Digital marketing is currently the hot ticket right now. Politicians on both sides have found their own creative ways of incorporating social media into their campaigns. However, direct mail still continues to be the main cornerstone of political campaigns. This is because direct mail is effective at micro-targeting voters and getting information in their hands.
Targeting By Age Groups
Although most social advertising can target by age groups, it doesn’t account for the 45 % of seniors that do not have internet service The only way to reach these voters is through direct mail. According to the DMA Statistical Fact Book for 2015, 42% of direct mail recipients either read or scan direct mail pieces. It also states that 14% of people 45-54 respond to direct mail, while everyone above the age of 54 sits at an average of 13.2%.
The older generations are not the only ones who have a high average of responding to direct mail. The Fact Book also found that people between the ages of 18-24 are more likely to respond to a direct mail piece with a rise from 4.1% in 2012 to 12.4% in 2013. But there is one statistic that affects every age group, and that is how much mail people are receiving. The average household receives 19.1 mail pieces each week. That is down from 24.7 in 2008. That means your pieces have a better chance of being noticed as people sift through the mail.
Getting it Into The Voter’s Hands
With non-physical methods of advertising, there is a digital barrier that the campaign message has to overcome. With direct mail, you can put the message you want right in the person’s hands. Television advertising has become more expensive, and more difficult at getting the message across to the campaign target voter base. Much of this stems from the rise in DVRs and internet video streams, which allow voters to fast forward through advertising, or not be served as often.
Politico shared a case study that shows how critical a direct mail is to a political campaign. According to their article, Walter Lukens, founder of The Lukens Co., whose clients include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, used direct mail to compete against McConnell’s competition, Matt Bevin. The piece Politico used depicts Bevin on the front as a snake oil salesman which reads: “Genuine Bevin Brand Snake Oil: Behold the magical potion being spoon-fed to Kentucky Conservatives far and wide.” When you turn the piece over, the reader will see a picture of a bottle with “half-truths, resume inflation, and delusions of grandeur” listed as the ingredients. McConnell was successful at beating Bevin, winning by 25 points.
Any successful political campaign will incorporate direct mail. Relying only on digital assets will cause you to leave out crucial voter age groups, miss opportunities to get in front of your overall voter base, and force a campaign to fight with one arm tied behind its back. Even with the rise of digital marketing, it is clear that direct mail is not going anywhere anytime soon.