Friday, January 25, 2013

Why We Tip In Cash And Still Love The Mail

Every Door Direct Mail (pictured above)
My wife and I were sharing dinner recently at a Tulsa restaurant when it was time to pay. Our server had done a good job of being attentive while not overbearing so we agreed that a gracious tip was in order. As we customarily do, we handed the bill with our credit card to the waiter and proceeded to both open up our wallets and start digging for any bit of cash that we might have. Unfortunately, on this night though we only had a few dollars (about 10% of the bill) so we put the whole tip on our card.

This story might sound familiar to many of the cash tippers out there. For us cash tippers, we know the value of a cash tip as it’s the only definite way to know that your waiter has received the full reward for their good service. The value of a cash tip is that it’s real, in physical form, with every penny ready to deliver to exactly the right person. They take it home that night. And while physical cash holds no greater value than cash on a card, the closer and more physical it becomes, the greater the emotional value grows.

If we stop to look around at the world we live in, the cash tip phenomenon is at play all around us. Things become more valuable in physical form. And this is exactly why something like direct mail continues to be such a powerful advertising tool despite the significantly cheaper method of email marketing. Direct mail is a non-filtered form of print advertising that has the ability to connect with a person in a far greater way than an email never will. And despite what online marketers love to tell people, direct mail is here to stay. In fact, smart marketers are moving back to traditional mail because of it’s proven ability to create an easily measurable return on investment.

A recent study by the marketing firm Epsilon Targeting indicated that 73% of U.S. Consumers prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read the information at their convenience. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the study goes on to state that 73% of Americans say they receive a lot of emails that they simply do not open and that 70% received more emails in the past year than the year before. The pendulum towards email marketing over traditional direct mail can only swing so far before over saturation dilutes a message completely. 

The best marketers understand the importance of cross channel marketing. A well constructed multi-touch campaign that combines direct mail, an inbound call center and email is sure to outperform any single form of communication. But to exclude direct mail is short sighted. Just as a cash tip is the easiest way to ensure you are properly tipping your waiter, direct mail is the easiest and least invasive way to ensure your message gets to exactly the right person. And just like cash, it becomes extremely powerful in physical form. And if the recipient has any interest in the message at all, it will probably get saved, even if just for a few days. The power of a direct mail piece sitting inside of your potential customer’s home is obvious. If the recipient simply places direct mail on a table, takes it with them to work, attaches it to the fridge or cuts it up and inserts it into their wallet, direct mail has the potential to be viewed hundreds of times before it’s tossed away, either directly or indirectly. It’s billboard marketing inside a home. It’s cash in your wallet. It’s tangible. It’s real.