In this age of digital overload, it is sometimes important to recognise that old school can still be new school. As marketeers look for new ways to engage with consumers, in this series of three publications, Direct Mail and its unique marketing force are re-introduced to us. Dave Furney of Blue Star tells us why we should not discount this channel but instead embrace its unique romantic connection with consumers.

It is a common sight to see letterboxes adorned with “No Junk Mail” stickers that have emerged over the years. In many respects, this has been a reaction to the rise over the last number of years in unaddressed mail, free sheets, advertisements, basically quantity over quality. As a society, our drive to be carbon neutral, paperless, and switch to digital mediums has also contributed to the unaddressed mail scenario in some way.

Coupled with our no junk notices, the rise and rise of digital marketing and advertising sees consumers bombarded with information and advertising. The average American consumer is exposed to thousands of advertisements per day. Will we soon be putting up “No Junk Mail” on our inbox, and on our social feeds?

Social interaction is also being challenged. Travel by any form of public transport and you will find it populated with navel-gazing commuters. It is a rare sight to see anybody without a mobile device in hand. Though the exposure is there to advertisers to glean the attention of consumers, we, the consumers have fought back with our own mental screening as we bypass advertising to get to the content we went to see in the first place. Quantity versus quality.

So, low consumer conversion, low campaign ROI numbers. Where can brands get traction? How can they effectively ensure they are engaging with consumers? How can they get past our mental screening and No Junk Notices?

How can they gain our Trust?

Direct Mail, take a bow. The tactile printed piece, cleverly designed, engineered and personalised to make you feel important, to make you feel we thought about you when we designed and created this, the fact that everybody loves to receive mail addressed to them is re-emerging, as the saviour.

The Direct Marketing Association (USA) recently published research in support of direct mail. In fact, the latest edition of the DMA Response Rate Report (2015) it states that direct mail offers “strong return on marketing investment,” with an average ROI of 15-17%.

Direct Mail and the capabilities of the medium have changed. The emergence of big data, segmentation, creative variants, multi-channel campaign strategy, and a highly customisable platform. DM lives comfortably in the OMNI channel approach. The ability to take multiple creative executions for segmented campaigns, and personalise to the consumer, executing the campaign with DM taking the lead, supported by a full channel activation ensures the client response journey is seamless and completely measurable.

According to DMA’s recently-released research in “Response Rate Report: Performance and Cost Metrics Across Direct Media,” direct mail is used by 57% of surveyed marketers — matching social media adoption — and is up compared to last year (David Rosendahl – MindFire).

Why does direct mail have such strong potential? It allows us time, and we give it time. From when it arrives in our letterbox to when we engage with it, as it has our name on it, and we hold on to it and we don't scroll past it. It gets more time. It is an applicable medium for large brands, as it is applicable to the local SME. There are key differences between decisions in the boardroom and decisions in the household. Direct Mail engages people and can function across all age demographics seamlessly.

So Direct Mail is not dead.

It just needs to be brought back to the decision process. It has the ability to convert and engage consumers. It is personal. It must be utilised as part of an overall campaign strategy and be managed in harmony with digital communication. It is also welcomed through the mental firewall that we have created.

Because through the power of Direct Mail, you chose to let it in.