Paper Communications Harder Hitting than the Internet?

In the October 22nd, 2007 issue of DM News, Mike Maguire, CEO of Structural Graphics wrote in his article entitled “Integration of the senses” that he was surprised that 2006 saw direct mail spending increase by 7.5% and 2007 growing by nearly as much.

He further adds that the Direct Marketing Association reports that half of all Americans prefer to receive advertising by postal mail.

It makes you wonder how paper communication fares so well in the face of the online explosion.

He proposes that consumers use all of their senses with messaging including sight, sound, touch, scent and taste. And successful marketers use as many of these senses as possible to convey their stories and break through the clutter.

Three-dimensional direct mail leverages the sense of touch to full advantage. Maguire quotes from a Time magazine advertising survey that 91% of readers recalled a dimensional advertisement versus 51% recalling a “flat” advertisement.

But I think there is something else that strengthens the impact of direct mail.

Due to it’s escalating cost, more demanding execution and relative rarity, direct mail appeals garner more attention from recipients than the same messages found in their crowded email inboxes. With the explosive growth of email, printed direct mail has now gained more respect among consumers.

In addition, direct mail is more intrusive than the Internet that relies 100% on the consumer to access the advertiser’s web site.

What are your thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of traditional channels versus online?

Posted on October 29, 2007 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing.