Are You Doing Enough Direct Marketing?

Posted on: April 20, 2021

Targeted online advertising has been so effective for so long that it’s no wonder that other forms of marketing have fallen by the wayside. But, like many things in life, 2020 changed the landscape for advertising.

Privacy concerns have risen so high that even Google is backing off tracking your every online move. That means that it’s not going to be so easy to target your preferred audiences, or have an ad show up during a potential customer’s buying cycle. You know how when you look at shoes at the Nike store, suddenly there are shoe ads on every page you visit? Ya, that’s not going to be so easy for advertisers anymore.

Of course, Google and others are looking at ways to work around the privacy issue – things like consent and opting in to “a more personalized experience.” Still, privacy wasn’t the only issue of 2020, so it’s time to rethink your ad mix anyway.

While some are predicting that out-of-home advertising will see a big boost in return on investment later this year and next (as more people get vaccinated and spend more time out and about), that return is really hard to track. So, the other prediction that we’re more excited about is the use of direct marketing.

Direct marketing is delivering marketing material directly to your audience, rather than placing ads on other platforms. It takes the form of emails, blog or product subscriptions, postal mail, loyalty programs, and the like. But to make it work in 2021, your content has to be more than a typical “we’re great” ad; and, if you can personalize that content, you’ll get a much better return on investment.

Tim Horton’s recently made a pivot that will no doubt payoff big time. Their iconic “Roll up the Rim” promotion went totally digital this year AND everybody was a winner. That’s the perfect combination of strategy and appeal. You can bet that more people than ever now have the rewards app on their smartphone, and that means that Timmy has a lot more information about them. Yes, there have been concerns with how much info Tim is collecting, and they may well have to back off a bit themselves. But still, a great tactic for increasing their direct contact with consumers.

So, how can you set up a direct mail campaign? Start with your existing customers. Take a look at the information that you routinely collect, and whether or not you can easily query and analyze that data. Think about ways to use that information for direct marketing. For example, if you have postal addresses, you could send out notices for advanced shopping on upcoming sales, announcing new products, or even a simple thank you to reinforce your brand.

If you can use your data to personalize direct mail, even better. Like an email saying, “We noticed you’ve purchased 12 air filters in the past year. Use this code to get a pack of 12 for 25% less.”

Letting customers know that you see them as individuals and appreciate their business will not only spark sales sooner, but also build long-term loyalty.



Give people a reason to share. Create a reason for users to tell you about themselves by offering them better experiences and new ways to engage with your content. Explore offers and products, like subscriptions, trials, memberships, loyalty programs, newsletters, and more to increase engagement and add value.

Direct mail is growing exponentially. People are spending more time than ever at home, and businesses are tapping into this with physical touchpoints, such as postcards. As the founder and CEO of a direct mail tech company, I’ve seen this firsthand. Our 2020 numbers are record-setting. Expect to see more ads in your mailbox in 2021.

Some brands promoted environmental awareness, while others focused on human rights,  poverty, race, and gender inequalities.

Businesses that pursued and publicly defined a clear and consistent purpose did better in 2020 than brands that did not articulate a clear purpose.

That’s not surprising. A recent study by the Zeno Group found that consumers are four times more likely to purchase from the brand when a brand follows and articulates a strong purpose.

They are also 4.5 times more likely to recommend your brand.

In mid-2020, Google announced a new ranking factor called “Core Web Vitals,” set to debut in May 2021.

Core Web Vitals are designed to measure how users experience a web page’s speed, responsiveness, and visual stability. They measure the time it takes for the main content to load (ideal is 2.5 seconds or faster), the time it takes for a page to become interactive (less than 100 ms is ideal), and the amount of unexpected layout shift in the visual content of the page (ideal is less than 0.1).

Google believes that when a web page loads quickly, is interactive quickly, and the layout doesn’t shift much, people will generally be happy, improving peoples’ search experience.

Page speed times have always been important. But they’re becoming even more important in 2021.

If you want to compete with established businesses in your target market, you’ll have to focus some of your efforts on ensuring that your website design is optimized and performs well.