Direct mail marketing has much in common with vinyl, video rentals and radio stations: at one time or another, they were declared dead.
Fortunately, the reports of direct mail’s death are greatly exaggerated. Direct mail is alive and well, and still delivers strong results when used as part of a targeted and strategic marketing plan.

But the question remains: does analog marketing still work in a digital world?

Print Should Still be Part of Your Marketing Plan

Though digital is still the preferred method to reach the masses, print still offers a meaningful, strategic advantage over digital assets by creating a tangible experience with the consumer. Working hand-in-hand, you can use print and digital as two components of the same story. 

If you doubt the power of print, consider this:

  • Printed materials can stay in a consumer’s hands longer than digital, especially brochures, catalogs and magazines.
  • Printed pieces add credibility and trust that can only strengthen your brand.
  • Consumers are more engaged in reading printed materials. In a recent study conducted by True Impact, brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece versus a digital ad.
  • Print can drive digital traffic with QR codes to bridge the gap between two useful, effective mediums.
Print is Ageless (Demographically Speaking)

To an entire generation raised on tablets and smartphones, junk mail is the last place they would go to read something, right? Not true, says Daniel Dejan, Creative Director at Dejan Associates. According to Dejan’s research, 69% of 18 to 24-year-olds say they prefer print communications to reading off a screen. Gallup also reported that 36% of people under the age of 30 look forward to going to their mailbox every day.

Direct Mail Marketing Still Delivers ROI

Print may be suffering in other industries, but it’s alive and well in the world of direct mail marketing services. In a recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review, a luxury e-commerce retailer found that by adding print catalogs as part of a direct mail marketing campaign, sales increased by 28% and inquiries by 77%. It also yielded a direct mail marketing ROI of 600%.

Direct mail marketing tips

With the increasing costs of postage, paper, printing and labor, the most expensive mail piece is still the one that never gets opened. According to Hope Sowders, a National Accounts Manager at Mohawk Paper, direct mail is still more reliable than ever, despite the increasing costs.

“People are more likely to believe what’s in print,” she said. “Direct mail is more likely to be read than other forms of communication. It’s less intrusive because we can open it when time permits, and it feels (better) to hold that physical magazine or catalog than go to the website to read reviews, see additional images and place an order.”

Marketers need to be smarter about what they put in the mail. Hope suggests the following steps for success:

  • Engage with a trusted print rep early in your process. They can help navigate postal changes, price increases, and supply chain shortages and provide ideas to help you get noticed.
  • Consider getting detailed mailing lists based on purchasing patterns and demographics. Mail to a smaller but more targeted list so you can invest more per piece and get a better hit rate.
  • Think about unique sizes and use papers that are colored and textured so you stand out in the mailbox.
  • Offer a call to action to drive them to your space or your website, then reward them when they arrive.
  • Always measure your results so when something doesn’t work, you can change it.