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Direct Mail Marketing – Still the Most Bang for the Buck

bang for the buckDepending on the survey, the percentage of Americans who have cellphones is somewhere between 83% and 91%. Of those, nearly half of them are smartphone users. One survey notes that 88% of cellphone users check their e-mails daily on their phone. What’s more, the word “tablet” in American vernacular has stopped referring primarily to a type of pill or to a set of lined paper.

Yet despite all of this, despite the massive surges in technology we are seeing today, there remains plenty of indication that direct mail marketing remains a powerful (if not the most powerful) solution for hitting target markets. In early 2012, Marketing Charts noted that direct mail delivered the best ROI for customer acquisition for B2C marketers.

Perhaps the greatest strength of direct mail marketing is its tangibility. There is no better way to get your message physically into the hands of the consumer. Direct mail marketing provides discounts, coupons, information, and product awareness in a tangible form; it won’t get lost in a storm of tweets, nor forgotten in the bottom of a full e-mail inbox, or mired in a sea of saved yet neglected web browser bookmarks.

Interestingly, another benefit direct mail has over electronic marketing is flexibility. It seems strange to think of new technologies being inflexible, but when it comes right down to it, all e-marketing has to fit on a screen of some kind. On the other hand, direct mail campaigns can be tailored to the size of the message and the desires of the target. Need to send just a quick message? A postcard it is! Need something personal? Address customers by name in a personalized letter. Have a lot of information? A brochure or small catalog will do wonders.

With something physical in the customer’s hands, it’s also easier to determine if your marketing dollars are working. Tracking inquiries, redeemed coupons or promotional codes is a simple and effective way of determining what works for you and your audience.

We started with a lot of e-numbers, and now we finish with some “snail-numbers.” “Snail mail” as it is lovingly called, is what we get in our physical mail boxes, and according to the United States Postal Service, 98% of consumers check their mail every day, with 77% looking through the mail immediately. There are no “spam filters” for physical mail, so that is your message going directly into the consumer’s hands.

Please share your thoughts below – thanks for reading!

Image Source: © James Steidl –



#1 Mike White on 01.03.13 at 2:04 pm

Ryan, great article! Direct mail has been dominant and agree with you on the tangibility. Adding a mobile call to action to direct mail campaigns can help cover the broad array of multi-channel options that interest consumers today.

#2 ballantine on 01.03.13 at 2:08 pm

I agree Mike. The integrated approach – bridging offline with online – is a great strategy.

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