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‘Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time’. Henry Ford

The Beautiful Channel - Direct Mail

Tightening budgets means we face the difficult challenge of identifying the most effective marketing channels for our products and services. Ofcom data shows that UK adults were spending about a quarter of their day online under lockdown, so it’s easier to understand why companies initially shifted their marketing spend on digital channels.


However, research shows that these digital campaigns become increasingly ineffective without long-term brand building underpinning them. In this blog, we explore the critical role direct mail plays to build better brands and elevate digital channels successfully.

Key reasons why direct-mail can help to build brands long-term. 

1. Direct mail marketing and personalised communications result in a deeper connection.

Internet usage has naturally soared through the lockdown and with increased numbers working from home. But this over-exposure to digital interaction only serves to increase the impact of physical communication – and the Government’s crisis communication strategy illustrates this. While the Government shared essential alerts, tips and safety information through TV and social media feeds, the broader piece of communication came through direct-mail, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson penned his “letter to the nation”. 

Direct mail was the right choice for this message, as the channel naturally helps to drive trust and helps to make the recipient feel more valued. In short, direct mail drives better engagement by underlining both the authenticity of the message and the sender’s credibility.

Equally, message recall is seen as imperative for such essential Government communications. The health crisis is a long-term problem, and that means messages must have longevity. Research shows that 94% of all direct mail will be engaged with, (i.e., opened, read, kept) and 45% of it then stays in the home for over 28 days. Direct mail certainly helps to keep brands and their message in front of the consumer.

2.  Physical broadcast channel

The best brand building typically occurs when marketing messages can trigger emotional responses in individuals.

JICMAIL, the joint industry planning currency for advertising mail, revealed the full effects of direct mail in a Best Practice Econometrics report. The report shed light on a direct mail campaign’s true reach – finding that a mailout of 1 million direct mail items will typically generate 4.8 million ad impressions.

3. Direct mail can give brands an innovative and creative edge.

Most importantly perhaps, the Government selected direct mail to deliver the message because it is a channel that naturally lends itself to storytelling. The written word remains a powerful medium for narrative and one which helps to allow consumers to get to know a brand and hear its voice. It will enable brands the chance to help deliver value for customers more intimately, which in turn helps drive consideration and action.  

The Royal Mail’s e-book ‘Physically Irresistible’ illustrates how mail can play a vital role in brand building, and it recalls some unique ways in which companies have embraced print and direct mail to drive engagement, loyalty and revenue. You can download the e-book here.

Penrose helping to strike a balance.

As businesses and individuals, we have all spent much of this year adjusting and adapting to a new landscape and a new economic context. But to echo the words of Henry Ford, you cannot stop a watch to save time. We are firm believers that brands need to continue to invest in marketing and advertising to ensure they are in a healthy and strong position once the market returns to strength. 

Direct mail plays a vital role in long-term brand building efforts – it’s not always going to result in rapid ROI or a demonstrable spike in sales – but data tells us that it is nevertheless vital in maintaining the overall health and prosperity of a brand. As we navigate through uncertain times, we need to keep a holistic view of which channels can help achieve both long and short-term objectives – channels that provide value, foster creativity and spark genuine connections between you and your audience.

At the heart of Penrose lies a full commercial print operation – with presses ranging from a six-colour B1 Heidelberg through to a couple of Xerox digital presses for when lower quantities or variable content are required.

Print is often just one of many parts in any direct mail campaign or multichannel communication strategy, so we have set out to make the process easier and more cost-effective by providing a more comprehensive range of services in one place.

Penrose Direct Mail
Penrose Group

Penrose’s trusted ability to make campaigns run smoothly through our integrated design, print and GDRP compliant mailing facilities is just one of the reasons our clients trust us with their marketing communications. 

Every direct mail campaign requires a vehicle to carry the message. At Penrose, we excel at this by providing a wide range of packaging ideas to suit – ranging from high-end board packaging through to printed bubble envelopes – all with attention-grabbing designs generated by our creative team, and produced using recycled and carbon balanced materials. 

With everything in one place, we can offer you quicker speed to market, lower costs and end-to-end data security.

Why not let us provide you with support and advice on your next direct-mail campaign? We’ll help steer you and your printed campaign in the right direction, avoiding potholes along the way, keeping your communication strategy running smoothly. Maybe if Henry Ford was about today, he may have said, ‘Stopping printed communications to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.’

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