Deliver results from letterbox to inbox

Direct mail is associated mainly with letterboxes, but the latest incarnation of the discipline sees brands driving consumers straight from the doormat to the computer keyboard. By Jo Roberts

Irish craic is being promoted in a direct mail and doordrop campaign to drive holidaymakers and conference bookers to the Tourism Ireland website.

The holidaymaker campaign is promoting the country as an autumn break destination, targeting sightseers and culture-seekers in the areas around airports that fly to Ireland.

As a result, 600,000 doordrops are being sent out to the target 35-plus age demographic across the UK as well as 460,000 direct mail packs.
Tourism Ireland advertising manager David Wood says this latest campaign will drive potential holidaymakers to a website which has been developed to speak to tourists on a very personal level.

“We will be able to geo-target different consumers to create bespoke landing pages or online experience depending on where they are logging in from,” says Wood. Those logging in near Edinburgh airport, for example, will be able to see information about destinations in Ireland and the local airport services.

The aim of using direct mail and doordrop campaigns is to drive people to the website initially and then to encourage potential holidaymakers to provide information that enables agencies to build up a significant database to send out tailored offers throughout the year.

Ian Bates, creative director at direct marketing agency Entire, which created the DM, doordrop and supporting email campaign for Tourism Ireland, says doordrops and direct mail are “engaging audiences in a different way”.

He says the incentive of a prize draw helps to move people from the initial DM onto the website and encourages them to provide their details. But he says that engaging the consumer takes more than a competition. The targeting of the paper campaigns coupled with the bespoke information provided on the website, he argues, helps push consumers to sign up for more information.

The tourism body’s previous spring campaign (which included email, door drops and direct mail) attracted 67,000 people to provide their email addresses. Bates argues it’s about creating a “brand experience” from the letterbox right through to the email offers.

Meanwhile, the business-to-business arm of the campaign will target conference bookers to consider Ireland as a destination for corporate events. The tagline “all singing, all dancing business destination” is being used on direct mail, created by Spinnaker. There is also a prize draw to encourage bookers to sign up to offers.

Robert Goldsmith, managing partner at marketing communications agency Spinnaker, says direct mail is a really important tool to drive customers online. “DM has always been a very engaging medium which can be further expanded on online.”

He adds it’s important to provide a “tease” about particular products, which will motivate recipients of DM to go online to find out more. He suggests it does not work to drive people to a generic homepage but requires brands to send them to a specific site where consumers can “continue the story” that started with opening the mail.

Tourism Ireland’s Wood says the agency is planning to continue its strategy of using offline marketing to drive online traffic. It hopes that relying on continuing the brand story across both the physical and online worlds can convert more visitors to experience the country, whether it be for business or pleasure.

Viewpoint: Angus Morrison
Director of Royal Mail’s MMC (Mail Media Centre)

‘I do all my banking online. But I wouldn’t be without my paper statements…’ said a respondent from a recent piece of Quadrangle research.

Direct mail and online advertising can work positively in conjunction with one another. According to the research by Quadrangle, 66% of ‘extremely confident’ web users, 69% of confident web users and 73% of less confident web users would prefer some form of contact by post.

Although DM and online have their own particular strengths, there are a number of circumstances in which they are felt to work better together. Web users think direct marketing and online make each other more effective, both in terms of cut-through and in getting consumers to do something. And people who engage with direct marketing and online are more likely to buy something as a result of the DM they receive, as well as spend more.

It’s clear that people engage and interact with DM at a deeper level than they do with online advertising. That doesn’t mean that DM is inherently better, but that it occupies a different space in people’s lives.

MMC Guidelines

  • To maximise communications, mailings and online propositions must be aligned so that they deliver a seamless brand experience across all channels; ensure your messages are consistent across both.
  • Make it as easy as possible for people to find out more online. Build signposts to your digital services into your mailings.
  • Always consider the respective qualities of the two individual channels when planning a campaign. What can mail do better for you than online can and vice versa?
  • Review the whole customer journey and plan at what points you want the customer to move from mail to online (and back).

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