Has digital killed traditional direct marketing?

Research recently published by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has highlighted the fact that consumers continue to rate email as their preferred channel for receiving regular communications. According to the findings of the 2009 Marketing GAP Report, 51% of consumers state that email is their favoured means of being contacted by companies, pushing direct mail into second place with the support of 38% of consumers.

Evangelists of digital marketing will probably cite this statistic as confirmation that online channels are overtaking the more traditional modes of direct marketing. However, dig a little deeper into the GAP report and you’ll find that the rise of email is most certainly not the death knell for direct mail. The overall popularity of email has actually dropped 5% since 2008, but direct mail’s popularity has risen by 6% over the same period of time.

 So what does this mean for companies in the window industry? According to Justin Ball, Insight’s Business Development Manager, these figures suggest that an integrated approach, combining both digital and offline direct marketing channels when prospecting for new business, will create the best return on investment (ROI).

 “This study may highlight the rise of e-marketing, yet with a 6% increase in the popularity, direct mail should not be underestimated” explains Justin. “We have found that our clients get much better results when they combine direct mail and e-marketing. The best tactic is to send out direct mail and follow up with an email campaign a few days later. This way, you don’t put all your eggs in one basket and give yourself a much better chance of gaining a response. I would urge any companies who want to use direct marketing to win more customers to think carefully about their ‘marketing mix’ and use a combination of both digital and traditional methods.”