May 18, 2016

Seth Colton

4 hr read

Scrolling through most direct marketing magazines and websites, the majority of what you’ll find bounces between social media, mobile platforms, content marketing, Adwords, and other methods deemed much cooler and more cutting edge than direct mail. Since we’re all addicted to our smart phones and tethered to our computers most of the day, focusing on digital seems to make the most sense -- on the surface.

But despite our obsessions with the amazing technological advancements at our fingertips, nothing is more effective than direct mail. The connection between viewing an ad, remembering the information, and making a purchasing decision has proven time and time again to be most definitive when using direct mail and print media tactics. Here are 5 reasons why print is still king.

Rise Above the Clutter

Think about your email inbox.  Emails fly in and out all day and night regarding urgent work matters and social updates, sale notifications and store newsletters, order receipts and event invitations. How in the world do you decide what to tackle first, second -- and what gets left behind?

Now think about your mailbox. Bundles of shopping advertisements, bills, the occasional letter or postcard, and maybe a PennySaver newspaper. Not too much action compared to the 122 average number of emails sent and received per day in 2015. A well designed piece of direct mail gets noticed and at the very least is briefly viewed and handled before being set down. It’s very difficult to completely ignore a physical piece of mail.

Make a Lasting Impression

When it comes to getting noticed, the more senses you can invigorate, the better. Printed materials engage touch, smell, sound, and sight – all of our senses except taste (although I’m sure this has been attempted). On the other hand, digital is confined to a flat screen that can only be viewed and heard. Because print hits most of our senses, it creates a longer lasting impact and makes a deeper impression.

In a study conducted by Temple University’s Fox School of Business Center for Neural Decision Making, researchers found that participants who viewed and handled print media not only remembered the ads better than their digital counterparts but also had a deeper emotional response. And any fundraiser or marketer worth their salt knows that the making an emotional connection is key to springing a donor into action.

Increase Donations and Contributions

While remembering a message is of course important, the real goal of marketers and fundraisers is to get people to open their wallets and checkbooks. Researchers in the same Temple University study concluded that while participants verbally stated that they had the same willingness to pay for an item whether they viewed it digitally or in print, their brain activity showed that there was a greater subconscious desire for the products or services advertised in physical formats. In other words, those who viewed print media were more likely to make a purchase than those who viewed digital media alone.

Expanded Creativity

Simply put, there are infinite things you can do with printed and physical materials. The range of sizes and shapes and types of paper and design can go way beyond your standard #10 envelope, typical postcard, and community flyer. You can mail someone pretty much anything! Plus, in such a heavy digital age that we’re living in, many of us enjoy receiving something interesting in the mail.

Connect with Millennials

When we think of Millennials, we think of selfies and SnapChat and throngs of young adults with their heads bent over tiny screens 24/7.  While parts of this may be true, the real story is that Millennials are the least trusting of digital advertisements and information shared over the internet than any other generation. In fact, 80% of Millennials prefer to receive information via print. However, they do hold an expectation that they will find further, more detailed information online.  They expect to be able to easily and immediately explore a candidate’s Twitter feed for more personalized information or go to a non-profit’s website to make a donation online. .

Looking for more information?

For more information or assistance with your direct mail strategy, contact us at political@thelukenscompany.com.