The Debate Between Social Media and Direct Mail Marketing
The debate will continue for as long as social media and direct mail both exist and continue to be successful; the question of which medium is more effective as a marketing tool. And while there’s no denying the benefits of social media and the impact it has made in marketing since its inception, direct mail marketing has a proven history of past and current success at reaching and converting targeted consumers.
The effectiveness of social media itself can be debated. With inferences of the space being too clogged to possibly yield an effective return, and with the demand for almost-up-to-the-minute creative content, many skeptics of the medium have argued that social media is exactly as its name suggests—social—and should be used for nothing more. But when used effectively, social media is a fine tool for engaging potential consumers and creating a community of followers that may become interested in your brand.
At the end of the day, the experts at Macromark wish to remind clients that the goal of any marketing campaign is partly to encourage and increase consumer engagement, and there is no doubting the power of social media in that regard. And if a team is able to remain consistent and current throughout selected social media platforms, there is an opportunity to build wide-spanning awareness.
Direct mail, on the other hand, continues to thrive despite criticism that it is an aging form of marketing; it touches more people with physical content devoid of any competing ads. Direct mail marketing campaigns still boost returns over three percent, which is higher than the average returns across social media platforms.
Yes, direct mail does take more patience and long-term strategy, but its basis is geared in developing longtime customers who stay customers despite a link not getting tweeted four times a day at the correct hours. And as marketers continue to find creative ways to conduct their direct marketing campaigns, this measurable form of engagement remains a top-level means of identifying and communicating with consumers.
With 65% of consumers admitting to making a purchase because of a direct mail piece, the effectiveness of this industry is stamped. Direct mail marketing still has a higher conversion rate of any other industry and its cost per lead is lower than even e-mail.
So the debate continues in spite of there really not being any debate at all. Social media is still relatively new and the true measurement of its effectiveness will be determined as it continues to evolve and a solid formula is established. On the other hand, direct mail has proven for decades that it is a successful means of marketing and consistently yields strong returns year after year. There is ultimately room for both, and assumptions should not be made of either medium without assessing the goals of each campaign specifically.
Beasley, L., “Why Direct Mail Still Yields the Lowest Cost Per Lead and Highest Conversion Online to Rate,” Marketing Institute web site, June 13, 2013; http://www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org/blog/2013/06/why-direct-mail-still-yields-the-lowest-cost-per-lead-and-highest-conversion-rate/.
Ellis, D., “Social Media vs Direct Marketing: Place Your Bets Now,” MultichannelMagic.com; http://multichannelmagic.com/06/social-media-vs-direct-marketing-place-your-bets-now/, last accessed April 24, 2014.
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