This has definitely been a different year, but the good news is that it’s almost over. And the even better news for some marketers is that they have money left in their budget.
Whether the result of lower marketing expenses in general or a reallocation of marketing spend, leftover budget is probably more common now than it’s been in many years.
Despite a record-breaking election-spending season, advertising spending is projected to drop 7% in the U.S. in 2020, according to Zenith. And if that money’s already been allocated to marketing, it’s often a use-it-or-lose-it proposition – and good marketers know they need to use it, or risk a lower budget in 2021.
Very often extra marketing budget is spent on more of what’s already been done previously – more radio spots, paid social posts, or outdoor advertising.
But here’s a thought: Instead of spending leftover marketing dollars on more of the same in hopes of a different outcome (remembering the famous definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”), why not spend that money on direct mail?
Here are five reasons why that makes sense.
- People will pay attention.
According to Valassis, 37% of consumers are more excited to receive their mail each day than they were prior to the pandemic, and “30% of consumers are spending more time reading marketing or promotions that arrive in their home mailbox compared to before the coronavirus pandemic began.”
People are paying attention to direct mail right now. Will they be paying the same level of attention to direct mail six months from now? It’s hard to predict. All you have control over is what’s happening right now – and now, when you have budget to spend, people are reading their mail.
- It gives you a chance to test marketing messages heading into the new year.
One of direct mail’s strengths is its ability to deliver targeted messages to targeted audiences. If you have marketing messages that you feel are important, but don’t seem to be getting through to customers when they’re delivered via broadcast, online, or outdoor, try delivering them via direct mail. Include a well-defined and measurable call to action, and see what happens.
In addition, direct mail is a great way to A/B test certain messages – and with direct mail’s increasing ability to drill down demographically, you can put multiple message variants right in people’s hands, and measure the results quickly and accurately.
Some granular ROI data is the perfect way to end the year – and it’s all because you had a little extra in the budget.
- It can reach a different audience, or the same audience in a different way.
Not only can you test marketing messages with direct mail, but you can test marketing audiences. If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to reach new audiences with your current marketing mix, direct mail might be the key that unlocks that door.
Imagine dropping a well-designed piece into the hands of an important target audience – whether it’s an audience that’s a key component of your current marketing mix or a brand-new audience that you’re looking to develop.
- It can be turned around quickly.
Production timelines for direct mail are faster than you think. If you have camera-ready artwork, a direct-mail piece can be in your customers’ hands long before Christmas.
Obviously, the sooner you can get a piece designed and mailed, the better – but even if you can’t get it out before the holidays you still have options.
For instance …
- It can be spent now, and executed in 2021.
It’s possible to pay upfront for a direct-mail campaign that you actually execute in 2021, if you’re looking to test products, concepts, or messages when the holidays are past but people are still eagerly awaiting the daily mail.
Direct mail is flexible. It can work according to your schedule, and the parameters of a direct mail campaign rarely change significantly over several months.
If any of this applies to you – especially the part about having discretionary marketing dollars to spend over the next several weeks – contact us right away. We have ideas that can help you turn your spare change into marketing magic.
11/24/20 By Dan Topel