As a marketing student, owner of a iPhone, Macbook and a desktop, I like to read all sorts of mails on one of these devices. It’s simple, fast and I can do it everywhere. Blindsided as I was I started doing research on this topic, expecting that traditional direct marketing (print marketing) was not working for people like me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When doing web-research I quickly discovered that it is quite the opposite. Actually, based on a study people between the age of 18 and 34 actually prefer receiving messages by print. Why is this? I asked myself.
First of all there is no question that Social Media and online resources are evolving. More and more people are joining the online world and companies are relying more and more on online marketing to do make their business succesful. However, just because consumers have increased their online activity it does not necessarily mean that younger generations are ignoring traditional ways of doing marketing. However, because of the digital age, direct marketing nowadays is some what different.
The long-standing definition of direct marketing can be tossed out the window. According to Warren Hunter, chairman of DMW Direct:
“Direct marketing hasn’t been about “direct mail” for decades. Now more than ever it cannot be defined in terms of any one medium, or as a channel, or in terms of any single technology. It’s not just about “going direct” to a consumer, either. Today’s direct mail is driven by interaction of response and engagement, blurring the lines between direct marketing and general advertising.”
Younger generations have grown up in a age where a physical letter creates special awareness. They act with surprise when another person has taken the trouble to personally send them a physical letter. A personalised, physical object is more meaningful and different.They can feel the texture of the letter, noting the different size and sheen and when seeing one’s own name on the front of a letter it gives a sense of ownership. Something email can’t do.
As Warren Hunter described: today’s marketing is about interaction and engagement. It is about personalization. Instead of being able to delete a email with simple one click, direct-mail marketing says: “I exist, and I exist for you!”
So when you ask me if companies should use online direct marketing, I would say absolutely. However, the smartest companies take advantage of direct-(offline)mail marketing to reach customers in a more meaningful and powerful way, and so should you!