Why Print Still Matters (a Lot) in Community Banking

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Print is dead.

Long live digital!

(I mean… right?)

Wrong. Regardless of what you’ve heard or how many times you’ve heard it, print marketing still holds a lot of sway in the 21st century.

In his evergreen article, “9 Priceless Tips for Financial Marketers,” digital marketer Gary Vaynerchuk offers a lot of valuable advice to financial institutions (FIs) wanting to get the best digital bang for their buck. However, there was one point that caught our attention:

  1. Stop using direct mail and billboards. Sure they work, but it’s all about alternatives for those dollars. “I literally have clients spending more on billboards than Facebook,” says Vaynerchuk. “Have you ever noticed that every single person who are passengers in a car—and even a lot of drivers!—are looking at their phones? They’re not seeing billboards.”

To be fair, the format of the article doesn’t allow Vaynerchuk to offer much nuance. You’ll also note that in the blurb above, Vaynerchuk does say that direct mail works. His point is that it doesn’t offer enough ROI to justify its expense. That’s where we disagree.

Let’s look at a few pieces of data that illustrate our point:

  • 71% of Baby Boomers says mail—including direct mail—feels more personal than digital communications.
  • 88% of Gen Xers want a blend of physical and digital experiences.
  • Millennials are the generation most likely to visit a website listed on a piece of direct mail.
  • 82% of Gen Z will buy from brands with positive reviews (which you can highlight in direct mail).

Direct mail is critical for our clients.

For decades, Haberfeld has seen compelling evidence of direct mail’s success on behalf of the FIs we serve, i.e. small- to mid-sized community banks and credit unions. Our clients are fundamentally woven into their communities, and we tailor their marketing, including direct mail pieces, to speak to the unique struggles, histories, and values of where they are.

In short, we use data-driven direct mail marketing because it’s proven to get the best ROI.

Direct mail is good for just about everyone.

There’s a case to be made that direct mail is a worthwhile endeavor for every FI. Consider this data from a report created by the Direct Marketing Association

  • At 4.4%, direct mail’s response rate is higher than that of email (0.6%).
  • Direct mail has less competition. As digital ads have increased, our physical mailboxes have actually become less cluttered, and this gives direct mail a better opportunity to stand out and make an impact.
  • It’s tangible in a meaningful way. From The Private Life of Mail: “Giving, receiving, and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.”
  • 71% of direct mail is opened, about 3x to 4x higher than email open rates.
  • The average read rate for direct mail is around 42%.

Digital marketing is crucial, and we wouldn’t encourage any FI to go all-print. Our point here is that, when used deliberately and in tandem with digital marketing, direct mail’s impact can be astounding.

If you’d like to know more about how Haberfeld uses both digital and print marketing to double our clients’ core deposit rates and customer acquisition rates, please get in touch!

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