Are you capitalising on promotional direct mail’s post pandemic effectiveness?

By Erwin Busselot, Director Business Innovation & Solutions, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

Ricoh Europe, London, July 29 2022 - At the start of the pandemic there is no doubt that demand for direct mail benefited from a captive audience. It quickly became a powerful communication channel to connect with recipients in their homes.

Two years on from the first lockdown, direct mail is still proving incredibly effective.

For Austrian Post’s first quarter of 2022 direct mail revenue increased by 6.3% to EUR 81.5m. For the Royal Mail advertising mail volumes were up 30% year on year according to its financial results for the twelve months to the end of March 2022. Deutsche Post also reported a strong first quarter in 2022 for mail with revenue at EUR 4.2 billion which was a little down compared to the exceptionally high previous year of EUR 4.6 billion.

While the world is opening back up, the opportunity to continue to engage effectively remains as employees shape their work life balance.

This is something Ricoh’s own research with multinational professional services business Ernst & Young Global Limited, known as EY, discovered. The 2022 Work Reimagined Survey found 80% of employees want to work at least two days remotely per week.

Direct mail performs impressively with this at home audience. In Q1 2022 it maintained British benchmarks established during the pandemic according to JICMAIL data, captured from a panel of one thousand households every month. This was despite a squeeze on household budgets, challenging trading conditions and a decline in marketing effectiveness as reported by the DMA (Direct Marketing Association).

In fact, 5% of mail (across direct mail, business mail, door drops and partially addressed mail) prompted consumers to look up their account details in Q1 2022, and 4% prompted a purchase.

Business mail continued to achieve the greatest results – 9% prompted account look ups versus 4% of direct mail to consumers and 6% resulted in a purchase. It also has the longest lifespan in the home of up to 9.1 days.

Print Power also recently shared German research that demonstrated the power of direct mail. It highlighted the value of single mail drops, and results achieved when printed mailings are part of a multichannel mix.

This effectiveness enables direct mail to support another trend accelerated by the pandemic that looks set to stay – an increase in online shopping.

The June 2022 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey of 25 territories by global professional services network PwC reported that more than 60% of respondents increased online shopping during the pandemic. It added roughly half will spend more online over the next six months.

This presents an exciting growth opportunity for mail that recipients are happy to receive, keep and respond to. Personalising the communication ensures greater engagement and prompts action.

There are a number of ways digital inkjet technology can help create the type of print that makes an impression:

  • Applying individualised data – accessing accurate information allows the message to be delivered to the correct address and right recipient in a timely way with relevant offers or deals connected to special dates.
  • Personalised tailored content – creating a carefully crafted message that responds to the recipient’s specific needs, hobbies, interests, and buying patterns encourages successful interaction.
  • Design and Digital Print Enhancement to increase attractiveness – designs that mix creative print results with tactile substrates catch the eye and engage the senses for a more memorable communication. One that encourages the piece of print to be kept and even shared.

These three can be delivered with a targeted print run that can be adapted to suit any budget. QR codes can be incorporated to aid measurability and connect readers immediately to online resources for a multichannel approach that builds brand interactivity, awareness and drives sales, while vouchers and offers can be carefully tailored for maximum impact.

The pandemic encouraged us all to adapt to new behaviours. Direct mail clearly benefitted from them. It began new conversations. These can be continued through the many ways responsive and imaginative print can engage interest and lead to action.



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