Why you should keep paper and digital communications
What’s the best strategy for communicating with customers these days? That is the big question many companies are facing, regardless of their industry.
Business communications in recent years have been conducted through multiple channels. Some people defend the rise of digital while others decry the death of paper. Businesses no longer know which option to choose to best communicate with their customers and partners.
But why favour one over the other? Several studies show that the smartest choice is a balance between the two. Paper and digital communications are meant to coexist. Read on for the proof.
Paper: a veteran and digital-age survivor
We’re in an age of digital transformation. But that doesn’t mean that print materials, and more specifically direct mail, should be eliminated.
A number one reason is that the global printing market was valued at US$783 billion in 2017. And it’s estimated to reach $814 billion by 2022, representing an annual gain of 0.8%. This perfectly illustrates the potential of the industry.
Despite these promising figures in the printing field, it’s true that the response rate to direct mail has dropped in recent years. But it’s still quite high at 4.4%. Meanwhile, email only achieved a 0.12% response rate (based on an analysis by the Direct Marketing Association). The analysis revealed that direct mail’s response rate is 10 to 30 times higher than that of digital.
In terms of effectiveness, a number of marketing studies (such as the study conducted by the CMO Council) confirm that more than two-thirds of recipients end up buying immediately after opening up paper mail, compared to only 45% for email.
Finally, in addition to this proven effectiveness, users say they like getting direct mail (Forbes). They hold on to it for an average of 17 days while an email lasts a matter of seconds. Most consumers note greater brand recall with direct mail, and they feel more valued because they sense a more authentic relationship with paper mail.
Expanding digital communications
It is blatantly clear that digital communications are growing daily. Statistics back this up. In 2017, the total number of business emails sent and received per day was 269 billion! That number is expected to climb to over 319 billion in 2021 (Radicati Group).
It’s not surprising that email has become the favourite channel among businesses. Its proven effectiveness and, more importantly, its return on investment have made it so. Fifty-nine percent of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for generating revenue (B2B Magazine). An ROI of $44 on each dollar spent confirms this!
Marketers like it, but so do B2B consumers: email is considered the third most influential source of information, behind colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.
Email: a success thanks to personalization
One of the reasons for email’s popularity is that you can personalize it and play with the user experience more than in the case of direct mail. In fact, emails that include personalization have a 75% higher open rate than those that don’t.
Another interesting statistic is that 81% of online shoppers who receive emails based on previous shopping habits were more likely to purchase than those who had simply received automatic emails as part of a marketing campaign.
Cost-effectiveness, efficiency, personalization and immediacy; email has it all. Yet it’s not the only recipe for success in business communications.
A winning combination: balancing digital with paper
In addition to these statistic-based arguments, it’s important to focus on the needs of consumers. Seventy-four percent of the B2B buyers surveyed by Forrester said they do more than half of their research online before buying offline. That’s why businesses need to mix digital with paper to best meet their customers’ needs. Buyers are asking for multichannel options so that they have a variety of content to help make their decisions.
This same survey found that half of B2B buyers prefer to make work-related purchases on the same websites they use for personal purchases. In future, they expect to make even more work-related purchases online.
The study also suggests that buyers are exposed to various multichannel options, and they seem to be more active, more loyal and more likely to spend. Another study by Royal Mail in England supports that observation: consumers spend 25% more when businesses use a combination of direct mail and email.
So companies have every reason to use both print and digital communications to meet their customers’ varied expectations. At Objectif Lune, we can help you bolster your multichannel communications. Feel free to contact one of our experts to guide you through it!