Posted by David Hodson-Whittle on 30 August 2016 | Comments

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A favourite pastime of any marketing guru is to ask whether a well-known tactic, method, or medium is ‘dead’. It could be the most cutting-edge technology which no one has even adopted yet, or a tried and tested way of reaching more customers. In this post we want to talk about the latter. You’ll find plenty of people willing to tell you that print marketing is ‘dead’. There are those so engrossed by social media and digital marketing that any type of real-world marketing seems to them archaic and implausible. But we shouldn’t stop using traditional marketing methods just because they aren’t digital. In fact, traditional marketing methods can sometimes be more effective than their digital counterparts.

Take direct mail, for example.

It’s natural to assume that email has a fantastic open rate. It only takes a second to click on a message, after all. If you have an email app on your phone or tablet you’ll be instantly alerted when you get a message, not to mention computer-based mail programs such as Outlook which serve you a pop-up notification when a new mail arrives. It seems at first glance like it would almost be impossible not to read an email.

But this is most definitely not the case. According to research by MailChimp, average open rates are between 17% and 26%, depending upon industry. The number of click-throughs is considerably smaller. Of the roughly 45 different industries MailChimp compiled statistics for, only one (Media and Publishing) had a click-through rate above 4%.

Only 26.8% of government emails are opened - an email from the government is likely to be one of the most important and urgent emails a person receives, so if nearly three quarters of people aren’t reading them, that doesn’t bode well for people trying to sell something!

By comparison, it’s hard to imagine 74% of people leaving a letter from the government to wallow on the doormat. According to the Direct Mail Association, response rates for direct mail are 30 times higher than for their electronic counterparts. What’s more, direct mail is considered highly trustworthy. While many people like to dismiss it as junk mail, you can easily claim that email marketing has fallen into the same trap. How often you find yourself referring to something as ‘spam’, even when it’s from a company whose email marketing you signed up for?

56% of people believe print marketing to be the most trustworthy of the various forms of communication. It’s not that surprising when you think about it. It’s a lot easier to send spam email than it is to send junk mail. There’s also a lot more risk associated with opening an email message then there is a letter. Even the most legitimate of emails could contain a virus which will at best inconvenience you and at worst steal your personal data. By comparison, the most common danger associated with letters is probably a paper cut.

It’s true that many people keep their electronic mail for a lot longer than they do their physical mail. After all, it’s easy to let 10,000 emails accumulate in your mailbox, but having more than four or five pieces of junk mail in your hallway and any one time is going to start to get in the way. But just because people don’t necessarily delete emails doesn’t mean that they act upon them. Compare that to the 66% of consumers who keep hold of their mail for two weeks.

Offline to Online: The Ultimate Marketing Mix

We’re not suggesting that email marketing is a waste of time. We’re certainly not suggesting that you should abandon it altogether and focus only on direct mail: the first thing you will see on the Direct Mail Association’s website is a pop-up subscription box for their email newsletter!

More and more companies are beginning to realise that traditional and digital marketing are not mutually exclusive. There is no reason why you can’t do both, and there are many reasons why you should. It’s called off-line to online (O2O) marketing and it combines the best of both worlds. For instance, 44% of direct mail recipients will visit the company’s website. Compare that to the (at best) 4% click through for email marketing and you can see that actually getting off-line people online is often more effective than getting email users to your website.

The right approach isn’t offline or online, it’s both. Have a think about the ways in which direct mail could help your online marketing efforts to generate better results. We’re betting you’ll come up with quite a few. So have we, so why not get in touch with us today to discuss it?

Pick up the phone. See what we can do for you.

SW1 Creative Marketing Studio

Devon Business Park,
Devon, EX15 1BS

Tel – 01884 35577

SW1 Creative Marketing Hub

Ashleigh Meadow,
Cornwall, PL14 3RG

Tel – 01579 550475



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