Showdown! Online Marketing versus Direct Mail

The cost savings of online marketing over direct mail may not be as big as you think.

Acquisition budgets have been migrating online for a number of years now. Double digit year on year growth, relatively cheap media and real time optimisation have made the transition somewhat inevitable. Certainly I was one of those quick to prophesise the demise of offline channels like direct mail.

However I’ve now revised my opinion. Why? For a start new online customer acquisition costs are starting to creep up and the cost savings over direct mail are not so obvious now. For example it’s difficult to target keywords at new customers only. Existing customers clicking through on these keywords will mean increased acquisition costs and often dissatisfied customers if they think the acquisition offer wasn’t available for them. More importantly though is the need to target the right new customer. Targeting the wrong new customer can cost money and here I think is where I can still see a role for direct mail.

For a start, with direct mail you can de-dupe existing customers in a way that is only really replicated online through email acquisition. Secondly you can hit your desired customer through targeting models and post codes that have been profiled to match your ‘bulls-eye’ new customer. And lastly, direct mail creative gives you more opportunity to convey your offer or promotion. Inevitably though, in this new world of multi-channel engagement marketing and the single customer view it’s all about contacting the right customer through the right channel for the right reason. This applies as equally to new as it does to existing customers – so direct mail isn’t dead as it can, and should be, an important part of any acquisition marketer’s armoury.

Direct mail is dead. Long live direct mail…..
As part of a joined up multichannel acquisition strategy!


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