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With the first known example of direct mail dating back to 1000 B.C where, on a piece of papyrus, an Egyptian landowner advertised that he was offering a gold reward for the return of one of his slaves, direct mail has since become a key component in the marketing strategies of brands all over the world. More recently, however, alongside the last decade’s increasing transition to online, COVID-19 brought with it new fears surrounding the resilience of this historic form of advertising.
However, while initial concern was raised regarding many physical businesses’ migration to the digital sphere and what this would mean for print solutions, direct mail’s ability to target audiences isolating at home made demand for this type of marketing soar. As such, in an age where the internet is decreasing our attention spans and digital advertising is becoming congested, direct mail has continued to provide a very basic solution to an ever changing market.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, advertisers were left with a number of challenges on their hands – from how to sell products in an unstable economic climate, to where to place their adverts as the whole world’s attention turned online. Where this type of marketing really shone was after the realisation that direct mail was just that – a direct way to speak to people in the place they were now spending most of their time; their homes.
Overnight, restaurants, cafes and other food and drinks outlets became takeaways, no longer being able to rely on good old fashioned word of mouth to help get customers through the doors. Instead, they turned to printing companies offering direct mail services to help them target customers in their local area with brand awareness campaigns and various discounts and offerings posted through their letterboxes.
So apparent was the view that this was the most profitable strategy that even the UK government spent £5.8 million on a direct mail campaign, encouraging 30 million households across the UK to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the decision by the HMRC to apply standard rate VAT to all charity advertising on Facebook, meant that charities began to turn to direct mailing solutions in a bid to reach out to their supporters and continue the fundraising efforts they were no longer able to do through event marketing or which was costing them more on social media.
The global pandemic won’t last forever (there, we said it), and with that the latest surge in demand for direct mail printing will eventually level out. However, this doesn’t mean it will stop; far from it.
Instead, brands will learn that if they want to drive a message home there are few better ways to do so than by taking a step back from social media and directing their communications directly to their audience’ homes.
With more and more people deciding to opt for a ‘digital detox’ and audiences beginning to become wary about their security and privacy and what this means for data gathering online, the campaigns that are more likely to stand out and get noticed are the ones the consumer can physically see. Additionally, with research suggesting that direct mail lives in the home for an average of 8.5 days before being disposed of, there is an argument for this type of marketing having a greater impact on customers for longer compared to quick flashes of social media advertising.
Direct mail has stood the test of time and proved that it’s not a trend, nor is it disposable. This long-standing type of print advertising has a long-term impact on consumers and carries more weight and trust than other digital communication equivalents.
If you’re looking to incorporate direct mail into your business model or marketing strategy, get in touch with Statex today and one of our experts can help advise you on the right printing solution for your business.