By Andrew Field
Whether you realize it or not, everyone has end-of-day rituals. You get home, take off your shoes, greet your family, think about what to do for dinner, and, most likely, check the mail.
Direct marketers and the U.S. Postal Service refer to this daily ritual as “the mail moment” — the moment when consumers go through their mail and explore what it has to offer. This moment provides marketers the unique opportunity to take advantage of a consumer’s undivided attention, and tactile marketing is impervious to spam filters.
Given the topic, I have to admit that I feel slightly hypocritical for delivering this information in a digital format. I would have preferred to mail this to you on a crisp, 70#, bright white piece of paper — you’d be more likely to remember it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have your addresses.
The Psychology Behind Print
In a recent article by Scientific American, studies show that as we read, our brains comprehend text by correlating the message with the physical landscape of the tactile piece. When we see a message in print (versus a screen), our brains create a lasting memory response because the message’s landscape is tangible. Physical attributes of the tactile piece, such as thickness, shape, texture, and the material’s surface, folds, and corners, help the brain form a mental map of the message. Simply put, print allows potential customers to follow that mental map back to your business.
Four Reasons to Use Tactile Marketing
From connecting with customers to increasing response rates, below are four benefits to adopting tactile marketing:
1. It has staying power. Print cannot be easily deleted or sent to a spam folder — it requires some form of interaction. Through the sensory elements of tactile marketing, even if the “mail moment” is brief, the likelihood of a person seeing and engaging with your message is far higher than digital alone.
2. It forms a connection. Because our brains are able to create a lasting memory of printed text, customers automatically feel a stronger connection to a direct mail piece than an email. In fact, according to a Print in the Mix survey, 56 percent of respondents said they found printed materials to be the “most trustworthy” of media channels. The same survey also found that nearly half of respondents had retained a direct mail piece for future reference.
Here’s a great example from EuroMed that delivered an instant connection through direct mail. The direct mail piece featured a creative pop-up heel and a sample of the company’s blister care product. By investing time and a little extra effort, EuroMed increased its customer-brand connection.
3. It increases response rates. Reliance on digital alone can make customers feel as though they’re being spammed; in response, they avoid connecting with emails that may contain worthwhile messages. According to the CMO Council, the average response rate for email is 0.12 percent, whereas direct mail is 4.4 percent.
Direct mail pieces that are data driven and personalized make a real connection with customers and therefore increase response rates.
One solid example comes from Nimble Storage, who used a dimensional direct mail piece to incentivized prospects to schedule an in-person meeting. Each lead received a printed bento box with a mock gift card, branded chop sticks, and a personalized postcard with a unique URL. The sales rep would then present the responding prospect with a real gift card for $150 to a local sushi restaurant at their meeting.
4. It strengthens digital. A study done by the Printing Industries of America found that shoppers who receive a direct mail piece pointing them to an online site spend an average of 13 percent more than those who do not receive a printed piece.
It’s not about choosing one over the other. Tactile and digital work synergistically. Tactile strengthens digital channels, creating true multichannel campaigns. See how your customers and prospects are interacting with your company across channels and optimize your campaigns to deliver the right message, in the right place, at the right time.
Digital marketing certainly has its place, but it can’t compare to the personal touch of direct mail. The “mail moment” can help you stay in others’ memory banks by giving them something tangible to remember you by. Don’t miss out on your chance to make an impression.
Now you can automate your tactile marketing with Tactile Marketing Automation (TMA). TMA is the integration of direct mail into your marketing automation platform. It makes the sending of timely, personalized physical mail (sales kits, gifts, marketing collateral, etc.) as easy as sending an email.