Should Direct Mail Still be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

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As a Marketer, I have heard many times over the past 5-10 years, probably much like you have, that Direct Mail as a marketing tool is either dead, or has no place left among the plethora of online tools now available to the modern marketer. Here we consider some of the arguments that there’s life in the ol' tool yet!

Stand out from the crowd

Consider this; are you more likely to ”get seen” as one mailer in maybe two or three on any single day, or one email in 50 or one social post in maybe hundreds? There is so much online ”noise” these days that sometimes – even with the most compelling offer or creative design and message – people just “tune you out” if online is the only medium in your armoury. Here are a few statistics:

48% of the UK population responded to a Direct Mail piece in 2013
  • 48% of the UK population responded to a Direct Mail piece in 2013;
  • 62% of people like to receive mail about new special offers;
  • Direct Mail delivers one of, if not the, strongest ROI.

Create an experience

There are so many ways to use direct mail more creatively, such as folding techniques, personalisation, different paper weights, targeted messaging, varnishes and finishes. For both consumers and businesses, the days of receiving more than a couple of quality promotional mail pieces in the post each day are few and far between – so take the opportunity to make your mailing something the recipient will: a) remember and b) enjoy as a sensory and/or tactile experience.


Together with our audiences, we know that personalisation is not difficult to achieve nowadays, but it is widely accepted that people find it more ”real” when the use of names, products purchased and other personalising data features in a physical mailer, rather than in an email or other electronic communication.

Make your target audience feel valued

Our audiences are also aware that it is more expensive to send a physical mail piece compared with an email. Sending a direct mail piece gives a greater high end quality impression of an organisation, as people understand the value – especially of a really top quality piece – and therefore are more inclined to feel valued as a client or prospect.

Physical mail pieces can also be consumed at leisure and at a moment of the recipient’s choosing – there is less need to make a snap decision to ”read or delete” as is often the case with emails, just to keep on top of a constantly filling inbox.

Customer Profiling and Insight to inform segmentation

Our best prospects are our existing customers (think cross-selling and up-selling) so that’s a top segment in itself. From here, to get business from new prospects, you need to identify those prospects who most closely match the profile of your existing customer base – as those will have the best propensity to buy.

Profiling and insight can also help inform your best options for messaging and personalisation while helping you better target – therefore keeping down the numbers and costs of the mailers.


Monitoring responses using tracking URLs, personalised URLs, QR codes, promotional codes, dedicated phone lines, reply-paid response cards and other techniques are just as vital for direct mail as for any online marketing activity.

Measuring and evaluating the response to your direct mail piece should also inform future decisions regarding the audience groups for which direct mail works best, for what creatives and messages work best, and more.

In summary, we should continue – as always – to use the full variety of online and offline tools available to us in our marketing strategy. Monitoring and testing any campaigns we run and how they perform with different audience segments are also vital activities; but for now at least, on the whole, Direct Mail doesn’t seem to be losing its value and effectiveness.

  • Have you experienced particularly high response rates from direct mail campaigns?
  • How do you feel when you receive a really quality piece of direct mail?
  • What successes have you seen from physical mailers in the past?