Over the past two decades, we have seen a monumental shift in the marketplace to digital marketing (in all of its forms). The early adoption of digital marketing, such as PPC (pay-per-click, to rank on Google), wooed businesses in with low-cost, high-impact marketing. Fast forward to today, and PPC costs have skyrocketed.
This period hit the direct mail industry hard. However, while direct mail was down, it was not out. As the various digital marketing channels have matured, prices have skyrocketed. The circumstances have evolved to the point where digital marketing is no longer the low-cost alternative (in most cases).
As a result of the increased cost of digital advertising, many businesses are rediscovering the benefits of direct mail and new synergies between it and various forms of digital marketing. Unlike any digital marketing, direct mail offers a tangible experience delivered through a very trusted channel, your client's mailbox.
The beauty of direct mail is that it cannot be buried and forgotten as easily as most digital marketing methods. If you send out a marketing message that appeals to your audience in physical paper and ink form, it is more likely they will keep your mailer. If nothing else, it serves as a mini-billboard for your company for as long as it takes for them to get to the trash can, or hopefully, the "save" pile.
Another aspect of direct mail that is becoming increasingly important is using it in combination with digital marketing.
Mailing a prospect a package after he has seen an online ad and clicked on a link is very effective. There is a reason why online catalog companies also spend a lot of money mailing physical catalogs to drive users to their websites. It works.
While you can keep your digital marketing "in front of" your prospects, you are paying for each click or each impression. Depending upon your market, your business, and your offer, direct mail might be a far superior (and more cost-effective) means of generating business.
In conclusion, marketing is quickly evolving like everything else in our society. What you may have heard yesterday might not stand true today. When planning your marketing, leave no stone unturned. All marketing channels are different tools in your tool belt. Take the time to understand your marketing options and each specific channel's unique impact, such as the personalized physical experience offered by direct mail marketing.