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Meet Direct Mail’s Next-Door Neighbor

Woman opening package.
Jun 11, 2019

Even in the digital age, direct mail is enjoying an amazing renaissance. You may have noticed this yourself if you have checked your mailbox lately. Legacy brands and upstart direct-to-consumer players alike are using the channel to attract new customers, reactivate lapsed ones, and communicate with existing ones… and usually use a combination of these methods.

You may have also noticed within your mailbox, or possibly on your doorstep, one or more third-party advertisements in something you’ve received from your favorite brand, like a product shipment. If not, I invite you to meet direct mail’s next-door neighbor… insert media!

Like direct mail, inserts are pre-printed advertisements that feature a special offer. Like direct mail, insert media is scalable and targetable. Insert media doesn’t carry some of the high costs of direct mail, most notably postage. With inserts, an advertiser pays a participating retailer, cataloger, or publisher to ride in their customer touchpoint. They distribute the insert to their customers in a category exclusive environment, which further adds the benefit of an implied brand endorsement. The cost of doing business? A fraction of direct mail.

What else makes insert media work?

  • Advertisers can utilize a wide range of possible formats. With a myriad of size and paper combinations, advertisers can make a maximum impact with their insert.
  • It drives cross-channel results. Inserts drive prospects to multiple paths of purchase.
  • And it’s highly measurable. Insert media can be measured to determine the impact of the media on the campaign.

Insert media has been around for decades and accounts for spend north of $9 billion annually. Hundreds of brands use inserts to acquire new customers across a wide range of demographic, lifestyle, and psychographic segments. Insert media can deliver many new customers at a low cost and with significant reach. From a quality of customer and lifetime value standpoint, inserts almost always provide higher quality backend customers than non-search online channels and broadcast. And the fact that consumers are in a positive state of mind having just received something they’ve ordered is a strong driver of the responsiveness of inserts.

Inserts have produced – and continue to produce – positive ROI for hundreds of brands. With its low point of entry, insert media should be part of any brands’ media mix.

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