joint force for the maximum impact!
Geoff Cooper, CEO of Affinity iD
Roy Morgan Single Source, March 2009
Reaching Consumers 2008, Open Mind Research Group