In the current media landscape the possibilities for your content are endless. Content can be distributed online, through social media, in person through experiential or of course through print. In this new landscape of choices we need to consider the best channel for each piece of content we create, rather than attempt a one size fits all approach. Brands are in danger of focussing all their efforts on digital, but failing to see the potential of print, and in particular direct mail. When new content channels are developed there is a temptation to focus efforts there first, to feel ahead of the curve. Yet brands should not suddenly place all their emphasis on the new, instead evaluating which channel is most efficient for reaching their audience.
Consequently direct mail can often be overlooked, and seen as a direct response channel. However, mail when used in conjunction with other channels can have hugely successful results. Marketers need to look at the multiplier effects of mail in conjunction with other channels. For example, according to a recent report, Private Life of Mail by Royal Mail MarketReach, campaigns that included mail had three times the efficiency of campaigns that did not include mail. Similarly when mail was included in the marketing mix the total communications ROI increased by 12 per cent.
Each piece of content, and the platform on which it is delivered, creates a different response from a reader. The report also shows that 57 per cent of people say that receiving mail makes them feel more valued, than email. In addition 38 per cent of respondents say the physical properties of mail influence how they feel about the sender. Mail can translate a brand into the physical world, and in turn create a strong emotional response as well as a rational one.
For the digital generation, receiving post is a novelty. Unique post which is unexpected can sometimes be the most effective way of surprising and engaging with the most technologically sophisticated audience ever. The National Trust is a brand that embraces the power of creative mail; it sent out a mailing featuring a phosphorescent poster that revealed different wildlife when viewed in the dark or in the light, to remind children and their parents that the outdoors can be an adventure in at all times. The campaign outperformed the control pack by 137 per cent. This content could not be delivered digitally, and the campaign would not have had the same results had it just featured content that could have come via email.
Marketers must consider what the content offers the consumer, what the objective of the programme is and the most efficient way to deliver the content. Each piece of content created needs to be delivered on the right channel, to reach the right target audience and to deliver the objectives desired. Once marketers see the potential of each channel and consider what content fits best, they can deliver truly efficient campaigns.
By Jamie Toward, Head of Content for MEC UK.
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