What the pandemic and changing digital landscape have taught us
If the pandemic has taught marketers anything it is that strategic marketing requires pivoting to meet the current needs of consumers and that it is critical to success. Social distancing, remote workforce, not getting together with family and friends and the constant roller coaster of stages of closing and reopening have created an opportunity for brands to provide a connection that customers are missing in their everyday life. We certainly see marketing creative making the move to providing consumers with reassurances, comfort, and stability, to meet these needs.
However, the digital landscape has created both opportunities and challenges in the wake of the pandemic. Electronic communication has kept the channels of communication open with e-mail marketing surging to the highest levels. Accompanying this surge in online communication, so too have cyber security threats increased exponentially. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, cyber attacks have increased 89% with over 99% of Canadian organizations experiencing an attack in the past 12 months. With over 91% of all cyber attacks beginning with a phishing e-mail to an unexpecting victim, consumers are becoming increasingly warry of opening e-mails even if they know the sender. As we are all aware, cybersecurity criminals hijack e-mail senders to make it look like a trusted source. “There is a significant trust factor at play with direct mail vs. e-mail marketing”, says John Leonard, V.P. Sales and Marketing, Cover-All Business Communication Management. With direct mail, the consumer trust rate is high, with 76% of people saying they trust ads they receive in the mail.
In addition, the surge in e-mails since the beginning of the pandemic is creating a cluttered marketing environment. As a result, only 20-30% of e-mails are opened by consumers while up to 90% of direct mail pieces are opened. Brand managers are also realizing that digital marketing doesn’t hold attention long enough for a brand to tell its story. On average, people will only spend between 15 and 20 seconds reading a marketing e-mail while they spend an average of 30 minutes each day reading their mail.
The digital environment has changed as a result of this surge in e-mail which has triggered an onset of increased digital privacy legislation, combined with the eventual elimination of tracking cookies, the digital landscape is making it harder for brands to reach their desired target audience. Under these circumstances, the return to physical marketing as a viable option is hard to deny. Direct mail has been brought back to the forefront of marketing initiatives with marketers increasingly recognizing that their brand success depends on it. A brand can expect an average direct mail response rate of 4.4%, compared to e-mail’s average response rate of only 0.12%.
Consumer goods companies realize that consumers are cautious about e-mail, yet at the same time eager to connect, and as a result direct mail has become an integral part of channel strategy for many brands. “We are seeing some truly creative pieces come across our desks with consumer brands eager to offer something more tactile to consumers”, says Leonard. Although digital will not be going away any time soon, those who understand the value of connecting with consumers on a more personal level have made the move back to direct mail.
John Leonard is V.P., Sales & Marketing for Cover-All Business Communication Management. He works with his team and clients to develop relevant and effective communications by using data and technology. Contact Cover-All Business Communication Management to find out more at (416) 752-8100.