Direct Mail Versus Digital Marketing For B2B Companies

Mike Gunderson
Direct Mail Versus Digital Marketing For B2B Companies
The Top 5 Reasons Direct Mail Maintains An Advantage Over Digital Marketing For B2B

In today’s world where digital seems to reign supreme, a long-standing dispute remains: digital marketing versus direct mail. Which method is more effective for driving B2B leads and sales? We’re prepared to settle this debate right now.

According to the 2016 Demand Generation Benchmark Report, 84% of B2B marketers believe both inbound and outbound methods are necessary to drive business and boost sales. However, a lot of modern-day marketers seem to be under the impression that outbound direct mail is a “dead” strategy compared to driving leads and customer acquisition via inbound digital demand generation.

But if direct mail marketing is no longer an effective marketing method, then why does the same report show outbound marketing strategies accounting for five of the top nine lead generation channels?

Because direct mail marketing is alive and well. As a matter of fact, it boasts response rates that are 10 to 30 times higher than digital media, making it one of the most effective marketing strategies today.

These are the top five reasons that direct mail maintains an advantage over digital marketing for B2B:

1.  High Response Rates

Compared to email inboxes, which are generally overflowing with unsolicited advertising and marketing offers, direct mail is delivered via a much less crowded channel that businesses are significantly more accepting of. This positive reaction to receiving mail plays a distinct hand in influencing direct mail’s impressive response rate. According to the Direct Marketing Association4.4% of direct mail campaigns receive a response vs. just 0.12% of those sent through email.

2.  People Trust It

While many factors can influence someone’s propensity to do business with a company, one component remains steadfast—people prefer to trust the companies they buy from. Do you trust all of the spam emails that you get? Probably not, and that’s because sending mass emails to a blind list of email addresses requires very little time, energy, or investment. Direct mail, on the other hand, is intentional. There is a significant cost associated with creating custom mailers, and when companies invest time and resources into their marketing efforts, they are subsequently investing in their customers and deemed more trustworthy. And—bonus—nobody is afraid of getting a computer virus when opening a piece of direct mail.

3.  Drives Web Traffic

Not only do recipients trust direct mail more than they do the senders of marketing emails, but direct mail is also an efficient way to trigger online activity and boost traffic to your website. Research shows that 44% of recipients who receive direct mail from trusted companies are more likely to visit that brand’s website, and 34% go online to learn more about the offer. In addition, a 10% greater percentage of people visit a company’s website after receiving direct mail than marketing emails.

4.  It Gets Noticed

As opposed to marketing emails, which can easily be filtered and categorized as spam before the recipient even sees them, there is no spam filter for direct mail. According to Xerox, 70% of the direct mail sent to businesses and individuals gets opened, and 79% is read for longer than one minute. Of course, there is always a small chance that someone other than the intended recipient opens and reads your message, but the likelihood of that is low.

5.  Lower Competition

Contrary to today’s B2B marketing climate where companies sometimes feel hesitant to incorporate direct mail back into their marketing mix, there was a time when sending direct mail was the preferred method of reaching potential customers. It fell to the wayside as a result of digital marketing and rising costs of materials, but luckily, direct mail is making a resurgence. That said, because digital media is still primarily used by B2B marketers, there is much less competition to contend with when sending direct mail. And, because recipients aren’t interrupted by incoming emails and digital marketing messages when reading through their mail, they are much more focused on absorbing the information on your mailer.

When it comes to marketing in the B2B space, remember this: Your customers are bombarded by unwanted emails and cold calls every day. If you want to stand out and get a leg up on the competition, it will be well worth your while to add direct mail to your marketing strategy.

Need help adding direct mail to your B2B marketing mix? Drop us a line.

Mike Gunderson

Mike is the founder and president of Gundir, the award-winning direct marketing agency. Since 2003, Gundir has helped businesses drive new leads and close more sales through traditional offline channels, especially direct mail.

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