Direct Mail Marketing: Some Surprising News


Never underestimate the power of conventional marketing. Sure, digital marketing is flexing major muscle. Nevertheless, online options are far from being the final word. In fact, in many instances, long-established conventional methods may surpass the effectiveness of digital solutions.

Case in point is direct mail. Thought that was yesterday’s news? Guess again. On many fronts, the paper n’ print medium trounces the digital competition. Let’s start with response rates.

According to the 2018 ANA/DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail pulls ahead of many competing media by a wide margin. Here are some notable results: Direct Mail – 9%, ; Email, Paid Search, and Social Media each got a grand total of 1%.

Translated into mathematic terms, direct mail garnered 9 times the response rate as the digital competitors. This is big news. After all, connecting with recipients is fine. But unless they take a desired action, whatever it is, you’ve missed the boat. Direct mail does a creditable job of triggering necessary responses.

Apparently, a sizeable chunk of marketers and businesses are getting the message. As revealed by the previously mentioned report, 81% of those surveyed intended to continue or up their usage of direct mail in the coming year.

Perhaps the most telling fact, however, is the personal impact of the great paper n’ print medium.  Apparently, “The tangible aspect of direct mail leaves a deeper footprint in the brain” – This is the finding of a study entitled ‘Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail’ conducted by Millward Brown and Bangor University.

The study amplified this position by asserting that direct mail requires more “emotional processing”, which in turn enhances both memory and brand associations.

Temple  University and the U.S. Postal Service conducted their own research, revealing that direct mail performance surpassed that of email in 5 out of 9 tests.

Unquestionably, brand marketers should not overlook the value of direct mail in their advertising campaigns. Depending on product, customer profile, and other factors, paper n’ print may prove a robust complement to digital messaging.

If you have questions or comments about direct mail marketing, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.