Direct mail has an important role to play in a changing marketing landscape, our recent report finds. In a series of focus groups and online surveys, marketers identified direct mail’s particular value as its ability to stand out from the many advertisements people see and hear daily.

However, our study also noted the obstacles to a greater use of direct mail. Many marketers said they have bypassed mail in a marketing campaign because mail preparation and entry are seen as lengthy and inflexible. Other reasons for overlooking mail is lack of awareness about its effectiveness and marketers’ inability to access information about its value, including case studies.

We recommended the U.S. Postal Service continue highlighting mail’s effectiveness, add to its industry outreach effort, and improve operations to reduce obstacles. We also encouraged management to implement a strategy to expand partnerships throughout the marketing industry.

For marketers, now might be the ideal time to revisit direct mail given consumers’ frustration with other types of advertising. A recent survey indicated that 80 percent of people surveyed said they dislike the video ads that pop up before you can watch a video on your phone or computer. Known as pre-roll ads, they are nearly as annoying to consumers as mobile pop-up ads, which 81 percent of people surveyed dislike, according to the annual Internet Trends report released by Internet trend expert Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins.

Of course all types of advertising have their drawbacks, the Internet Trends survey suggested. What people seem to like is the ability to control their web viewing experiences – they want to be able to skip pre-roll ads or avoid the mobile pop-ups, the report noted. People don’t want to be interrupted by ads when talking, texting, or entertaining themselves on their mobile devices, a Business Insider article on the Internet Trends report noted. Perhaps this bodes well for less-intrusive types of advertising, like direct mail.

How do you think direct mail best fits into marketing strategies? What other ways could obstacles to direct mail be reduced? Do you sit through pre-roll ads before watching a video? Is the ability to control the ads you want to see important? 

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  • anon

    I am forced to use a cluster box for mail delivery and it is miles distance from my home. I have already stopped all banking and utility bills. Everything possible, including auto registration and property tax is paid on-line. Almost all of the remaining mail is direct marketing. All of this mail is quickly scanned unopened and tossed in the refuse basket that is thoughtfully placed nearby by the nearby convenient store. Mailers of direct advertising try to cleverly disguise it as though it is important ( i.e., Final Notice, Second Chance, You're a finalist, etc.) but that just doesn't work any longer to a savvy patron. Direct mail advertising is an artifact of the past and should just be allowed to die a natural death. Put all of your efforts and resources into providing top notch package delivery. And please, get rid of those terrible cluster boxes.

    Aug 06, 2017

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