Salud! Toasting Direct Mail's Ever-Increasing Effect

In 2008, eMarketer estimated that there were 23 million Hispanics online-about 52% of the Hispanic population in the United States-and that by 2012, nearly 30 million Hispanic Americans will be digitally connected. Faced with these impressive numbers, it may be easy for marketers to be swept away into a world of digital marketing trends. However, this year more than ever-with consumer pocketbooks empty and confidence at an all-time low-it is important to take note of the everlasting importance of traditional direct mail marketing and its overall effect on the Hispanic market segment.

Direct Mail Is King
According to Vertis Communications' 2009 Opiniones survey, which polled 500 Hispanic American consumers throughout the United States, direct mail continues to play an important role as a welcomed communication vehicle among Hispanic adults. According to the study, the percentage of Hispanics naming direct mail as an acceptable form of follow-up communication from a company they've expressed interest in has increased from 48% in 2007 to 55% in 2009. With this rise, traditional direct mail has become the No. 1 preferred method of response desired by Hispanics in 2009, once they've elicited interest in a product. Runner-up tactics that are also favored include phone calls at 51%, email-also at 51%, and a catalog at 50%.



Standing Out Among The Crowd
Like many methods of consumer communication, the popularity of direct mail across all market segments can lead to over-saturation, leaving consumers feeling overwhelmed at the abundance of direct mail they receive. However, by honing in on the key elements of these mail items that convince consumers to open your piece over another, a greater success rate is guaranteed when trying to stand out among the mail box crowd.

When Vertis Communications asked Hispanics adults that welcome direct mail what causes them to open one direct mail piece over another, 82% noted it was when they recognized the sender's name-the most popular choice-followed by 43% who indicated first-class items would be most often opened. Other direct mail features Hispanics are attracted to include: colorful envelopes (34%), over-sized postcards (32%), envelops with see-through windows (32%) and environmentally friendly or recycled paper (30%.)

Read On
Now that we understand what prompts Hispanic consumers to open direct mail, what can marketers do to further entice their target consumer into reading the marketing message? Vertis' Opiniones results indicate that in 2009, Hispanics consumers responded most to buy-one, get-one-free offers and coupons, at 74% and 72%, respectively. Furthermore, data indicates that gift cards, gift-with-purchase offers, grand opening messages, everyday lowest price announcements, consumer tips, loyalty card offers, "dated material enclosed" messages, and personalization all resonate more with Hispanics in direct mail than the average non-Hispanic consumer.

Additionally, it will be critically important for marketers to take note of the type of direct mail that garners the highest readership among Hispanics. Vertis' Opiniones study reveals that entertainment, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, Internet services, insurance, financial services, clothing stores, home electronic stores, wholesale clubs, furniture retailers and jewelry stores all reign in popularity. Thus, applying the most attractive direct mail characteristics and popular marketing offers to one or more of the aforementioned categories, will enable a higher overall success rate and a heavier saturation of marketers' Hispanic marketing campaigns.

Typically, first- and second-generation Hispanic Americans, Hispanics of all income levels, and Spanish-speaking Hispanics have a significantly higher response to direct mail than other readers. Vertis' survey trends show that throughout the years, marketers have begun to effectively use direct mail to communicate with these key demographics-a sign that marketers are taking heed of the information before them to better reach this oft-ambiguous consumer segment.

A Year For Hope
This year's global financial crises and crumbling economy has and will continue to place surmounting pressures on marketing teams nationwide. However, it remains crucial-amid budget cuts, job losses and overall consumer pessimism-to not only convey a message of hope and optimism in marketing campaigns today-but to cater to your target consumers' needs in the best possible way. By maximizing return on marketing investment through strategic planning, savvy marketers will be better positioned for success in both the near- and long-term.

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