Why you should never underestimate the power of physical mail

The Royal Mail MarketReach team have created a great eBook called ‘Physically Irresistible’. We thoroughly enjoyed reading it and thought, why not share some of our thoughts and feelings on the subject.

Admittedly, print and direct mail is at the heart of what we do, so you won’t be surprised to hear, we’re already huge advocates of the power of physical. But it’s still always interesting to hear other opinions on this subject, especially from a host of thought leaders from a variety of industries.

And that’s exactly what Royal Mail’s eBook provides. It’s full of anecdotes from various thought leaders and also includes some very creative and successful pieces of mail which have worked wonders for the brands involved.

If you’d like to read the Physically Irresistible eBook in full, you can do so by downloading it from the Royal Mail MarketReach website.

Alternatively, read on if you’d like our write up.

Here are our top 7 takeaways on the power of physical


No. 1 Mail marketing should ALWAYS be considered

Mark Ritson, virtual marketing professor, shares his thoughts on the real reasons you should be selecting the most appropriate media channels for your campaigns.

“In marketing, there is the hardest argument in the world and then there is the easiest one. The hardest is trying to claim that any specific medium or channel is superior to all or any of the others on offer. Everyone tries to make this claim with oodles of data and a bit of econometric “nonsense” sprinkled here and there. But the reality of all media is that it depends. It depends on budget, on target audience, and on objectives.”

We couldn’t agree more. 

Mark goes on to say that if you don’t consider every channel then effectively you’re not doing your job.

“Too often marketers come to the table with their mind already made up about which tactics they want to employ and which will not get a look in. More often than not it is direct marketing that loses out these days. It has none of the digital shininess of TikTok or Instagram. It lacks the theatre of TV. And it has none of the big box impact of outdoor. 

Which is a shame because when direct marketing is done well, done as Lester Wunderman once envisaged it, it remains as one of the great connections between companies and customers.”

No 2. Nothing beats the brand in your hand

“A piece of mail will be physically picked up, noticed and remain in a home… giving your brand a presence in the place most precious to your customers.” These are the words of Nicky Bullard, Chairwoman and Chief Creative Office at MRM and Mccann.

And her words really do ring home. When mail marketing is done right, when the message is targeted, the concept engaging, when it has purpose, it will bring your message home, literally.

Nothing beats the brand in your hand.   

“It’s the closest we can ever get to our customers. It’s also where print really does come alive. The stock you choose, maybe you emboss, maybe you add a spot varnish. Maybe the piece opens in a fun way. Maybe it’s totally understated. Technology is of course magic too. And I love email, when treated correctly, as a medium. 

But whilst an email can sit unnoticed and unopened in your inbox, a piece of mail will be physically picked up, noticed and can remain in a home for more than 28 days – reinforcing a message for a month – and giving your brand a presence in the place most precious to your customers.”

No 3. Direct Mail and CRM go hand in hand

Jim Buckle, CRP of Gousto recognises how important the relationship is between Direct Mail and CRM, especially in ecommerce.

“Ecommerce brands need to build tangible connections with potential customers and direct mail really helps cut through the noise to build awareness. 

By complementing online CRM activities with mail, particularly for high value customers, leads are driven online to convert.

The creative potential and the targeting opportunities of both addressed mail and door drops makes it a highly flexible marketing tool that should be given serious consideration.”

No. 4 Create a tech-tile experience

The eBook goes on to explain how When you mix tech with a physical format, you create a joined-up experience for your customer – one that they remember, for all the right reasons.

There are some really clever things you can do to weave together your online and offline offerings. Direct Mail can be triggered by a customer journey on your website. It can plug into data gathered by their browsing habits. They could even navigate to products on your website by hovering their phones over the page to trigger image recognition.

There are so many ways now to fully integrate mail with digital, it can really make an impact and achieve that often much needed cut through from all the digital noise.      

“When everyone else zigs, zag. And, bizarrely perhaps in an age obsessed with digital media and Gen Z, the best way to get the undivided attention of my children, send them some direct mail.” – Rory Sutherland, Vice President at OGILVY

No. 5 Mail makes sense

Next up, the guide explores the senses… Mail isn’t just a treat for the eyes and fingers, it can engage all five senses. You can make it smell good, play music even taste good! 

Jack Gallon, Creative Director at MBA dismisses the saying that we all heard growing up,  look, but don’t touch…

Actually, look, but do touch!

“Not only can it be a beautiful bit of printed design, but it can also be something you hear, touch, smell, even lick if you like. And this doesn’t mean that it’s the sworn enemy of digital, quite the opposite actually. Injecting tech into your DM can take it to the next level. And linking up your online experience with a touchyfeely, smelly-heary offline one can take engagement off the Richter scale. 

So sorry Mum I’m going to have to disobey you… again. Touch is important. And together with smart tech and clever printing techniques, it can create a multi sensory experience that turns bland into brand.”

No 6. No two alike – make it personal

We’ve been banging the personalisation drum for years and continual advances in technology are allowing us to keep on upping our game when it comes to creating a truly personal customer journey. 

With digital printing you can swap images and content to make it super relevant for your customers. Details like adding in maps to local stores with door-to-door directions are all possible. 

“Direct mail remains a very important part of the marketing mix and should be a part of any business. It is a powerful medium, representing a tangible and personal interaction between our brand and our customers, an opportunity to deliver the perfect combination of precision targeting and sophisticated content.” – Raj Kumar, Group Director – Brand and Reputation Aviva.

No 7. Keep it simple

Mail doesn’t have to be expensive or use complicated technology or printing techniques to be effective. Sometimes all you need is a plain sheet of paper and the right idea to be remembered.

If you really want to talk to someone, write to them”. Robin Garton, Executive Creative Director at SKY knows that one of the most effective ways to reach someone and get your message heard, is to write to them.  

“Spoken words stay with us like ink on paper, because once they were ink on paper. So, if you want to really reach someone, write to them. Whether that’s your family, your friends, your clients or your customers. And the better you write it, the better they’ll read it. Because when something has been written, rewritten and rewritten again, it is more likely to get read, and reread and reread again.”

We think you’ll agree, threw are some incredibly thought provoking statements there and we hope you’ve had some of the same ‘light bulb moments’ we did on reading this ebook.

We think Margret Jobling nicely rounds off this book when she says, “mail remains an important communication tool”… because it does. You only have to think back to March 2020 when Boris Johnson wrote to every household in the country to drive home his message about the importance of staying at home.

Mail has it’s role to play in an omnichannel world.

Talk to the specialists

We’re a professional mailing house and print services provider based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

We have the know-how, equipment and resources to deliver on your print, direct mail and digital communications and do just that for a number of clients, big and small.

We offer fully integrated print and mailing solutions so we can handle every aspect for you.

Get in touch today to see how we can help.

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