Think back to the most recent Christmas season. Lots of food, family, fun – and what else? Catalogs! Did you receive lots of catalogs in your mailbox? Of course you did. Because direct mail is relevant. They’re still faithful, uber-important guests at the marketing party.

With the proliferation of electronic marketing – social media, email, text and more – word around the water cooler has been that direct mail is dead. Negative, Ghostrider. We’re here to say that direct mail is relevant.  It’s alive, well, and here to stay.

While the volume of direct mail is undoubtedly down over the last decade, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it indicate decreased effectiveness. It just means there are now additional and different guests at your marketing party to help lead your customer to being in love with your brand. To learn more about that, read our post about Customer Lifecycle Marketing.

Consider these 6 reasons why direct mail is relevant and should stay on the invitation list:

  1. Direct gets read (or at least scanned)

    The United States Postal Service 2014 Household Diary Study (page 47) revealed that 87% of households either read or scan their advertising mail. Wow.

  2. Young whippersnappers

    The folks that don’t know that computers weren’t always around, think print is cool and they respond to it. The Washington Post reports that millennials – the original digital natives — prefer print. What’s more, the Data Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association) discovered that direct mail response by 18-21 olds increased from 4.1% in 2012 to 12.4% in 2013. That’s noteworthy.

  3. Less is more

    In this day and age we need to be careful with what we communicate.  There’s an old advertising adage: “All emphasis is no emphasis.” When we’re bombarded with loads of messages, very few get any play. However, since there’s not as much direct mail in our mailboxes as there once was, there’s not as much clutter.

  4. Direct mail is fridge-worthy

    That means it’s visible every day of the year. Dozens of non-profit organizations send calendars or magnets to their supporters each year. Why? Because who can resist pining up a calendar of baby elephants? As a result, you see those baby elephants and are reminded to support those baby elephants every day of the year. That’s genius.

  5. Direct mail is the supreme king 

    It delivers lengthy, deliciously persuasive copy and photos galore. Once recipients open your envelope, package or catalog, you have entered into their lives to sit and chat for a bit. Studies show that people spend more time with direct mail and are less distracted while reading it than electronic messages. Experience has shown it’s a strong guest to have at the party for ultimately closing the deal.

  6. Direct mail is a team player

    Faithful friend direct mail isn’t a competitor to its electronic marketing brethren or any other media; we think it’s a complement. Each tactic has its place to move the customer from brand awareness to brand advocacy. For example, when you received those catalogs in the mail, pored over them with a cup of tea and decided to make a purchase, how did you ultimately buy? Online? That’s two guests at the party who worked together to make the sale.


Read about the Power of Storytelling