Direct Mail vs Email – Who is King?

Email has long since been considered as a marketing medium that provides maximum reach for minimal investment and has served as an essential element of many a marketing campaign across any and all industries.

However Direct mail, whilst having been subject to somewhat of a falling out of favor over the past few years is beginning to see a resurgence, and is proving to be particularly popular for those who are harnessing this medium in new and re-thought ways.

These two mediums are widely different. Offering contrasting benefits and being suited to sometimes completely different audiences, industries or particular campaigns. So the question then is how you choose between them for your marketing needs, and, when all’s said and done, who comes out as king of the marketing mediums: Direct mail or Email?

Understanding the pros and cons of each marketing medium

Email: Pros

Email is cheap, fast and efficient

Email is seriously cheap and although you should spend time in carefully crafting your copy (and feature it within a sales focused email design) it still makes for a great form of marketing with one of the best ROIs out there.

Email is marvellous for data analysis

Not only can your message be delivered immediately, you also benefit from results that are fully analyzable through email campaign management software (perfect for honing future campaigns). Data feedback can include bounce, open and click-through rates, to name but a few.

Email: Cons

Spamming is making it harder for everyone

Unfortunately the email marketing landscape has been made pretty bleak in recent years owing to a tidal wave of spam that consumers are, quite simply, sick of. This makes it more difficult for the email marketer as they do battle with inbox authenticity and receivers who are increasingly short on time.

Building a solid email list takes time

Gone are the days of buying cheap contact lists and expecting the world. Today you must build email lists through incentives, pre-approved permission and direct sign ups. Today such tasks take time and effort. Here are some tips.

Email is pretty limiting

Email features plenty of limitations upon the creativity and despite advances this remains a medium that can generally only deliver moderately good-looking materials.

Direct Mail: Pros

Direct mail is more flexible than ever before

From including printed QR codes which can take your future shopper direct to your website with a scan of a smart phone, through to printing on irresistible discounts on postcards, direct mail really is more flexible than ever before.

Direct mail is seeing impressive modern interaction

Research has found that direct mail is no longer the dull junk mail marketing medium of old and today clever marketers are successfully harnessing this method for encouraging social media activity, downloads, online purchases and audience/business rapport.

Direct mail can provide all the space that you need

In comparison to email direct marketing provides all the space that you need to tell your story, whatever it may be.

Direct mail provides the platform to convey and encourage emotion

Email users are in a rush. They may be checking their emails whilst commuting, or squeezing it in at lunch or before dinner. They don’t have time for emotions. However direct mail can provide readers with both space and time to read the materials in their own time and so you’re far freer with what can be expressed. This can all be seen in the infographic below from Quantum Postcards.

direct mail vs email

Direct Mail: Cons

Direct Mail is expensive

Direct mail costs money, and sometimes lots of it depending upon the materials that you use. What’s more postage charges have seemingly continued to increase year after year, and so you really need to ensure that everything is on point when opting for direct mail marketing.

So, who is king between Direct Mail and Email?

It’s difficult to define a clear winner between Email marketing and direct Mail, particularly when they can serve so well in partnership with one another.

What’s more as every business is different, with varying goals, offers and audiences, which medium may be suitable at any given time may change, leaving it down to the marketing manager to choose the most suitable vehicle for what they’re trying to say, when they’re trying to say it.

With all that said however it’s quite clear that direct mail is seeing a resurgence, and with an email landscape that is becoming increasingly filled with unscrupulous spammers it may not be long before a seismic shift is seen in the marketing methods employed by businesses the world over.

~Source: Social Media Week

One thought on “Direct Mail vs Email – Who is King?

  1. This is a good article. When used properly, both offer phenomenal returns. The problem, is most people don’t do either correctly, and them simply default to email because their lack of execution costs them less in that medium.

    I like using direct mail for lead generation, and email for ongoing relentless follow up with differing sales points.

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