How the Financial Services Industry Uses Direct Mail to Reach Consumers


How-the-Financial-Services-Industry-Uses-Direct-Mail-to-Reach-ConsumersEvery industry uses marketing methods in different ways, and sometimes there are benefits to be gained from knowing what others are doing. The financial services industry makes good use of direct mail, particularly when marketing to millennials. This flies in the face of current thinking that younger audiences are only reachable through digital marketing channels, so we took a look at how the industry is doing it and how well it’s working.

Pushing the Envelope

While other industries are scaling back on traditional marketing methods in favor of online marketing, a report by a Chicago-based researcher showed that the use of direct mail to millennials grew more than any other group between 2010 and 2014. This demographic, born between 1980 and 1999, are now aged between 20 and 40 years. The market segment received almost 40% of all financial services offers sent by direct mail in 2014—an increase of 10% from 2010.

Skipping the Mobile – Sometimes

Interestingly, in spite of the fact that the use of mobile has exploded in the past couple of years, direct mail offers specifically for banking products mostly skipped mobile as a response option. Instead, these provided a URL, a toll-free number or suggested the consumer visit a local branch to take up the offer. This could be an attempt to increase local uptake of the offers and indicates the industry is focused on targeting local audiences. This doesn’t appear to apply to credit card providers, however, who are promoting mobile options more than their banking partners.

Combining with Technology

In spite of the increase in direct marketing to millennials, the financial services industry isn’t turning its back on technology. The research shows increased usage between 2010 and 2014 of channels such as content marketing and social media. Downloadable content still plays a large role in gathering leads and building up the target list for both email marketing and direct mail campaigns. This is a great example of multi-channel marketing (MCM) at its best, and with the wealthy financial sector using MCM it indicates how powerful it can be.

The Moral of the Story

This shows that in spite of the focus on digital marketing methods, the financial services industry has not only retained traditional direct mail as a primary way to reach its clients but has adapted it to the digital environment.

The moral of the story? Just because your target audience is under 40 years doesn’t mean direct mail won’t reach them. In fact, this research proves it could be a long time before technology can fully replace a letter in hand when in comes down to whom they will trust with their money.

Direct Mail Best Practices