Direct Mail has definitely evolved over the years, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s gone. 

When I tell people outside of our industry that we save our client’s money on their direct mail campaigns, 90% of them raise the question: “Isn’t direct mail going away?”.   I start smiling because that is the exact set up I need to volley the sales ball.


Direct mail has changed, but it isn’t going anywhere.  With the saturation of Email, direct mail is still the #1 way to get your message into someone’s home and even in their hands.


The questions are just different now.


Who are you targeting?

As recent as 10 years ago, I remember getting direct mail pieces that clearly didn’t target my demographics.  I wasn’t in the market for baby food, I wasn’t a recent college graduate, and the local watering hole was not my weekly stop.  Today, talented marketers have figured out the secret of success – choosing the right list… and getting granular.  Knowing your target is key – what age, hobbies, interests, buying habits or online behaviors they have.  Why waste money sending an expensive furniture catalog to a recent high school graduate or baby promotions to an 80-year-old man? It is important to be smart about your list spend.


Is the list clean?

No matter where you get the list, recognize it is already outdated.  According to Melissa Data, the Census reports that an average of 14.19% of people move annually.  Another shocker to us is even when the client keys in their own address, the return rate for the undeliverable address is high. Imagine how data collection practices can easily produce inaccurate information.  Getting it delivered to the right person and the right address is important after you spent all that time making sure you targeted them correctly.


At Three Dog, we added a service to our Pick, Pack & Ship process as an added benefit to our clients. We cleanse the data, even if provided by the purchaser, to reduce the return factor on the items we ship.  Who would have guessed people don’t know how to key their own information… but it happens every day!


Have you invested in deduplication?

With all of the technology available, I am still amazed at how many well-known, successful catalogers send multiple, identical catalogs to my house.  What a total waste of money for the printing and the mailing.  Don’t go through all of the trouble in list selection and cleansing and not dedupe.


It’s open, now what?

Three Dog’s “Retriever” product has been a success because it can’t help but be opened.  Once it is opened, the marketer must make sure that the message is compelling and the call to action captivating.  Don’t forget that the best success is reached by cross promotions between direct mail, websites, social media and even telemarketing. No matter the vehicle you choose, open rate and response rate are the final measures of success.


Have you saved all you can?

Three Dog’s business is built solely on the idea that the mailers highest campaign cost is postage and we know how to save them millions a year.  We keep up with the latest changes to USPS regulations and programs so you don’t have to.  It’s an ever changing world and we are committed to being your resident expert.


So like many things in life – what is old is new again – just new and improved.  Direct mail will always be impactful because by its nature it is more personal. The key is capturing that.