Direct Mail's Comeback

Direct Mail's Comeback

In the era of digital content, is direct mail still a wise investment? This is the question business owners, decision makers, and marketers are asking themselves today. According to the USPS, total mail volume declined nearly 30% from 2006 to 2017 for all categories of mail.

This statistic certainly points towards a downward trend in direct mail campaigns- but don’t be too quick to dismiss direct mail altogether.

Digital Over-Saturation

It’s true - direct mail marketing has been declining in popularity. However, this loss for the direct mail industry can represent an opportunity for you and your business. Fewer companies sending out direct mail pieces means less competition in your recipients’ mailbox, and thus higher opportunities for your company’s message to be seen.

On the flip side, digital ads are ubiquitous. You’ll see them on every platform, every website, and every device. For example, email marketing has become very popular in recent years.  In 2017, 269 billion emails were sent and received each day. By 2021, that figure is expected to grow to nearly 320 billion daily emails. (Source: Campaign Monitor) With so many email messages saturating your audience’s inboxes, your customers may not take the time to read or even open your message.

Let me ask you this: How often do you check your mailbox? I check mine every day. How often do you check the spam and promotions folders in your inbox? Probably not often (if ever at all).

Comforting Context
How many of you can remember poring through toy catalogues in anticipation of the magical holiday season? These childhood memories really speak to the “context factor” of direct mail. Direct mail has the ability to be incredibly salient because of the time, place, and mind frame you’re in when you experience it.

When you’re served an ad on your desktop, you’re likely bouncing between 5 different tabs, picking out a perfect playlist, and waiting for the day’s urgent emails to arrive. When you open your mailbox, you’ve just come home from work and are preparing for a relaxing evening.

This might explain why brand recall is 70% higher when customers are exposed to direct mail vs. digital ads. Direct mail is received when customers have a greater ability to focus on and process an ad.


When you send a direct mail piece, you know exactly who your ad is reaching. You’re often using a list exported from a database that includes customer names, demographics, and contact information. This makes it easy to customize your message for different customer groups or include names in your greeting. It’s all about relevancy when it comes to targeting and messaging!

Personalizing your direct mail ads is known to increase response rates. According to a study by Canon Solutions America, adding a person’s name, full color and more sophisticated database information can increase the response rate by up to 500% vs not doing any of these things.

Have we changed your mind?

Are you thinking about giving direct mail another try? Before you jump up and get that great looking mailer designed with that killer call to action message and throw it in the mailbox, give HPR Marketing a call. We approach direct mail a bit differently than others. Yes, the messaging and design are critical, but so is the targeting aspect.
Our first step is the database analysis. We take your current customer base and map it out so that we can see where your customers are coming from. It’s never a perfect circle around your location. We always find certain zip codes that have high market penetration, while others may have very low penetration, and the locations of these zip codes can be surprising. It forces us to ask why? Is it due to competitors, natural land barriers, etc? Whatever the reason may be, this step helps guide your targeting.

When it comes to prospecting, looking at where your current customers live is a good indicator of areas to target. Think about it…in a neighborhood, most neighbors are typically in the same income level bracket. For those low market penetration zip codes, if those consumers aren’t your current customers, then they belong to your competitor. Is it worth going after these consumers?

Once we define who and where your customers are, we move to the design phase. It’s imperative to craft your message to fit the demographic you are sending it to. And don’t forget the personalization aspect, the more relevant you can make a piece the better!

When it comes to direct mail marketing, don’t go it alone. Lean on a resource that has experience – both in design and targeting. If you’re interested in learning more about direct mail, call HPR Marketing at (800) 991-9356. We have the expertise and creative power to transform your business and achieve the results you need.