Direct Mail Still Works

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Has Digital Advertising Rendered Direct Mail Obsolete?

Have your clients been avoiding direct mail because they think digital media is more effective? A number of recent studies show that’s simply not the case. Direct mail’s strong engagement rates make it a viable marketing option.

Direct mail gets read

For example, Canada Post found that consumers are more likely to notice and read direct mail (53%) than email (26%).1 InfoTrends’ survey of over 900 U.S. consumers also found that people do indeed read their mail. Their research showed that 66% of direct mail is opened, with 82% of these pieces being read for a minute or more.2 This is especially impressive when you consider that consumers on average completely ignore 82% of online ads!3

Direct mail gets acted upon

Of course, it’s not just that direct mail gets noticed and read. Results are what matters, and direct mail delivers here, too:

  • Direct mail response rates outperform all digital channels combined by nearly 600%.4
  • Direct mail garners three times more charitable donations than emailed appeals.5
  • A whopping 92% of consumers get ideas for shopping trips from printed material.6
  • Over 40% of consumers say that they have made a purchase in the last three months because of a piece of direct mail that they received.7

Millennials engage with direct mail, too

What about Millennials, the generation born roughly between 1981 and 2000? You might think this digital-savvy group doesn’t notice direct mail. Not so. The reality is, more than half of Millennials ignore digital advertising…while most of them read the direct mail they receive.

Specifically, 82% of Millennials read direct mail from retail brands, 79% read direct mail from grocery stores and 69% read direct mail from clothing and accessory stores.8

On top of this, 50% love and look forward to receiving retail catalogs, and 49% like catalogs so much that they wish that some of the companies they do business with had one.9 Plus, here’s another interesting finding during this presidential election year: 42% of Millennials prefer direct mail political ads to online ads, and 40% of them thoroughly read political mail, versus just 18% of the rest of the population.10

Direct mail belongs in the marketing mix

What does all of this mean for your clients? It means that it’s time for them to give direct mail another look! They’ll find that direct mail offers high delivery and readership rates, credibility, narrow targeting and extreme personalization. It’s a tactile media that stimulates the senses and emotions and, above all, works.

1 Canada Post, Breaking Through the Noise: How direct mail combines the intimacy of ritual, the impact of physicality and the power of data-driven relevance to send a signal that resonates.
2 InfoTrends, Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth.
3 Harris Interactive, Most of Us Ignore Online Ads.
4 Direct Marketing Association, 2015 DMA Response Rate Report.
5 Campbell Rinker, Donor Confidence Survey.
6 Canada Post, Breaking Through the Noise.
7 InfoTrends, Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services.
8 Quad Graphics, Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse.
9 Ibid
10 United States Postal Service and the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC), Political Mail and Millennials: Young Voters Paying Close Attention to Direct Mail