Direct Mail Spending the Last 20 Years
As we watched spending on traditional media flatten or fall across a number of major media categories since 2000, direct mail spending had a strange resilience. Until the pandemic…
As lock-downs captured the headlines, all major retailers quickly ended a decades-long tradition of weekly FSIs (free standing inserts). And that sudden change seems to have begun a cascading collapse of print and direct mail spending. The collapse was surprising for its speed, more than the fact it was happening.
Why Direct Mail Persisted So Long
Direct mail spending continued to grow, even as other traditional forms of media (radio, television, outdoor, etc.) all took hits in favor of digital alternatives. This was due to several tail winds:
- USPS made direct mail even more affordable and efficient with the evolution of the Every Door Direct Mail service (EDDM)
- It still worked, and continues to work well for certain business categories
- Direct Mail is easy for advertisers to understand and assess
What are the Head Winds?
Direct Mail’s demise is largely due to demographic shifts. The younger we are, the less likely we are to consider direct mail influential in purchasing decisions:
Direct Mail Influence By Generation
Generation Recall of Direct Mail
Boomers 12 %
Gen X 8 %
Millennials 4 %
Gen Z (18+) 3 %
Gen Z (13-17) 3 %
And it makes sense. Millennials were practically digital natives (most), and don’t even remember major marketing channels like Yellow Pages. Gen Z is the first generation that grew up with tablets and smart phones from birth. So direct mail influence by generation has suddenly caught up to the rest of the digital transition.
Where is Direct Mail Spending Going?
Influencers and social media perform stronger with Millennials and Gen Z. But the spending hasn’t shifted quite as dramatically to just those emerging categories.
Video advertising and more localized forms of digital display advertising, such as Geo-Fencing and Search Re-Targeting have captured parts of direct mail spending, too. And Contextual Advertising is emerging as a strong competitor.
Need an Alternative to Direct Mail?
If you’ve been using direct mail and it’s just not working like it used to, we may be able to help. And we’re willing to explore that question without any obligation from you, other than your time.
Schedule a free initial consultation with our team. We’ll get to know you and your business a bit better, and hear you describe your challenges and goals. We’ll show you how we develop and test strategy for success.
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