McCann CEO and ‘The Mail Moment’
At the 2016 National Postal Forum, Harris Diamond, CEO of advertising giant McCann Erickson addressed members of the mail industry with a compelling talk about the impact of direct mail. Diamond cited a study conducted by McCann that found the average American spends 25 minutes with their mail every day, which Diamond referred to as ‘The Mail Moment’.
“You come home from work, the mail in one hand, the cell phone in your pocket, and you sit down to go through the mail,” Diamond said at the National Postal Forum. “It’s an important moment in people’s lives and one that presents great marketing opportunities.”
We’re inundated with thousands of digital messages a day through emails, text messages, banner ads and tweets that easily get lost in the crowd. These messages are quickly forgotten and replaced by the latest news bite or social media announcement. In contrast, physical printed mail remains a valuable opportunity to connect with consumers in a lasting way.
An article from Scientific American reinforces this point. The article cited laboratory experiments and consumer studies that demonstrate how “modern screens fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way.”
When a consumer receives a message through direct mail, this physical handling of a tangible item leaves a strong impression in a way that an email blast or online message can’t achieve. But McCann’s Harris Diamond still sees digital technologies playing a role in direct mail.
“Mail is on the edge of a new frontier,” said Diamond. “It has the potential to be more powerful than ever before.” Unique textures, scents, shapes, folds and cuts engage the senses and catch consumers’ attention in novel ways. But combined with innovative digital modes, we may even see the use of technologies like augmented reality to enhance the experience. In adapting novel technologies, direct mail evolves, continuing to play a pivotal role in consumer advertising.