Trends, even antiquated ones, seem to have a way of coming back around, and marketing to fans appears to be no exception based on a recent re-emergence of snail mail, with an increasing number of artists falling back on the postal service to contact fans via physical mailings.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
Things have a way of coming full circle, when something old becomes new again. Hit songs come back around, old commercials and marketing come back (Coke), audio formats (8-track and cassette tapes), and even products become hot again (witness the MacDonald’s Schezwan sauce thanks to a Rick And Morty episode). Probably the last thing that anyone would expect in this high-tech world we now live in is for snail mail to come back though, but it looks like that might be the case too.
This year numerous bands have reached out to their fans via snail mail, and have had good results doing so. Pearl Jam and Taylor Swift have done so on special occasions in the past, but not so famous groups like The XX, Animal Collective, Toro Y Moi, King Krule and Band New have all experimented with reaching out to fans via the old US Mail for anything from announcing special shows to new releases.
Why are they doing this? Getting in touch digitally now has so many barriers that something physical in your hands has become a novelty and is sure to gain your fan’s (or a reviewer’s) attention. Things have flipped 180 degrees from the turn of the century, where physical mail was king.
While this is a great strategy, the big downside is that it can cost some serious money when it comes to sending real snail mail. A one ounce letter now costs $0.49, plus an extra 21 cents for each additional ounce. A post card is cheaper, but still costs 35 cents a piece. Send a couple thousand of these out you may not have the dough for that next studio date or tour.
Still, marketing is all about catching the prospective viewer or reader’s attention, and snail mail is enough of a novelty that it can work, but at a cost. Read more and see some examples in this article in StereoGum.