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Direct Mail Still Works

Wayne South

Social media, e-mail and online marketing are exciting and valuable tactics, but it’s important to keep in mind that these marketing strategies do not replace direct mail. Used in tandem with multi-channel marketing strategies, direct mail is still extremely powerful.

The fact of the matter is direct mail isn’t going away. It is being used increasingly in both the travel and non-travel industries as a way to amplify online marketing messages.

Top 5 reasons travel brands should consider direct mail:

  1. It’s Personal: One-to-one messages increase customer engagement through the use of cutting-edge tactics such as personalized marketing, variable data and augmented reality. People are more likely to respond if addressed by name (personalized marketing) raising response rate, interest and ROI.
  2. It’s Tangible: There’s something to be said for appealing to the senses. Direct mail delivers a tactile sensation that online activity can’t. The physical nature forces the recipient to take note encouraging them to spend more time with the marketing piece.
  3. It’s Measurable: While metrics are improving for online/email efforts, direct mail still rates highest on testing, measurement and overall analytics.
  4. It Generates a Response: Direct mail yields one of the highest response rates in terms of marketing communications. According to a study by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail produces a 4.4% response rate compared to other methods such as email (0.12%), paid search (.22%) and display ads (.04%).
  5. It’s Targeted: Direct mail allows for targeting the most likely to respond to your message through leveraging customer information outside of buying habits alone (demographic, household characteristics and personal information).

While stories of viral marketing are fascinating and entertaining, most don’t offer the tangible results that destinations, hotels, and hospitality organizations crave. Online and email marketing are impactful alone but when paired with the intrusive nature of direct mail, they can be amplified even further. When done properly, direct mail will stand out in a crowded mailbox, incite customers to act and won’t get caught in a spam folder. Leveraging technology-based tactics that drive customers back to interactive, online marketing efforts (augmented reality) is a fresher, tech savvy approach to direct mail, best of all it is always measurable.

The images below reflect MMGY’s “Sammie Springfield” direct mail campaign with the Springfield, Missouri CVB. From this effort, the client booked 20 new meetings and conventions and brought over 46,000 visitors to Springfield. The conservative spending estimate on these visitors was over $17 million.


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