Ed #14 Getting Personal

But wait—surprise—direct mail is alive and well.

With the success and increasing use of electronic and online media, there have been rumors of the impending death of direct mail.

So it may surprise you to hear that direct mail is continuing to prove itself as a means for reaching customers and prospects, especially as part of an integrated multichannel strategy.

Direct mail users, including leading e-tailers, point out that not all customers respond the same way to communications and everyone has his or her preferred way to get information. They refer to growing evidence that direct mail is a very effective way to drive people to Web-based marketing.

One study: Websites supported by catalogs generate 163% more revenue than sites that aren’t.

In fact, Deliver magazine says direct mail catalogs are more relevant than ever, citing a Key Catalog/Multichannel Issues Survey conducted by Vovici EFM4 in which 96 percent of respondents agreed that a printed catalog generated online sales. More than 60 percent said catalogs influenced half or more of their online sales, and better than half saw a 20 to 50 percent increase in online sales immediately after a catalog drop.

Research commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)5 showed that consumers receiving direct mail and catalogs were more likely to buy online than those who received nothing through the mail, and those shoppers tended to buy and spend more—the study’s results indicated that websites supported by catalogs generated 163 percent more revenue than sites that weren’t.

Zappos.com, one of the world’s leading e-tailers, would concur. A few years ago this popular Web-based seller of shoes and accessories began publishing a glossy catalog, Zappos Life, and were pleasantly surprised to find that the average catalog order amount was double that of the typical online transaction.

Print catalogs are now a highly productive sales channel for leading e-tailer Zappos.

Since that time, Zappos has been steadily expanding the print catalog program with more drops each year and focusing on specific segments such as fashion, skate/surf, running and a number of other possibilities that include bridal, western and housewares.

A USPS study in the financial services industry6 further bolstered the view that there’s a tie between direct mail and Web-based success. When compared with consumers who received only online communications, those receiving both direct mail and online messaging made more than 70 percent more visits to the site; tended to view more pages and spend more time there; were 31 percent more likely to visit the site in the future and were 34 percent more inclined to recommend the site to friends and family.

4. David J. Mastervich, Deliver Magazine, Vol. 5, Issue 5 (10/09)
5. David J. Mastervich, Deliver Magazine, Vol. 5, Issue 5 (10/09)
6. U.S. Postal Service, “Why Financial Web Sites Should Invest in Mail,” 2007




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