Targeted, Tighter and More Personal: 2014 Trends in Direct Mail Marketing

canstockphoto5746597Mark Twain once said, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”  The same could be said about direct mail marketing.  The truth is that direct mail is alive and well, but it’s changing, as direct mail marketers hone their skills and dive deeper into their customer base to produce mailings which are more engaging, more personal, and more targeted at specific subgroups.

Here are 4 2014 trends which are shaping the future of direct mail marketing:

  1. Follow the money:  to be successful, direct mail needs to find consumers with the financial means to buy.  According to the most recently-available Census data, that means targeting households of those aged 45 to 54 years, whose median household incomes are in excess of $65,000, this compared to $30,000 for those 15-24 and about $50,000 for those 25-34 years old.  Increasingly, direct mail will be targeted to consumers with more disposable income and create mailings which better address their concerns and habits.  Older consumers are, for example, not as fully committed to online shopping and digital communications and not averse to crediting advertising which arrives in their physical mailboxes.
  2. Customer retention vs. customer acquisition:  to be successful, direct mail marketing requires a steady stream of customers, some new, some current.  Direct marketers, understanding that current customers are their best resource, will continue efforts to acquire new customers, but will also spend more time and money developing strategies to retain their current customers. 2014 will see an increased emphasis on incentives, some of them financial (such as points, coupons and discounts) to drive subsequent sales from current cusomters, and other strategies to improve current customer service and satisfaction.
  3. Direct mail and online integration:  increasingly, direct mail will drive consumers to the web, or at least provide the option to continue the sales conversation there.  Post cards, letters, magazines and catalogs will include more online pushes with embedded URLs and QR codes targeted to custom landing pages which dovetail with the direct mail message.
  4. More sophisticated market segmentation:  the amount of direct mail received daily by consumers is a testament to its continued efficacy, but it’s also a challenge for direct mail marketers who will find new ways to make their mailings stand out.  To grab recipients’ attention, mailings will take advantage of more finely segmented mailing lists and mailings customized to specific buying histories and demographics.  Increasingly, variable printing and more finely-tuned mail merge letters will achieve a  new degree of sophistication to engage consumers and drive sales.  Mailing lists will also be more tightly configured to justify increased mailing costs.

Direct mail remains an effective and cost-effective marketing channel for acquiring new and retaining current customers.  That said, direct mail campaigns which target those consumers most likely to buy and send those prospective buyers more highly-personalized mailings will be more successful than those which don’t.

To learn more about the ways in which a targeted direct mail campaign can help you achieve your sales goals, contact us today.

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