Long live direct mail marketing

Long live direct mail marketing

In this digital age, where email and content marketing are the new and shiny communication platforms, has the traditional form of communication, the grandfather of marketing – good ol’ snail mail become extinct? Or are direct mailers still highly relevant and still have a place in a modern marketing strategy?

Since its arrival, digital media has certainly shaken up the status-quo of the marketing landscape. Digital media has enabled marketers to quickly connect with their target audience on a one-to-one basis like never before. However, this is not to say that the future is all about digital communications, nor is it purely about direct mailers.

Direct mail is highly appealing for marketers because it provides scope for personalisation, creativity, a range of formats and customer involvement. Rest assured direct mail is not going anywhere and below are four reasons why mailers should be part of an organisation’s marketing mix:

Highly targeted and individualised

When an organisation sends out direct mail they should make sure it is as personalised as possible. For example, mailers can contain tailored coupons, promotions and unique offers based on a consumer’s previous spending habits and preferences. Direct mailers can also address their consumers by name, as if the brand was speaking directly to them. Simply knowing where a person lives can also inform an organisation about a consumer’s demographic such as income, possible interests, etc. The above demonstrates how mailers can be packed with relevant information to entice the receiver and increase the connection between the brand and the consumer to build loyalty and advocacy.

Direct mail stands out and gets read

Without stating the obvious mailers are a physical media form, which are extremely user friendly, whereas emails, social media are virtual mediums. Direct mailers are given, received and handled. They are a tangible object delivered into consumers’ hands and often displayed, shared and kept. 39% say they have a dedicated display area for mail, usually in the kitchen, which means it is visible to everyone in the household. This demonstrates how mail leaves a deeper footprint on consumers’ minds for example, even if a consumer views a mailer as junk they may still have to physically hold it to throw it away and, whilst doing so, brands can try and grab their attention through engaging headlines. Overall, this creates an enduring power allowing brands to gain proximity to their prospects.

Inbox overload

Most of us receive far too many emails in our inbox than we are able to read in our time restricted society. One problem of email marketing is the issue of emails being discarded as according to a recent study, over 70% of emails received in people’s inboxes are considered spam. It is also argued that direct mailers can be considered scam, however the statistics beg to differ, for example a study by Epsilon showed that 77 per cent of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it being incentivised by loyalty schemes. From experience, having worked on direct mailers, I know for a fact that after attending many a focus group on behalf of Tesco Clubcard, a great deal of its 16 million members looked forward to receiving their Clubcard mailer in the post four times’ a year. To put the above into context, imagine this: you receive a congratulatory message from the Queen on your 100th birthday in an email format – it just doesn’t have the same impact, does it?


There is a lot of scope for mailers to be eye-catching and intriguing to ultimately connect and capture an audience’s attention. To begin with, there is a lot of room for creativity with the mailer’s envelope to signal to customers that the mail piece is worth opening, for example through handwritten font, funky colours and enticing banners.

Overall, what an opportunity to have so many possibilities at your disposal to make your marketing piece really stand out from the crowd, leading to a high response rate.

This is equally relevant to the B2B industry. A targeted direct mail campaign can provide you with the opportunity to include more personal sentiment, which is so often lost in the business environment. To receive something well thought-out and original could be refreshing.

As patient-powered health is becoming a reality and the technology market needs to adapt, the industry can certainly learn from B2C campaigns and direct mailers are a very good example.

The overall lesson – don’t dismiss the need for direct mail. Mailers should definitely be considered as a key component of your marketing budget, and used as part of an integrated strategy on and offline. They are highly relevant, the facts show that they have a high response rate and add an extra dimension.

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