With today’s technology, from mobile SMS to email, most people are assuming that direct mail is dying (if not dead already). Electronic and digital forms of communication are making the old-fashioned mailing system look not only obsolete but also more expensive.
However, new findings from the DMA’s 2012 Response Rate Report are showing that people actually give more response to direct mail than they do to digital forms of marketing. In the graph below, you will see that despite the relatively low percentage of responses for direct mail, email is quite dismal by comparison:
Another thing you will notice from the graph however is that the response rate to the phone is actually higher than the rest of them! This could be good news for telemarketers but what’s truly interesting is that both telemarketing and direct mail have been popularly depicted as behind the times.
And make no mistake, they both possess flaws which justify this depiction. For telemarketing, you may have already heard enough about the typical objections of being pushy and disruptive. It’s why B2B telemarketers have to contend with gatekeepers who in turn indirectly delay your efforts to generate sales leads.
Direct mail, on the other hand, suffers similar though not as disruptive deficiencies.
- It can be slower in comparison to digital and electronic channels.
- The costs of printing an appealing and well-designed marketing letter significantly add to the costs.
- Responses are even harder to measure. There’s no magical way to know that your letter was opened.
- Like email, it can be just tossed in the trash but it’s slightly worse given the physical space it actually occupies (as well as additional environmental concerns).
- B2B software can be a complicated thing to market. You need to be careful not to overwhelm or underwhelm the prospect with excess or insufficient information respectively. It’s far more difficult considering the physical restrictions of a letter.
Still, despite that, the higher response rate of direct mail can actually make it a more powerful tool to integrate with telemarketing. Email marketing and telemarketing can also be used together to improve the rate of connecting with a B2B prospect. The mail is meant to either signal the arrival of a call or encourage a call from the prospects themselves. This minimizes the disruptive effect that people hate about telemarketing. Either way, you can actually think of direct mail as an upgraded version of using email. It may be slower and more expensive, but the response rate is higher.
And at this point, you might be wondering, “How is this possible?” This might surprise you but some of the guesses are based simply on common sense. Because of the mass use of SMS and email, messages have lost their personal touch. It can be argued, for example, that even a decision maker is more likely to look at a message when they can tell the effort it took to design and print it. This is something worth considering if you feel that email is not doing enough for your telemarketing services and would like to turn it up a notch.