Think about all of the things in your life over the past two decades that have become digitized. Actually, don’t do that. You probably have other things you need to get done today. Instead, how about you think of all of the things that haven’t become part of the digital realm. That’s much easier, right?
The point is, digital isn’t exactly the new kid on the block anymore. In fact, digital pretty much owns the block at this point. Digital turned the block into a gated community and throws huge parties every weekend with A-list celebrities.
As a society, we rely on digital for just about most things we do in our daily lives. Our airline boarding passes are digital, the music we listen to is digital, the news we read is digital, and when you go to the store and scan your Apple Pay at the register, guess what? Even your money is digital.
But digital doesn’t have a monopoly on every aspect of our lives just yet. In the world of direct marketing, digital is still the fresh-faced teenager getting yelled at for hoverboarding in the hallways. And when it comes to the marketing medium that garners the highest response rates, there’s still only one undisputed king: direct mail.
No other marketing channel delivers the kind of response rates that direct mail does, even in 2016 when everything around it has gone digital. Based on statistics gathered by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail is actually over 100 times more responsive than the next most responsive channel, which is mobile.
With a 3.7 percent response rate, direct mail dwarfs everything, including social media and email – each with average response rates of 0.1 percent – and especially digital display ads, with a borderline infinitesimal response rate of 0.02 percent.
These numbers represent an interesting quirk about human nature: that no matter how convenient and streamlined digital makes our day-to-day lives, there’s no competing with the satisfaction we receive from getting an actual physical piece of mail. Perhaps it feels more personal, or perhaps it’s part of an ingrained, conditioned response to getting something delivered in the mail that excites us.
Think about this situation in your own personal life. Which of these remarketing scenarios is most likely to drive you to take action on purchasing a product? Receiving a personalized 30% discount coupon in the mail, getting the same offer emailed to you, or seeing a display ad on a website you visit that promotes the discount?
If you’re like most people, you might notice the email and save it for future use, only to eventually forget about it. The display ad you probably won’t even notice at all. But the direct mail piece is something you might leave on your kitchen counter or put on your refrigerator, and when the time comes to shop – either online or in store – you’ll be more likely to use it.
That’s the power of direct mail, still the undisputed king of response rates – even today’s digital world.