Digital EnvelopeAs media choices and considerations broaden through search, email, social, online, and mobile channels, direct mail remains a key driver of sales for many marketers. The reality is that digital marketing now plays an even-more critical role in any media mix; but despite what some naysayers forecast, direct mail is not going away. By all accounts, online marketers that incorporate direct mail into their media mix achieve a higher return on investment and greater success with their campaigns.

Three major reasons why direct mail is critical in the digital world:

  1. Impact — Compared to email inboxes, postal mailboxes are not nearly as full. Email inboxes continually become inundated with business and personal messages along with offers from online stores, spam, and unsolicited email, which quickly get trashed. However, a huge majority of postal recipients immediately bring in their mail and spend an average of 30 minutes reading it. Many consumers say they read their postal mail to relax.
  2. Response— According to the Direct Marketing Association, over 33% of all direct mail recipients respond online. Similarly, comScore Networks, in a study commissioned by the U.S Postal Service®, found that direct mail and catalog recipients are more likely to make an online purchase than shoppers who do not receive direct mail. The same study found that the direct mail recipients buy more items and spend more money online as well.
  3. Media Preferences— Recipients pay as much attention to postal mail as email. Among all U.S. consumers, direct mail is the preferred method for receiving brand communications. Approximately, 60 percent of consumers still prefer to receive catalogs by direct mail. Plus, members of younger generations tend to prefer to receive marketing offers through direct mail and newspapers rather than online. In general, all recipients believe that marketers send too many email messages.

By placing your marketing information directly into the hands of your prospect, you create a more-intimate touchpoint with that person. A mail piece can be more thought-provoking than a banner ad or email. Add the fact that personalization typically generates triple the response rates over non-personalized direct mail, you quickly see that modern direct mail can play a vital role in the success of your marketing plan.

With variable-data print technology, marketers can create eye-catching mailers as personal as the data that resides in their customer and prospect databases. Names can be printed big and bold. Images and copy can be customized based on such information as gender, age and past transactions. Coupons can even vary depending on consumer demographics and purchase history. Today, it’s all about being relevant to your customers and now it’s possible to send each and every prospect a customized mail piece that speaks to his or her needs.

The good news is that traditional direct marketers do not need to produce and assemble elaborate packages and catalogs for every mailing like they once did. Now you can print and mail smaller and more-targeted direct mail pieces that save money on printing and postage.


Levey, Richard H. and Gordon Plutsky, “Direct Mail Lets Online Marketers Stay In Front of Customers Longer: Q&A,”Chief Marketer, Chief Marketer Network: PROMO | DIRECT, last posted February 27, 2012,

“Finding the Right Channel Combination”, 2010 Consumer Channel Preference Study, Epsilon Targeting,

“Physical Mail Still Preferred by Many”, ZDNet, last posted May 2010,

“Statistically Speaking, Direct Mail Soars to New Heights,” Deliver Magazine, last posted July 1, 2011,

“The Formula for Success: Preference and Trust”, 2011 Consumer Channel Preference Study, Epsilon Targeting.

“The Mail Moment,” U.S. Postal Service Study, InnoMedia Inc.,

Learn more about how to integrate direct mail into your marketing campaign: