The fight for consumer attention

A simple idea and harness the power of a channel

One thing is certain in brand marketing: the competition

For thousands of years, brands have battled in countless ways to cut-through and gain customer attention in highly competitive environments. Whether it is via colourful floor mosaic advertisements in Ancient Rome or the modern data-driven multichannel approaches used today, brands have always had the same objective — to stand out and grab attention of the time-poor potential customer.

But the Roman scribe or mosaic designer did not face the explosion in media channels and touchpoints we’ve seen this century — and the associated increased complexity in the customer journey. Consumers are getting harder to reach and their attention span is shorter, meaning marketers have their work cut out to develop and execute appropriate and effective strategies, often across multiple platforms and devices.

What if I said that sometimes the most effective way to get through to a target audience and drive results is to keep things simple? Focusing on a strong idea and choosing a medium that will help to best communicate it can put a brand in prime position to drive long-term effectiveness.

As part of our recent Mail Unleashed series, hosted by Rory Sutherland, we invited seasoned marketers to share examples of some of the most successful direct mail campaigns of their careers. Tony Miller, former CMO at WW, highlighted the festive gift catalogue campaign he worked on for Humanitarian charity World Vision.

The idea was simple — take the concept of a traditional Christmas gift catalogue and use it to inspire people to give a meaningful gift that could make a life-changing difference to someone in need instead. It grabbed attention because it challenged people’s perceptions of seasonal gift giving. Recipients were more likely to engage and browse a familiar medium — the postable catalogue — and then respond to the call-to-action.

Mail marketing may not always be as cost-efficient as digital activations but they can be more effective at driving a response or action

While some businesses may be battling for attention across myriad of online channels and digital clutter, mail campaigns can enable marketers to cut through the noise. Our data shows that 76% of UK adults open all or most of their mail, and according to JICMAIL the medium has an incredible 95% engagement rate. It is also well trusted, with data from Trinity McQueen in 2021 revealing 71% of consumers say they trust customer mail.

Personalised mail marketing also has the power to make a recipient feel special and drive brand loyalty. Lis Blair, CMO at MoneySuperMarket, opted to use direct mail when working for easyJet — the first time the airline had ever used a medium outside of digital. The campaign invited a cohort of frequent travellers to join easyJet’s flight club loyalty scheme, offering them special perks and flexibility which they would have had to pay for normally.

A lot of care went into the creative…

From using laser-cut high quality paper through to striking black envelopes and the personal message within signed by the airline’s CEO at the time: the campaign and its quality creative communicated to the recipient that they were a valued customer — its luxury feel encouraged them to open and read their mail. The campaign was hugely successful, leading to higher retention and even led to recipients using other services from the airline afterwards.

Mail’s ability to make a real impact is its superpower in a world where digital marketing sometimes comes too fast and vanishes equally as quickly. Digital never has enough time to truly embed your message in the consciousness of the recipient and drive results — sometimes it can get lost or ignored completely, just think how emails drop down the mailbox before they are even opened.

Marketers are constantly seeking methods to get their message across to the consumer in a way that doesn’t disrupt their activities, irritate them with over-exposure and create a negative experience. But the market is getting more cluttered. Sticking to a simple idea and harnessing the power of a channel that is generally positively received and trusted, will help brand marketers stand out from the competition and achieve long-term effectiveness and brand loyalty.

Featured image: Marketreach

Sonia Danner, Senior Marketer, Marketreach

Sonia is a customer-focused and award-winning senior marketer, highly experienced in her field.  Currently working at Marketreach, she specialises in omni-channel marketing strategy and campaigns and has worked for agencies and clients, successfully leading B2B and B2C campaigns and projects for top brands across the customer lifecycle. Some of these include News UK, Sky, O2, Virgin, The Department of Health, Pfizer, WWF and Unilever.Aside from this, Sonia also mentors young entrepreneurs on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme to help them plan and grow their businesses

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