The digerati have reverted to sending out letters!

Print: it's interactive but in a different and perhaps more satisfying way from digital.

At the TFM&A conference I was struck by what Ashley Freidlein of Econsultancy said in his key note address.He started by holding up a letter from Google-the purest of digital brands admitting that nothing quite beats the offer you get in a letter

Ashley now promotes his training courses on all matters digital by sending out a brochure. After 10 years of saying “the future is virtual” he appears to be saying that nothing quite beats getting a brochure in your hands.
A DVD from Betfair comes through the post.-explaining how it works and with an offer ( strictly in the interests of research you understand). So we now know that the peer to peer betting exchange needs to use the post.
Other straws in the wind- Marketing magazine report that The Week is the publication that has most increased its circulation among ABC 1s-it says that its readers don’t want a website. (As a subscriber i can confirm that i don’t)
and Eurostar are trying to repair their battered image with a customer magazine-a lot more persuasive than gazing at a screen surely
For most brands, the physical ( ie a letter or a brochure ) and digital (eg an email or a tweet) are complementary and mutually reinforcing.
But nonetheless here is a mini counter trend. The digerati have had it all their own way for over 10 years-digital was the modern, paperless, low cost way to go and the mail oh so so old fashioned and sweaty and physical.

Now several digerati appear to be admitting that the best form of “interactivity” (a word digital folk have ’till now annexed) is physical not virtual. The dear old letter or lovely brochure that you tear open and read that is a more powerful and enduring form of interactivity. Why so?

Perhaps it is because it just counts a lot more if someone goes to the bother of getting your address right, printing stuff and posting it to you. It shows you care in a way that that the casual email ( lost among 100s of other) never can quite. ( or ever will).

It could be that a great piece of direct marketing will always feel like more of a gift than anything virtual ever can ( unless you transfer large amounts of cash to me – that would be a gift that does count). Gifts will never lose their power. Ask the Japanese or try forgetting to give your mum a Christmas present. Behavioural psychologists ( see Yes!) have also shown that if we give gifts people feel bound to reciprocate.

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