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8 Reasons Direct Mail is Critical in B2B Marketing

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker, Industry Analyst, article from  July issue of PIA’s-MAG the magazine

Day in and day out, you are bombarded with false messaging that direct mail is dead. The reality is that direct mail remains critical.

Here are eight reasons why:

1. Direct mail doesn’t require opt-in. You don’t have to get recipients’ permission to send direct mail. Unlike email and text messaging, people don’t have to opt in. Even if a customer does not subscribe or unsubscribes from your email list, you can still reach them with direct mail (This is why you should always get physical addresses from those on your email lists!).

2. Direct mail doesn’t get caught in the spam filter. “Yes, it may be skimmed by a gate keeper,” notes Roger Buck, former director of marketing for The Flesh Company. “However, the odds are still much better— and it doesn’t contain a virus.”

3. Direct mail remains effective long after it hits the desk. Think of it like consumers taping things to their refrigerator. “We’ve had people tell us that they had one of our mailings sitting on their desks for months,” notes Andre Palko, president of Technifold USA. “Although they didn’t act immediately, we remained top of mind until they were ready to act. You don’t get that kind of staying power—or attention—with email.”

4. It is still effective even when the target recipient has moved on from the company. If you send an email to someone who’s no longer there, it bounces. If you send a postcard, the new person in that job sees it—and you’ve just introduced yourself as a vendor.

5. Direct mail doesn’t have the competition. Email is an effective tool, but we are overwhelmed by it. This is true of consumers but even more true of businesses. Larry Bradley, owner of Proforma Sunbelt Graphics, writes, “The overwhelming volume of email received at work is a huge hurdle for legitimate email marketers. It’s hard to separate the junk from the legitimate email. As a result, a huge percentage of email sent to businesses is never read.”

6. Certain offers just won’t get traction by email. There is a reason businesses are more likely to get lending offers in the mail. B2B decision makers trust direct mail more than email, especially for high-value products and services. Mailers can also include a wide variety of trust-building content not possible (or reasonable) to include in email. Yes, you can provide links, but with direct mail, you get that content in front of them in a tangible way right out of the gate.

7. Direct mail can reach high-level decision-makers that email can’t. There are only so many things you can do to make email look more important. Direct mail offers options like kits, dimensional mail, and unique packaging options that get past gatekeepers. “They are not only fun, but they get opened!” Palko says. While these mailings may have higher price tags, they can also get near 100% open rates. When you’re trying to reach the C-Suite, what’s that worth?

8. Direct mail drives social media and online marketing. Folks claim you don’t need direct mail because you have social media and mobile marketing. But how do those social media and mobile marketing relationships get captured in the first place? Very often, it’s print! Saying that you only need social and mobile but not print is akin to saying that when buying a house you only need the upper stories but not the foundation.