Despite perceptions to the contrary, direct mail is alive and well and converting unsolicited offers into sales for those who continue to use it—effectively…
Direct Mail Is Growing
According to forecasts from the Winterberry Group, a New York-based strategic consulting firm, the direct mail industry is still growing and expected to reach the $47 billion mark in 2016. Winterberry credits the presidential election year for some of this growth, but recent studies also find that consumers are more likely to recall printed messages than they are digitally delivered material. Even if the actual purchase is made electronically, the printed piece appears to be better at fulfilling its lead generation role, by prompting the buyer’s journey toward a sale.
The science behind the message recall results has to do with what behavioral finance and psychology experts refer to as the “Endowment Effect.” That well-studied and documented effect is triggered by a sense of ownership. Experiments over the decades have shown this sensation can be triggered just by picking something up. Then, once an object starts to feel as if it is “owned,” it is intuitively endowed with a higher value. In finance, the Endowment Effect is used to explain why, once an investor buys a stock, it is so hard to sell it later, regardless of market conditions.
The Endowment Effect is also why many smart retailers encourage shoppers to touch their merchandise, even take it home to try out. Once handled, the object starts to feel like a belonging, making it harder to resist purchasing it or returning.
What Works with Mattresses Works with Direct Mail
Direct mail pieces appear to benefit from this same intuitive response to sensory engagement. Unlike an online banner ad, where only sight is engaged, direct mail recipients interact through touch, smell and even the sound of flipping pages. This is also referred to as multi-sensory marketing.
If the piece is interesting enough—not just in content, but eye-catching enough to warrant opening, and then pleasant to the touch—it increases the likelihood the recipient will read it. And if that message is relevant, it can start the recipient toward a purchase decision—the goal of direct marketing.
The Role of Special Effects Screen Printing
To better ensure mailed pieces engage targeted consumers’ senses sufficiently to capitalize on the Endowment Effect, smart marketers are now incorporating the use of special effects screen printing—from sandpaper textures to scented inks—into their printed material to improve engagement.
To create a clearer path from initial contact to sale conversion for the members of your target market, talk to us. We can help you make your direct marketing campaign into a more engaging experience.