Print-Plus: Are Postcard Mailings Effective?
Sure, many multichannel retailers today are testing postcard mailings in an effort to drive web traffic in place of mailing catalogs. But, while mailing postcards is less expensive than catalogs, do they really work? And are they cost effective?
There's more to consider than simply the cost difference between the two format options. While postcards are less expensive to produce, sales per thousand pieces mailed is considerably less. And the cost per square inch of selling space is considerably more. In terms of contribution to profit and overhead, mailing catalogs is the clear winner.
In the marketing tool box, there's a place for postcards. They can be effective when used in conjunction with — and not in place of — catalog mailings.
Postcards are attention getting and can motivate buyers to take action as long as the mailing is clear, concise and actionable. They're OK when used to drive retail store traffic, and they can be effective driving web traffic (although not always).
However, a single, two-sided postcard cannot begin to replace a multipage catalog in terms of contribution to profit and overhead.
The chart here compares the cost of three different formats: a 48-page catalog, a postcard and a slim-jim catalog. The postcard costs approximately $0.21, or 40 percent less than the cost of mailing the 48-page catalog in our example. A 32-page slim jim is only $0.09 more than the postcard, a difference of 27 percent — more on slim jims later.
Depending on the quantity, the postage for a postcard would range from $235/M to $257/M, not that much less than a full catalog, especially considering the limited space. Postcard printers wouldn't typically have drop-ship savings, so postage may be on the higher end of the range. The printing would be in the range of $.05 each, so cost per square inch for a postcard is approximately $2.77 per million.