Commentary

Email Crowned King Of ROI, Again

When you take a quick look at the latest infographic at Marketing Profs, it seems that email is about to get quite a beating from direct mail. But then, just when you thought it was time to ditch the inbox for the letterbox, along come some killer stats about what truly matters in today's marketing landscape -- ROI.

Now, don't get me wrong -- there's no point in one channel having a pop at another just to make itself appear better. Direct mail clearly has a lot going for it, particularly when it is relevant and not just a random card or flyer for whatever someone wants to sell in your area. Receiving a glossy brochure or a VIP invite is a pleasing experience with which email finds it very hard to compete. 

That's why the omens start off badly for email. Suffice it to say that 70% of Brits think they get too much email, and it's the reason behind 57% of abandoned addresses. It's also less memorable than direct mail which gets acted on sooner by more recipients, the infographic goes on to suggest.

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But just when you think that email's on the ropes, there's a magical Columbo moment. You know, the one where he says, "Just one more thing." You know then that everything's going to be turned around, and so it is with this infographic. 

For a channel that gets a lot of praise for attention-grabbing, it turns out that only one in two British companies use direct mail in their marketing, compared to four in five for email.

The reason becomes clear when you look at ROI. For every pound spent on direct mail, a marketer can expect to earn their organisation seven. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? The trouble is, for every pound you spend on email marketing, you can expect to get back thirty-eight. If you had a pound, which way would you go?

Clearly, there are benefits to direct mail that make it right for some parts of marketing. Luxurious invitations, brochures, bills and important loyalty letters are made for direct mail. But for confirmations, offers, news and updates, email takes the crown by a country mile. Interestingly, the infographic suggests when email and direct mail are used in "mixed" campaigns, customer spend increases by 25%.

So, if you have a pile of money and a long list of postal addresses, there is still much to be said for direct mail. However, if want to get the most out of your budget and need to show the powers that be you've brought in the highest possible return for the budget you've been given, it's got to be email all the way.

Email still reigns supreme as the ROI king. 

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