Direct Mail is Not Dead – By John Pirroni

by Colleen on August 20, 2014


tl;dr – Harness direct mail for campaign synergy that targets your existing database of student inquiries to convert leads into enrollments.

The Direct Mail Association (DMA) released its 2014 Statistical Report that indicated many sectors of direct mail are working. Some marketers may argue that paper is dead. But before you form a conclusion, I encourage you to take 39 seconds and view a funny YouTube commercial from a French brand, Le Trefle, appropriately titled “Paper Is Not Dead.”feedfront-27-cover-small

All jokes aside, the bottom line is technology cannot entirely replace the role of real paper or direct mail. Integrating digital marketing tactics such as: online media, landing pages, QR codes, personalized URLs, and coordinated email blasts is a necessary practice with direct mail.

The DMA report found direct mail volume rose to 87 billion in 2013 and a reported 44.9 billion in US dollars was spent in 2013—which was an increase from previous years.

These key findings prove direct mail remains the unique vehicle that places your message literally in the hands of your prospects with an indelible impression that lingers around the home much longer than lightning speed of massive emails (which readers delete most of the day).

There is still value in many sectors of direct mail and additional key factors of recent industry reports are below.

Responsive Age Groups:

The report indicates responses for recipients age 18-24 decreased while ages 25-27 increased. This statistic may be misleading, as the younger group had the option to respond through the business reply slip and/or the web landing page.

It would appear that younger respondents are accustomed to getting their information through the web and smartphones while the older age group is more apt to respond through traditional media. In either case, the precipitating event for the response was direct mail, so I would not interpret this statistic to decrease mailing to younger people.

The implication of this statistic is to emphasize response through traditional media for older groups while using web-based methods for younger groups.

Social Media Usage:

According to the Noel-Levitz 2014 E-Recruiting Practices Report, more than 71% of two-year and four-year colleges now use social media for recruitment. The study also found direct mail and view books were used by 100% of the institutions surveyed, 90% of the colleges stated that they were very effective in recruitment.

Before implementing direct mail with digital recruitment efforts, institutions must understand which online platform prospective students are using most often. The Noel-Levitz 2014 E-Expectations Report found that high school seniors use social media in the following order: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+, Vine and Pinterest.

In summary, the key to the continuing growth of direct mail is its integration with emerging technologies, not its elimination. The role of paper is not dead and neither is direct mail.

For further information on what is working in direct mail, I encourage you to get the 2014 DMA Statistical Fact Book available at the DMA website.

John Pirroni is the President of Target Direct Marketing, LLC, specializing in generating EDU inquiries and enrollments for over 20 years.

This article appeared in issue 27 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2014.

Comments on this entry are closed.