Postcards vs Emails: New Trends in Marketing
I am part of an interesting generation - those young enough to have always lived with and depended on the Internet, but old enough to remember registering for my first email account - on a dial up connection. I lived in a time when "junk mail" was a bigger problem for my parents than "spam." But the truth is, that has not been the case for awhile.
Now people rely more than ever on their email for information. Bills, letters between friends, company memos - it all comes to your inbox, multiple times a day. And now, with the huge surge of smart phones like the Blackberry or the iPhone, you can take your inbox with you, everywhere you go.
This level of access and availability is wonderful for a lot of reasons, but it is also frustrating, especially when it comes to advertisements. Advertisements come to your inbox more than they used to come to your house. There are a few reasons for this. First, it is free to email people, whereas it is not free to mail people. Second, since you access your inbox more than your mailbox, the idea is that you will be more susceptible to the ads.
However, in an interesting turn of events, there is a small school of marketers who believe the exact opposite. Their idea is that since the volume of traditional mail is down so low, that whatever comes in "snail mail" is more likely to catch the attention of people than what appears in your inbox. The concept is often referred to as "postcard profits" since the idea is that direct mailing postcards results in profits more often than emailing advertisements or offers.
This "postcard profits" marketing concept extends itself to research as well. Many marketers, politicians, and local communities are returning to mailers and inserts to gauge the opinions of their markets and home owners, turning your mailbox into a veritable opinion outpost. Some companies are even offering to pay people to return these traditional mail surveys, not unlike companies who offer compensation for online surveys.
The disadvantage - or advantage depending on your view point - for our community at large is that this potential increase in traditional mail does not necessarily mean there will be a decrease in our email advertisements or offers. In fact, since email offers and advertisements are still considered successful, our inboxes will probably still continue to grow as more companies and businesses switch to online systems. So we are simply looking at an increase in both email and traditional mail once again.
Whether or not you choose to look on the bright side and take advantage of these offers, or if you simply decide that the "bright side" is the couple extra steps you walk to your recycling bin on daily basis to get rid of these potential "postcard profits," the truth is we are looking at a long haul of people trying to take advantage of our "opinion outpost" - previously known as our mailboxes.