5 ways brands can thrive despite the increasing cost of marketing

    It’s about to be more expensive to connect with your target audience through the mailbox.

    It’s not surprising, really. Inflation is pushing up the cost of paper, postage and the transportation required to deliver your message. Unfortunately, everything costs more.

    For many, these are uncharted waters. How can you navigate them? What should you do to adapt to a world where it just costs more to do business?

    Here are five recommendations:

    First, stay the course

    Now is not the time to stop connecting with your target audience. People are under a lot of stress and need help right now. Advertisers can be part of the solution, with guidance, deals and opportunities to deliver on basic needs and self-care. Brands that prioritize engaging with consumers will stay top of mind and be rewarded with long-term loyalty.

    Second, measure your return

    You’re likely already doing this … sort of. But now that every dollar counts even more than ever, an objective assessment of the return on ad spend you are (or are not) getting for each campaign and tactic is critical.

    Your audience constantly changes behaviors and develops new media consumption patterns. Smart money says to test and learn what’s working to profitably drive sales. That will include evaluating new channels like social media platforms and Connected TV and homing in on the most effective media mix with tried-and-true tactics like shared direct mail packages and display advertising.

    This isn’t about making a choice between using direct mail or using digital marketing. Instead, as Christine Moorman recently said in Harvard Business Review, “When used together, traditional and digital marketing can reach more audiences, build and keep trust, and motivate buying from consumers who otherwise might tune out marketing messages.”

    Third, refine your offers

    Historically, consumers are more likely to seek out value during difficult economic times. That’s proving to be true in our current environment as people prioritize relevant offers.

    They want coupons and deals to help them stretch their spending as far as possible. Otherwise, they may have no choice but to stay at home and not spend at all.

    Tough economic realities also mean people value brands that deliver sincere, empathetic, and relatable messages. Just as you are trying to make the most out of the present circumstances, consumers want guidance on how to survive and thrive in these times.

    Fourth, be creative and flexible

    As important as it is to maintain your share of voice and stay top of mind with your audience, the current realities may require some adjustments. You hardly need to be reminded of supply chains issues, and it costs more just to advertise. Overcoming those difficulties will require creativity and flexibility.

    That may mean redirecting budget toward media that is readily available or cost-efficient or looking for a more reliable partner. Now might be the time to consider new formats, new tactics and new offers to account for logistical and financial headwinds. For instance, due to cost and availability, printing and mailing a monthly catalog might temporarily be shifted to a direct mail insert pointing recipients to an online experience.

    Fifth, lean in on reliable partnerships

    Even in the best of times, investing in mutually beneficial partnerships is smart — it becomes vital in difficult times. The best partners are those with whom you can openly share challenges and work together toward the best solutions.

    Addressing the rising cost of direct mail as a marketing tactic means investing in partnerships that offer:

    • The data and insight needed to find and target your ideal audience
    • Production flexibility for various formats and timelines, and access to paper given the current shortages
    • Print and digital media products that work together to engage your audience
    • A consistent record of delivering return on spending over the long term – especially in recessionary and inflationary times

    Direct mail still works

    Dollar for dollar, few marketing tactics rival direct mail’s long-term effectiveness, efficiency and ability to play well inside a robust omnichannel strategy. Since 2020, this powerful tool has experienced a renaissance of renewed interest among consumers.

    To learn more about how you can get the most out of your direct mail campaigns right now, check out our ebook, “This Direct Mail Moment.”


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