Business development · 25 May 2016

Reluctant to relinquish control of marketing, should small business owners reconsider direct mail?

direct mail
Almost 80 per cent of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, while less than half deal with emails as soon as they receive them

Almost 70 per cent of British small business owners would prefer to retain control of their firm’s marketing activities, according to new research carried out by Royal Mail MarketReach.

Just 16 per cent of those company leaders surveyed would be happy completely outsourcing marketing activities, the survey also revealed.

The results have been published to coincide with the launch of a new online service to help small firm owners create their own postal marketing campaigns. MailshotMaker allows entrepreneurs to design and send promotional materials to potential new customers – and its creators have boasted that the whole process can be completed in three working days.

“We wanted to break down misconceptions that mailshots can be old-fashioned, complicated or expensive. That is simply not the case. Mailshots can bring businesses to life in an engaging, impactful way,” said Royal Mail MarketReach managing director Jonathan Harman.

An independent assessment of the UK postal market carried out by PwC on behalf of Royal Mail in 2011 highlighted that the proportion of marketing budgets commanded by direct mail has been in decline since 2004.

Yet it also revealed that one-third of British consumers preferred to receive printed catalogues in the post than visit a company’s website.

Additional research carried out by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Hewlett Packard in 2013 found that almost 80 per cent of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, while less than half deal with emails as soon as they receive them.

It also shed light on the way that printed marketing interacts with digital business development strategies, with 44 per cent of people who received something in the post from a brand they like saying they would visit the company’s website in response.

The consumers surveyed were most open to receiving direct mail from small local shops. They also valued personalisation highly, with three-quarters citing this as important.

“Many people today easily could choose to conduct their lives entirely online, but they don’t,” said DMA communications director Rachel Aldighieri.

“For brands to market effectively in a truly connected world, they must fully recognise the role that print communications play and will continue to play for many years to come.”

Looking for some expert advice to help you decide which marketing channels to pursue? Our Small Business School could be just the ticket.

Image: Shutterstock

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

Q&A

If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

From the top

Find out how KPMG Small Business Accounting can really work for you

FIND OUT MORE