Rather than viewing consumers as passive receivers of information, engagement marketing is a concept that looks at consumers as active members in the marketing process. Engagement marketing seeks to engage consumers and encourage them to participate in the building of a brand. Naturally, one might expect that digital mail is the best way to reach such an active audience. However, this isn’t the always the case.
Even in this digital age, studies show that direct mail not only has a greater impact on marketing statistics, but consumers actually prefer hard-copy mail.
Frequency of Engagement
Digital marketing is everywhere. We’re inundated with spam messages in our email inboxes and constantly see advertisements on our favorite websites. However, even though these digital marketing platforms are constantly surrounding our digital lives, recent studies show that nearly 80% of respondent’s engage with direct mail. Conversely, only 55% say the same about their email messages.
These numbers increase among millennials, and it’s easy to see why. Most of our daily lives are centered on technology and the LCD screens that display the information. The experience of receiving an actual piece of tangible mail is highly valued and gives us a much-needed break from our screens.
The high frequency of engagement with direct mail means that consumers are taking the time to read what’s in their mailbox and interact with the content. It’s not as easy as hitting the delete button when a message pops up on your screen.
In addition to the frequency of engagement with direct mail, we’re also seeing that consumers spend a greater duration of time engaging with direct mail. The amount of time a consumer spends with direct mail is somewhere between 1-5 minutes. Contrast this with less than a minute for digital communication.
A recent research report by Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends revealed the importance of the duration of engagement with direct mail.
“Beyond engagement frequency, the duration of engagement says a lot about the value and meaningfulness of a communication. Our research confirms that the overall engagement duration is longer for direct mail pieces than it is for e-mail marketing messages, even among Millennials . . . Defying assumptions about their nature as digital natives, Millennials spend more time engaging with print than they do with digital messaging—direct mail actually gets noticed in today’s digital age!”
“The Mail Moment”, as McCann CEO Harris Diamond puts it, is that flutter you get in your stomach when you open a piece of mail. According to Diamond, “It’s an important moment in people’s lives and one that presents great marketing opportunities.” This is especially true of millennials.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 95% of 18-29 year olds have a positive response receiving personal mail. Moreover, the United States Postal Service found that, on average, 50% of millennials consider scanning their mail time well spent.
There is a misconception among many marketers that to connect with millennials a digital program is needed. Jeff Hayes, managing director of InfoTrends, recently shared data regarding a survey on use of direct mail.
According to Hayes, “Our research indicates that millennials react more favorably to relevant and creative direct mail pieces than boomers or Gen Xers, particularly when it is part of a multi-channel campaign.”
This generation of consumer will wield an estimated $1.4 trillion in spending power over the next 3 years. Direct mail provides a marketing tool that offers consumers a break from technology and does so in a format that they enjoy engaging with. When it comes to engagement marketing, digital mail is still at the forefront for most successful businesses.