Email Spam Laws and Digital Ad Competition Gives Direct Mail an Advantage

October 07, 2020

The laws around online marketing are changing fast, bringing new and unpredictable challenges for both business owners and marketing agencies. While most marketers appreciate the opportunity to collect more data on website visitors and email subscribers (and thus make more data-driven decisions), most governments are starting to crack down on how that data is used.

One of the biggest lessons we’re learning from the fast-changing digital landscape is the value of traditional marketing. Direct mail has slowly become less popular over the years, especially as businesses shift to do nearly all business online. At the same time, digital advertising has become incredibly competitive—ads are shown on nearly every platform and consumers see enough ads to quickly tune them out.


The Reliability of Data-Driven Direct Mail

To an extent, direct mail already can have a similar effect—plenty of grocery store circulars or cable company discounts end up in the trash before they’re ever read. This is where data-driven direct mail has a real opportunity to shine and provide real results. 

Let’s say you just listed your home for sale, and while you may have an interested buyer, you’re probably still several weeks away from finalizing your moving plans (if you don’t have an interested buyer, it could be months before you really start boxing things up and shopping for nearby storage units). In this scenario, what’s more helpful: An ad for discounted cable services if you lock into a 2-year contract or a promotion for a local moving company offering flexible pricing?

There’s no wrong answer, but it would be surprising if you wanted to lock into a cable package when you’re planning to move out within the next few months. 

At this stage in a marketing campaign, some businesses may be comparing costs between emailing a few hundred people and sending printed postcards. But here’s where things get more complicated: It may seem cheaper to use email marketing alone, but strict data privacy laws are making it difficult to ensure inbox placement and consumer loyalty.


Staying Compliant with Email Marketing is Harder Than Ever

Email marketing is widely praised as one of the most effective ways to nurture leads and generate sales, but we don’t always hear about how quickly this is starting to change. While it is true that email often has high conversion value and overall ROI, it’s necessary to comply with changing data privacy laws.

This has been a dynamic issue in different parts of the world for many years and has led to stricter regulations on how to market to consumers. In the U.S., businesses are required to follow CAN-SPAM laws, which dictate what kind of content you may include and how to handle a recipient’s contact information. 

While this all may sound like “old news”—CAN-SPAM has been around since 2003—data privacy has become a major area of concern in recent years. As marketing technology has evolved, data collection and audience targeting has become sophisticated enough to collect personally identifying information. The concern now is how businesses can safely store this information and protect customers from having their information end up in the wrong hands.


Digital Ads See New Restrictions and More Competition

Digital ads are also seeing subject to increasingly stricter compliance requirements. For years, this advertising medium operated without much oversight or regulation but as of 2019, businesses in housing, employment, and credit are now subject to new laws to prevent discrimination. 

Other industries may not have been immediately affected, but those that are subject to these new regulations have had to increase digital ad budgets just to stay competitive. Moreover, these regulations introduce a precedent for how companies and businesses are expected to use targeting tools in good faith—and when they fail to do so, there can be long-term consequences.

Above all else, it is more competitive than ever to outbid competitors and get ads in front of the right audience. As more companies increase budgets and take total ownership of certain keywords and phrases, smaller businesses and even medium-sized businesses are forced to either follow suit or spend hours on strategies that will earn them results in whatever space remains.


How to Compete in Today’s Marketing Landscape

Most experts recommend taking an omnichannel approach. This is something we highlighted in our most recent blog, Understanding Omnichannel Marketing and the Role of Direct Mail —the big takeaway is to use direct mail in conjunction with your existing digital strategy. This gives your ideal audience more than one channel to interact on, strengthening overall brand awareness and customer experience.

Learn how you can add a data-driven direct mail campaign in your marketing efforts by contacting our team today. FMAdata supports businesses across industries with verified, comprehensive lead lists. We update our data daily and offer full-service postcard fulfillment to ensure your marketing materials reach your audience as soon as possible.

Click the button below or call 833-410-DATA(3282) today.