Why direct mail should form an essential part of your marketing mix | Blogs | IDM

Why direct mail should form an essential part of your marketing mix


Mail continues to evolve and adapt to changing times. In an increasingly online world, it hasn’t just survived – it’s thrived.

Consumers and advertisers have multiple reasons to trust in mail. It’s engaging and effective. It’s single-mindedly commercial and yet it can tell complex stories.

As a result, we’re finding a lot of new brands using it for the first time. In a recent LinkedIn poll run by the DMA, 57% of professionals said they were using the medium – and another 8% were planning to start soon.

If you’re not using it already, here are four key reasons why direct mail should form an essential part of your marketing strategy.

1. Direct mail brings trusted interaction into the home

The physicality of mail has proven to be its greatest advantage, with more than nine in ten (95%) consumers opening, reading, and/or filing it. Putting a brand's message into the homes of consumers helps drive trust, credibility, and authenticity.

According to figures from JICMAIL, the gold standard for audience and item data for mail, mail has great reach – and is returned to (on average) 4.6 times. As a result, mail makes a strong impact on long-term memory encoding – particularly when integrated into a wider campaign using the same distinctive assets.

When Royal Mail Marketreach commissioned Neuro-Insight to uncover what happens in a consumer’s brain when they receive and interact with physical and digital media, they found that direct mail is:

  • 49% more memorable than email
  • 35% more memorable than social media advertising
  • 33% more engaging than email
  • 35% more engaging than social media advertising

Attention and interaction are driven further the more mail is personalised, particularly resonating with Gen Z, who have grown up with digital messaging.

2. Direct mail is measurable - and here's how you can measure its impact

Another key advantage of using direct mail is that it remains one of the most measurable channels.

With a solid understanding of a campaign’s objectives and the right mechanics for tracking in place, the impact of mail on the customer journey can be clearly measured.

To ensure you achieve success with direct mail, there are three key steps to accurate measurement:

Step 1 – First you need to prepare clear objectives, with all of your metrics and measurement points agreed up.

Step 2 – Use tracking mechanics like QR codes, coupon codes, and so on to improve your ability to track actual response rates.

Step 3 – Use the metrics to measure outcomes that are most important to your business, e.g., response rate, return on investment (ROI), and conversion rate.

With third-party cookies being phased out, mail is presenting marketers with new ways to track performance, particularly with innovations in technology driving engagement and participation.

3. Direct mail delivers on brand building and performance goals

Direct mail has a proven track record in allowing marketers to deliver on brand and performance objectives. Research from the DMA’s Intelligent Marketing Databank reveals that just over half of campaigns (53%) set out to win new customers, while just over a fifth are aimed at retention.

The inclusion of mail in a campaign drives higher acquisition rates, particularly when highly targeted, making it suited to delivering on performance objectives.

Research into the IPA Effectiveness Awards Databank shows that campaigns including mail were 40% more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition results than those that did not.

Interestingly, recent surveys have also found that the medium plays an increasingly powerful role in retention.

As brands look at strategies to retain customers acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic, mail can be an effective tool in driving up their customer lifetime value.

4. Direct mail drives revenue and profits

Did you know that campaigns are 75% more likely to report profit uplifts when mail is in the mix? Or that campaigns are 43% more likely to report revenue uplifts when mail is in the mix?

Mail can be an impactful differentiator in marketing campaigns, driving revenue and ROI for brands that invest.

The solid, tactile, printed nature of mail, the fact that customers can hold the communication in their hands, feel it, store it, share it, come back to it – gives mail a level of credibility that few other channels can even approach.

Personalising direct mail using insight data can also ensure that a person receives the most appropriate message, often leading to action. Research from IPA Touchpoints found that 35% of consumers have made a purchase, payment or donation in the past year, as a result of receiving a piece of mail.

Ready to Harness the Power of Direct Mail?

The DMA has partnered with Royal Mail Marketreach to create a best in class Award in Direct Mail.

Whether you’re at the start of your learning journey or a senior marketer looking to adapt to new responsibilities, our Award will empower you to plan, execute, and produce exceptional mail.

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