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August 1, 2020

Has Direct Mail Lost it’s Luster in Marketing?

Once the digital age came around, it seemed that marketing would forever be changed. Sales too. The audience was simply a different breed and expectations ran high. That means a lot of marketing departments seemed to abandon their direct mail campaigns. But is it an art form that’s truly dead?

Perhaps not.

A survey by the Data and Marketing Association reported that the direct mail response rate had increased by 43% from just a year. The prospect response rate increased by 190% just a few years ago, and the trend continues to rise.

So, what makes this still a profitable avenue?

Return on Investment

Direct mail has a median ROI of 29% which makes it just third behind email and social media. In fact, social media is ahead by only 1%. Although this may not seem high, consider that paid search only has an ROI of 23%—and that’s a business investment.

Digital Marketing Strategy

Every digital marketing strategy uses multiple channels. A smart marketer wouldn’t just run paid ads and call it a day. They consider paid search, social media, and various other channels to gain traffic. While a business shouldn’t just invest in direct mail, it should be one of the options in your marketing bag of tricks.

If you want to combine channels, consider sending out a mailer with a scannable code or hashtag to cross over.


Direct mail is incredibly trackable. Although there is no automatic way to trace direct response rates, it doesn’t mean you can’t track results. If the goal is to have leads call in, choose a phone number unique to your direct mail campaign. This can then be quantified.

If the goal is to get people to visit a website, you can create a unique landing page to track the end game. When people click on the landing page, you can then test the efficacy of the direct mail campaign.

Grabs Attention

Direct mail gets attention. Most people know they have to sift through their mail each day and look at every piece to determine the importance. It virtually guarantees your direct mail campaign will at least get seen.

In fact, 80% of direct mail recipients will scan or read each piece before throwing anything away. Which makes sense. What if it’s a check?

Brand Awareness

Direct mail also increases brand awareness. How much closer can you get to a customer than their mailbox? It’s the kind of advertising and marketing that is tangible. People are holding your brand in their hands. For that reason, consistent mailing will always increase brand awareness.

All Ages

Direct mail is for all age groups and applies to everyone. Unlike social media, even kids can receive mail and are allowed in that marketing space. Likewise, for an older demographic. They are much more likely to respond to physical mail than an email. Consider that only 59% of people between the ages of 65 to 69 own a smartphone.


Unlike digital media, direct mail can reach more of your senses. Most digital campaigns only focus on sight and hearing. Sometimes you can appeal to a sense of touch with interactive hardware (not as common).

Direct mail takes advantage of all five senses: hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell. You can send people samples attached to mailers or cards that smell like your brand’s scent. This result is a multi-sensory experience that creates a lasting impression.

Overall, it’s your choice whether or not to use direct mail. It can be an expensive avenue to explore and if a mistake is made, it’s disastrous. However, it’s some of the most effective marketing we have today and it’s not going anywhere soon.








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