Integrating Direct Mail in Your Marketing Strategy

Mary Ann


July 12, 2021

I’ve written before about email marketing and how it remains an effective element of marketing strategy, even while seeming a bit outdated in this age of dynamic digital advertising. What may be more surprising is that direct mail can still provide a solid boost to a campaign’s ROI when integrated properly.

Who responds to direct mail?

Remarkably, direct mail is most effective with younger audiences. According to the USPS, a full two-thirds of Millennials use marketing mail “as a prompt to go online,” compared with just over half of Gen X and only 42 percent of Baby Boomers. And while only a quarter of Boomers and Gen X regularly purchase products promoted by direct mail, around 40 percent of millennials do.

“Younger people like the feel, the touch, the physical engagement of mail,” says Maureen Powers, President of Direct Marketing for RR Donnelley. In a swarm of emails, digital ads and social media, a physical piece of direct mail is a novelty that can really stand out—particularly if it’s personalized.

How do you personalize direct mail?

Personalizing a direct mail piece to an audience goes far beyond addressing the recipient by name. It includes making sure the imagery, messaging and offer speak to the recipient. For a piece promoting pet insurance, it could mean featuring puppies instead of kittens on postcards to dog owners. For a traffic driver to an event or storefront, it could mean including a customized map. Mail pieces to prospects could focus on a brand’s reputation and positive reviews; a version sent to customers might feature the same imagery and copy, but direct recipients to specific product web pages instead.

What does it cost?

Certainly, direct mail can cost more than digital or email marketing, because of the physical printing and postage required. With regular postage rate increases—and with rumors that another USPS rate hike could come this summer—it might be tempting to give up on direct mail and stick with digital. But there’s evidence that because it isn’t digital, direct mail makes a significant impact.

There are savings available, particularly if you’re willing to try new technologies. As part of their ‘Mailing Promotions Calendar,’ the USPS offers postage discounts to senders that use certain technologies in their mail pieces.

When looking to maximize the ROI of your marketing campaign, it’s always important to diversify the channels you use to spread your message. While digital captures more and more focus as a primary method of messaging, don’t forget about the continued effectiveness of direct mail to promote interest and drive readers to conversion and purchase.

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