I recently interviewed an executive at a large print shop, and in that conversation, we discussed the role of direct mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. With direct mail becoming increasingly sophisticated and printers investing in both printing and finishing equipment that enables more creative pieces, we discussed how now is actually a great time to be sending mail.

Here are five reasons why:

  1. Direct mail reminds us of a personal connection that we don’t have right now. With most states still under stay-at-home orders, mail becomes an even more important physical connection to others. With pieces being increasingly creative and tangible, the tactile nature of coatings and embellishments reminds us of connection that we long for.
  2. Connection is now cost-effective at volume. With the investments being made, not just in high-speed inkjet printers but also in high-speed finishing lines, the sophistication and creativity previously relegated to smaller run jobs can now be done at high volumes.
  3. People are spending more time with their mail. Especially branding and similar pieces that might normally get set aside because people are too busy to read them right away are now getting read. “Direct marketers are missing the boat with that,” this executive notes. “A message could be sent in three months, but it will really get through now. This is certainly true in my own life. Things I wouldn't have read before, I read now because I’m not as busy.”
  4. Your chances of getting read by the decision-maker are higher than usual. According to a study done by Pebble Post (“Home is at the Heart of Commerce Marketing”), close to 90% of decisions made about purchases are made in the household. For financial services and automotive, this rises to 91% and 94%, respectively. With people home more and spending more time reading mail, your chances of getting seen by the decision-maker are high.
  5. Not only is the primary decision-maker home, but there is a high likelihood that any joint decision-makers will be home, too. When was the last time marketers had an opportunity like that?

There is much to be learned about consumers and the value of different channels during the lockdown from the pandemic.  Not that any of us would wish anything other than the health and safety of every one of our employees, our peers, and our clients, there is always a value and a lesson that comes from even the greatest tragedies. Understanding even more about how and why buyers interact with direct mail just might be one of them.