Study: Marketers Increasing Investment in Direct Mail – Advertising Specialty Institute

Metaverse marketing hasn’t taken over quite yet.

A central finding of a new study shows that marketers are upping investment in direct mail marketing and corporate gifting as target audiences become increasingly desensitized to an onslaught of digital approaches.

Direct Mail marketing

It’s an encouraging finding for promotional products distributors, suggesting more opportunity to orchestrate direct mail/gifting campaigns for clients – something many industry firms have already increased doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Hybrid Experiences Bring Direct Mail Into the Digital Age” study revealed that 54% of marketing leaders increased their direct mail spend in 2022. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) plan to spend even more next year on direct mail – a 27% year-over-year rise, the study notes.

Notably, it appears the investment is paying off. Nearly 80% of B2B marketers experienced performance boosts from analog touchpoints like direct mail and gifting across the customer journey in the last 12 months, the study showed.

“Direct mail is a tactic that enables marketers to engage their core audiences across the entire buyer journey – from initial top-of-funnel awareness to ongoing customer success,” said PFL (asi/79558), the Livingston, MT-based printing/fulfillment company that commissioned the study, in a statement. “This includes from early product or service discovery (72%) to the point of conversion (63%), and through customer engagement and enrichment (54%) to foster deeper brand relationships and encourage customer advocacy.”

The study’s findings suggest that promo distributors may have an opportunity to enhance the efficacy of – and dollars invested in – direct mail campaigns if they educate clients about how such initiatives can include personalization to end-recipients. Only 17% of marketers personalize direct mail campaigns, the study showed.

Meanwhile, at least 40% of marketers are either unaware it’s possible, believe it would be prohibitively expensive, or would struggle to align direct mail to other personalization initiatives. A consultative distributor sales pro could help make the connections.

The findings on direct mail come as the survey also showed that 76% of marketers agree that engagement with digital marketing is dropping, as a majority of marketers have come to rely on digital tactics more during the pandemic. Of course, the survey isn’t suggesting that digital engagement strategies are going to decline in relevance for marketers. But what it is saying is that overall marketing efficacy can be enhanced when combining complementary digital and analog (direct mail, gifting) tactics.

“Our research shows that the market is beginning to understand the true value of hybrid analog-digital experiences that can bridge the gap between modern digital marketing capabilities and audiences who demand more human-centric experiences,” said PFL CEO Nick Runyon.

Forrester Consulting conducted the study on the commission of PFL. About 160 marketing leaders in North America participated in the research.

PFL offers custom printing, direct mail services, and fulfillment-related solutions like inventory management, blind shipping, kitting, bundling, product distribution and more.

The company’s offerings include a reseller program in which printing professionals, marketing agencies and designers can take advantage of mailing, fulfillment and software solutions.

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