Online and digital marketing has become the primary go-to platforms for many businesses, industries and sectors. Not only do people make the assumption that online marketing will be easier, but that it also may be more cost-effective. This can leave direct mail marketing or traditional marketing options struggling to grab attention from marketers in a digitally driven world.

Does this mean that direct mail marketing is no longer relevant?

The answer isn’t so much is direct mail relevant, but more so what marketing techniques will be the most impactful? Whether you use online or offline marketing to attract attention to your product or business, or gain traction with new and existing customers, the key to a successful marketing campaign is much deeper than simply choosing one of convenience. How you strategize and use data to measure your ROI is the most essential part of any marketing plan.

So, what is direct mail? 

Direct mail is the form of direct marketing where letters, post cards, brochures, and promotional items are sent to highly targeted prospective customers through the mail.


Direct Mail advertising is still a vital and viable marketing tool in today’s landscape when accompanied by a plan of attack driven by information and potential prospect data. The key to success is targeted marketing.

Targeted marketing is identifying an audience likely to buy your services or products and then promoting those services and products to that desired audience. Once your demographic or sector has been identified, you proceed with the development of a direct mail marketing campaign and specific products for that market segment.

A lemonade vendor will have a better chance to sell his refreshing drink on a hot day in the summer at a carnival than he would in late autumn at a business complex. You have to be able to identify your customers wants and needs and also identify the best marketing approach to earn the greatest response.

Top marketers are becoming wise to the fact that sending direct mail to an audience who appreciates receiving it while also tailoring it to their needs is the best way to convert potential prospects.


The most valuable statistic for any mass marketer is response rate. If you aren’t generating a response, you aren’t going to be successful. That’s why this next section may come as a surprise to some of you, but it shouldn’t. Direct mail marketing not only has a higher response rate than email marketing – it leads by a wide margin and has actually increased its lead over the past few years.

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s Response Rate Report, the direct mail response rate for prospects in 2018 was 4.9%. This was the highest percentage since the report originated in 2003. Even if you combined all other online channels response rates, they wouldn’t come close to direct mail. Email only had a 1% response rate in 2018 while social media and paid research also checked in at a mere 1% during the past year.

If we return to the question of whether direct mail is still relevant, the data overwhelmingly says it is.


One of the biggest misnomers about direct mail is that it gets lumped in with all the other mail and lost in the shuffle. That is merely a lazy assumption, which holds little weight. In fact, the exact same argument would actually be a more accurate description of online marketing. There is so much clutter in our digital world that emails, online ads and other digital offerings become so monotonous that they are rarely viewed or consumed in the depth needed to convert from a solicitation to a conversion. It is much easier to be recognized in an actual mailbox than a virtual one.

Your success will ultimately be based on the presentation of your marketing and whether it resonates with your end-user. This is where direct mail is so advantageous. Your design and presentation of your direct mail has a greater chance of not only being seen, but unlike a comparable online solicitation, it will be felt. There is an emotional impact associated with a direct mail piece that cannot be replicated online. Playing into something that your audience can touch and feel is the great differentiator of direct mail.


Sometimes the best path to take is the one less traveled. With the emergence of online marketing, many marketers have disregarded direct mail to go all-in on the online bandwagon. This actually creates a vacuum for you to become more of an outlier by utilizing direct mail marketing when others aren’t. Finding a way to separate yourself from your competition is everyone’s goal and your competitors may be leaving the door open for you by focusing so much on online options that they forget one of the most proven and effective methods of all – direct mail.


Direct Mail is more than just a trusted platform for marketers. It is a trusted platform for consumers. A recent study identified that 76% of consumers trust direct mail when it comes to making a purchase (Marketing Sherpa). That exceeded any of the online channels within the same study. Additionally, direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable by requiring 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (“A Bias For Action,” Canada Post).

The reason that direct mail has been an industry standard for decades is that it is easy to process, promotes high brand recognition and leaves an incredible mark with your targeted audience to provide the greatest return on investment.

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