Five reasons why direct mail will thrive in 2017

The direct marketing industry, according to the latest IPA Bellwether Report, is in rude health; having not only realised greater investment by clients during the last quarter of 2016 but is also tipped by the panel  to grow significantly throughout 2017.

Direct mail, in particular, has been singled out as the star channel and pundits believe that it could return to the hey days of mail back in the early 2000s. There are five key reasons for this:

- Whilst digital marketing continues to grow there are doubts in the minds of budget holders as to the effectiveness of the channel as a result of ad blockers, spam filters and issues with programmatic buying. Not to mention the impact that digital ubiquity is having on open rates and click throughs. If the ROI of digital continues to be called into question it is likely that budget will be moved back into traditional channels to balance out the marketing mix more effectively.

- The mail box is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. People are beginning to love their letterbox again – probably because they are unused to receiving mail in both their personal and business lives. Receiving a hand written letter, or indeed a piece of DM, for many, is now a rarity. This is particularly true of the under 30s who have grown up in the digital world and therefore most transactional mail is done through email and apps, birthday greetings through Facebook and offers from retailers etc. via social media.

- The introduction of GDPR next year means that the onus is being placed on responsible marketing and data protection. Direct mail has a strong heritage in this space and is uniquely placed to help marketers demonstrate compliance to new legislation.

- The direct mail industry has rallied around to promote the channel in a positive way demonstrating its value, cost effectiveness and legitimate place in the modern marketing armoury. Royal Mail’s Mailmen campaign, for example, has been instrumental in bringing back old users and attracting new ones, particularly digital players, to the medium. Moreover bureaux and data specialists have been educating clients as to the importance of data hygiene which has helped the industry to become more responsible in terms of value over volume.

- The perception of direct mail has long been in the gutter. And whilst many MPs and the popular press still continue to denigrate it direct mail contributes £10 billion to the economy, and like it or not, is an incredibly effective way to reach engaged customers. The key is to target carefully and not bombard consumers as was the case 20 years ago.

We think direct mail deserves a rise in popularity and hope that marketers choosing to add to their marketing plans do so responsibly so that the medium can start to repair its maligned reputation.