(by Debbie Burgess – ProPrint)
A flurry of research continues to support the value of the printed communication piece.
Australia Post commissioned a report titled, “Creating connections that matter: How Australians want to hear from brands”. The report was endorsed by ADMA (the direct marketing association), whose CEO Jodie Sangster describes it as providing ‘a significant step forward in assisting Australian marketers to deliver customer-centric marketing and creating connections that matter’.
One of the primary take aways from the report was that direct mail, the traditional communication channel now fully customisable with personalisation, featured as a top three preferred channel for communication, as ranked by consumers for each major category of client engagement: switching customers; existing customers and new customers.
A direct mail piece that engages through being thoughtful, articulate, targeted and thereby customer-centric will deliver results. More people will open a mailed piece than an emailed piece. More than 75 per cent of emails are never viewed, compared to less than 20 per cent of personalised mail which is never opened, or to put it another way, compared to the more than 80 per cent of personalised mail which is opened.
In a sea of visual digital overload, where advertising and marketing filters through almost every aspect of life, it can be argued that everything equals nothing in terms of cut through.
One of the myths busted by the Australia Post report is that younger demographics enjoy receiving personalised mail above all other channels. The report makes kit plain that this is simply not the case. Yet marketers are increasingly turning their back on a proven channel, despite consumer sentiment.
According to Nielsen, a total of $9.3bn was spent in fiscal year 2013 on advertising in Australia.
However, there is confusion over which channels are actually the most effective, with many marketers seemingly embracing a new way of communicating which is in reality not delivering results or resonating with their clients.
A Forrester report from the US cites major agency Ogilvy as claiming that only 2 per cent of Facebook posts reach their intended audience. Engagement fares even worse with only .073 per cent of Facebook fans interacting with major brand sites along with Twitter at 0.035 per cent. Billions of dollars are being spent globally on social network advertising, which is not hitting the intended target.
So what is the winning combination? Research supports a content rich company microsite integrated with clever, well-designed and beautifully printed personalised communication pieces, this is a clear winner in delivering effectiveness, reach, authenticity and value. Mixed with the speed to market of digital or online campaigns, the concept of the slow burn or gradual reveal that can play out in a savvy direct marketing campaign could be the novel approach in an over-populated market, and achieve an improved ROI.
For access to the free Australia Post report visit: http://www.pages.auspost-email.com.au/connectionsthatmatter
For access to the Forrester report visit: http://marketingland.com/forrester-says-marketers-wasting-resources-facebook-twitter-108376.