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Friday, 28 April 2017 11:23

ADVERTISING MAIL: An Output of Print Strategy

Advertising mail is a mature marketing platform which, like many non-digital channels, is still proving a worthy contender for a place in the marketing mix – especially for the retail sector.

Personalisation and the mining of big data is right at the heart of printed marketing. That’s why using advertising mail as one output of a well thought out print strategy is proving a real success for many retail marketing teams and their creative agencies. 

But hang on; no one likes junk mail.

Would it surprise you to learn that only 14% of people now consider advertising mail to be ‘junk’, according to the latest DMA research? That’s quite a mind-shift from a decade ago.

Print advertising as part of a comprehensive print strategy is now considered an effective marketing tool with a proven track record of delivering results. Combine this with clever copywriting and design techniques, high-quality printing and touchably-good paper and it’s easy to see why the term ‘junk mail’ is now, more often than not, used to describe email spam.

Marketing these days is all about metrics and measuring ROI, right? 

Marketing used to be all about building brand awareness, but with the rise of digital metrics like open rates, click throughs and web traffic, in-house marketeers and marketing agencies now find themselves tasked with improving the bottom line just as much as their colleagues in sales.

For online marketing channels, measuring results is easy. But what about the more tangible channels like print advertising? Well, that’s where print strategy comes in.

So how exactly do you measure the results of print advertising?

It’s important to remember that there are a number of different results you may want from your print advertising. A good print strategy could combine a few or all of them (not all at once mind!).

Recent research indicates that the top three reasons for using advertising mail are:

  • Customer acquisition
  • Revenue generation
  • Customer retention

These outcomes could be facilitated by a number of different marketing mechanisms such as special offers, discount codes or coupons, the promotion of a subscription service, a rewards scheme or a customer loyalty card.  

The latter three will all of course have their own metrics – if you send out 10,000 mailshots and 2,000 people sign up to your subscription, scheme or loyalty card then you have a 20% success rate. Easy.

The former suggestions however (special offers, discount codes or coupons) will most likely come under the banner of revenue generation or customer acquisition, and would need a metric put in place in the form of a call to action, or CTA. The most popular CTA for print advertising fueled by a solid print strategy would be getting the customer to go online.

This cross-channel indicator allows you to use a digital metric to measure a print marketing campaign. It also allows you to funnel the customer journey effectively, which of course will improve the generation of hot-leads or actual sales.

According to the DMA, 88% of marketers use going online as the key metric within the print strategy, using a dedicated URL or landing page to accurately measure the success of their advertising mail.

This notion is backed up by most of the top US and UK retailers who are working tirelessly to embrace the combination of digital and physical engagement, to create a seamless customer journey which incorporates both on and offline experiences. In other words, no matter whether you’re going from online research to instore purchasing, or from printed collateral to online browsing, it should all feel like the same convenient, enjoyable shopping experience. A print strategy which embraces cross-channel engagement can really aid in this process.

Putting your website address on a leaflet is really nothing new, is it?

We’re not talking about your standard company URL here. Using a dedicated landing page is relatively cost effective and simple to arrange, and it has a couple of pretty convincing benefits, including:

  • It will only measure the traffic generated by your print strategy because it’s separate to your company website
  • It will allow you to deliver consistent messaging across your print and online platforms, to deliver a seamless transition between physical and digital customer engagement
  • You will be able to collect valuable data from engaged customers to feed back into your evolving print strategy

Thanks to the wonderful world of mobile browsing, making the conscious decision to go online because of receiving post has never been easier. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the hall.

The key here is to make it as quick and easy as possible for them to make the offline-to-online transition. So where possible, use a scanable QR code or strict instructions such as “go online and search XYZ” rather than giving them a long URL to type in by hand.

Putting print advertising into your marketing mix

Cost is cited as the number one prohibitor for those considering print advertising as an active marketing channel. Let’s face it, when pitched against email advertising and other low cost digital alternatives, any printed collateral needs to work hard in order to be considered viable.

The good news is, with the right print strategy in place, print advertising does work hard. Really hard. Personalisation and data mining have already turned junk mail into a tangible marketing asset and it seems that the UK is falling in love with real post all over again. You can read more about this here

If you think print advertising could be for you, or you want advice on print strategy, call us today to discuss your requirement.


  • Print advertising is a mature marketing channel which delivers real results
  • Personalisation and data mining are both key elements of print strategy
  • Getting the recipient to go online is a key goal
  • CTAs should be precise and simple
  • You can use online metrics to measure the success of offline marketing channels
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