The United States Postal Service delivered roughly 86 billion pieces of direct mail, representing 57 percent of all postal mail deliveries in 2015. More marketers are adding direct mail to their integrated marketing efforts to engage customers online and offline. According to Direct Marketing Association, direct mail response rates are 28 times higher than email, 32 times higher than display ads, and 5.8 times higher than paid search.
But when you look at the trends closely, there is an interesting phenomenon going on in the direct mail space. Direct Mail marketing spend is seeing an uptick, with an estimated $45 billion in 2015. Yet, spending on the physical direct mail itself has declined. It is telling us that the physical direct mail-piece is being complemented with other digital efforts. So the winning strategy for print and mail service providers is to enhance their value proposition surrounding direct mail by offering personalization, mobile, online/offline integration, and end-to-end multi-channel solutions that can effectively engage and measure customer experience.
The Printing Impressions 400 is considered to be the industry’s most comprehensive listing of the leading printing companies in the U.S. and Canada ranked by annual sales volume. Along with other demographic information, it lists primary specialties each company is offering. What’s interesting to note however, is that out of 400 printing companies in this year’s list, 230 of them provide direct mail services.
Bell and Howell’s analysis of the list showed that higher number of companies that provided direct mail services grew their revenue year over year compared to firms that did not offer direct mail services. Companies that offered direct mail services as part of their portfolio grew their revenue by 8 percent in aggregate between 2014 and 2015. On the other hand, the companies that did not offer direct mail services declined 1 percent in aggregate year over year.
The print and mail service industry is experiencing an unprecedented transition from physical to digital communication. This dynamic shift has made it necessary for them to play a larger role in the marketing value chain by offering a broad range of marketing services. This opens the door for those providers to transform their businesses and expand their capabilities beyond print to address these new opportunities.