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Why modern marketers shouldn't ignore traditional marketing channels – and how to make the most of direct mail

Sappi | Graphic Papers
When marketers forget direct mail, they risk forfeiting impressive returns

The latest studies reveal that traditional marketing methods such as direct mail are being overlooked by marketers despite offering impressive returns – not least with younger, digital-first consumers. 

A recent study by Warc and Royal Mail MarketReach* shows that generation Z responds remarkably well to direct mail – with 42% of 15-24-year-olds actively searching for a brand online after receiving a piece of DM, and 84% scanning a printed QR code (leading to an online interaction with the brand). Meanwhile, mail ads prompt 20% of the gen Z demographic to make a purchase. 

“There is a perception that gen Z don’t respond to mail, which means they don’t get sent any – creating a huge opportunity for engagement with that demographic.” 


No surprise then that youth-orientated brands such as fashion retailers Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing, alongside fast-growing online-only banks, are leading the way in ignoring any supposed frictions with digital marketing vs traditional marketing – to make the most of DM in their marketing strategies.  

Meanwhile research by global marketing and business communications provider RR Donnelley & Sons Company ** (RRD) reveals similar insights for both millennials and gen Z. The report highlights "the largely untapped power of traditional marketing channels" – not least direct mail. While only 36% of baby boomers say they are excited to receive direct mail, the receptiveness of younger generations is marked. Just over half of gen X consumers are excited to receive direct mail, with that percentage rising to 57% for millennials and 65% for gen Z.

“Based on our survey results, marketers may need to revisit their strategies and assumptions about what customers are looking for – and adjust accordingly in order to meet their expectations.” 


A recent Deutsche Post and Collaborative Marketing Club *** study shows that print mail combined with email advertising significantly increases marketing effectiveness. Using data from online stores, the results showed a conversion rate of 15% for stores that send consumers email advertising to coincide with the receipt of direct mail – compared to an average conversion rate of 6.8% across all stores. Meaning that dovetailing traditional marketing and digital marketing can be more than twice as effective – and that 2022 is no time to ignore the value and benefits of either.

But just because these studies point to the surprising effectiveness of traditional marketing, this is not all about digital marketing vs traditional marketing. That's because when a traditional marketing channel such as direct mail is used in collaboration with digital the results can be formidable.


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