- While overall response continues to increase, there was a slight (2%) decrease in overall mail delivered according to the USPS. This is most likely due to better targeting and larger budgets directed to online efforts.
- People read postcards in greater numbers with a 3.9% year-over-year increase (USPS Household Diary Study.)
A Marketing Sherpa report found that the top reasons that people ignore direct mail is simply too much of it, and lack of time.
With this in mind…
- Test new ways to stand out in the mail
- Innovative marketers are testing sensory devices by integrating smell, touch, taste, sound and even video into their mailers.
- “Embodied cognition” — the more senses we appeal to the stronger the message is encoded; thus, increased response rates.
A clear pattern is emerging: customers do not want to be bogged down with detail
- They are seeking convenient solutions that will enhance their life.
- This has led to a surge in subscription-based campaigns who effectively use both online and offline methods to create an incredibly easy decision path
The improvements we’ve seen in response and read rates mean…
- Brands have discovered the power of using online browsing behavior to prompt personalized mail using variable printing.
Don’t buy into the misconception that print only works for an older market.
- According to the research, all age groups are interested in receiving and responding to mail.
- For ages 18-21, response rates doubled in 2016! (USPS Household Diary Study)
- Direct marketers face interesting challenges in communicating with unique age segments requiring specific content that meets their generational need
- Catalogs had a stellar year, standing out both for engagement and their ability to drive sales.
- 30% of people polled reported that a catalog recently drove them online to shop (Quad Graphics Customer Focus), with millennials and Gen-Xers reporting in at 38%, which was likely a factor for the:
- 75% of marketers reported that they plan to prospect using a catalog in the coming 12-months,
- 85% of marketers plan to maintain or increase circulation,
- 88% of marketers plan to maintain or increase page counts (Multichannel Merchant).
On the engagement front…
- People found catalogs the most interesting type of standard mail – even surpassing newspapers and magazines by 31%! (USPS Household Diary Study).
- There has been a 23% increase in overall response(USPS Household Diary Study), despite the 4.5% decrease in catalogs mailed (DMA).
So, fewer catalogs mailed and an increase in response?
- This is due to better targeting, less prospecting and a tendency towards a combination of both branding and selling within the pages of a catalog.
The negative: competition from companies like Amazon
- It is imperative to create exclusive products that can only be found in your merchandise assortment.
The positive: mailers will soon be able to mail more for less
- The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved an increase in the break point for Standard Mail flats from 3.3 ounces to 4.0 ounces as urged by the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA).
It’s clear that marketers are quickly learning where catalogs fit in the omnichannel puzzle: it’s a standout engagement tool, a brand-enhancer and a mighty push online. As we continue to bring customer intelligence in the mix, catalogs are only going to get more relevant.