Direct mail, long thought of as the ugly, red headed step-child of marketing that no one’s used since the 80s, is now the unlikely star of integrated campaigns. Lest you believe direct mail is the tortoise in this hare-like digital world, response stats and campaign ROI prove otherwise.


If you just read this and think I’m crazy, good. I’ll take this opportunity to share why direct mail has a leg up on email and other digital forms of marketing. Better yet, the use of direct mail as part of an integrated digital campaign consistently delivers higher ROI and response rates than digital efforts alone. If all your eggs are currently in the digital marketing basket, I’d strongly encourage you to reconsider the seemingly odd partnership of direct mail and digital that together produce significantly better results.


Direct mail campaign goals have changed a whole lot over the years. It used to be that a direct purchase was the only successful outcome, now success is measured by driving traffic to your web site or store front using multiple medias and various touch points. This transition makes direct mail so effective when paired with digital, it acts as a catalyst for action that’s difficult to drive using digital mediums. What’s the primary reason digital outlet response rates are lower than direct mail? The consumer doesn’t see or interact with the message. Keep reading to learn why direct mail should be a regular tool in your marketing arsenal.


Why Direct Mail is More Effective than Digital


Junk Email Boxes and Spam

While email had its day, now people ignore them or they’re re-routed straight to a junk folder. Almost everyone I know has two email accounts, one for promos/email sign-ups and the one they actually read. Efficient yes, but it means they probably NEVER see your email unless they go in search of something they don’t know they received – pretty sure that’s not the case. Add in spam and other reasons email is rejected, the odds increase for non-deliverability making it tough to respond to a message never received. On the other hand, direct mail is trackable, delivered every day, and sits on your counter staring at you.


Our Multi-Tasking World

So, I’m not a doctor, but I feel comfortable diagnosing consumers with electronic-induced ADD, a condition that makes it virtually impossible to capture attention for more than a few seconds. Checking email is a multi-tasking battle, between social media pop-ups, web ads, texts, and other distractions that cross our devices, most people only read the email subject line, and that’s if you’re lucky. The mailbox at your home only has one purpose, mail. This lack of competition for attention helps direct mail stand out with almost no effort on the recipient’s part. 79% of consumer’s act on direct mail immediately vs, 45% of email recipients, these statistics suggest the recipient is paying attention and actively engaged.


Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Let’s face it we all take the path of least resistance, it’s inherently human. Which means if we must open, read, and print out an email it feels like too much work. If the email was received three days ago forget about it, another sad victim of the giant inbox vortex. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Compare this to direct mail, which if a postcard, doesn’t require opening and then lays around till action is taken. QR codes on printed matter increase the likelihood for action using a mobile device without having to take any extra steps, genius.


Hackers and Suspicion of Online Media

Thanks to hackers, trust in electronic communication is quickly eroding. Links are now a way strangers can see what you’re doing, capture your passwords, and harvest personal information to sell to even more bad guys. Email attachments are even worse, only download if you like computer viruses.  Since people are now wary and careful in the online world emails are suspect and links to act seen as a threat. Obviously not good for email response rates which currently stand at a paltry .012%. Printed matter is in no way affiliated with danger, even if the call to action is online, typing URLs directly into a web browser is considered safe.


Response Rates and ROI

A recent study by Royal Mail found that response rates and ROI for direct mail is far superior to email and that 92% of recipients are driven to online or digital activity. The direct mail response rate of 4.4% stands in stark comparison to the .012% of email. When it comes to financial results, integrated campaigns with direct mail deliver a 57% ROI against 45% for digital only efforts. If money is important to your organization, and frankly I don’t know many who would say it’s not, then direct mail is the obvious choice.


Personal and Emotional Connection

Since childhood, mail is built into our memory bank and has a special place in our psyche. Holiday packages, birthday cards, even exciting direct mail. By its nature, DM is more personal than email making it a great vehicle for your message as part of an integrated campaign. Mail also integrates more senses than just sight including touch, encouraging the recipient to engage with the message on a deeper level.


Variety Required to Capture Attention

Even with new formatting tools, emails pretty much all look the same. Simply put, the canvas is limited making it easy for readers to gloss over the message. Going back to the consumers with ADD, variation and the ability to shake things up regularly is crucial to get their attention. Mail options are only limited by your imagination. From postcards to letters, “lumpy mail,” booklets, or parcels, changing the WOW factor including size, shape, and look grabs attention and increases response rates.


Now that you know how effective direct mail can be, why not give it a try? Remember the role of direct mail now is to be the enticing messenger, not the pushy salesperson. This is where the “new direct mail” looks nothing like its old self, strictly designed to work as a cog in the integrated machine instead of the solo selling technique. Be bold and creative, your customers will show their appreciation with impressive results.


Ready to develop an integrated marketing campaign that includes direct mail? At Three Dog Logistics, our consultants will help develop a plan that delivers client solutions at the lowest cost and fastest delivery speed possible. Remember, we take the bite out of postage and freight. Visit or call 410-284-5494 extension 220 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.