Direct Mail.jpgby Rieva Lesonsky


With the latest headlines revealing Warren Buffet’s sale of all his newspaper properties, you might think print publications—and print marketing—are on the road to nowhere. But you’d be wrong.


In fact, big digital retailers like Amazon are realizing the marketing advantages of direct mail and adding personalized home mailers to their marketing arsenals to target customers. So, what do they know about direct mail that you – and maybe Warren Buffet - don’t?


For one, the numbers show direct mail is effective. In a recent study from the Go Inspire Group, direct mail campaigns generate five times as many purchases as email campaigns. The study also showed that linking email with direct mail delivers even better results (six times as many purchases than email alone).


Here are even more reasons why direct mail works:


  • 41 percent of Americans like checking their mail every day. And since mail quantities have subsided while email quantities have increased, direct mail has more of a chance to stand out.
  • 88 percent of millennials take the time to look through their mail and 59 percent of millennials say the information they find in mail more useful than the information in email.
  • 42.2 percent of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they receive (as compared to 2019 email open rates of 22.1 percent).
  • Brand recall is 70 percent higher for direct mail than digital ads. This is possibly due to the facts consumers see so many online ads every day, or that direct mail involves multiple senses and is easier to absorb and process.
  • Physical mail goes to a household, where 88 percent of key purchase decisions are made according to RetailWire. Plus, look at the lifespan of direct mail. Email’s lifespan lasts just a few seconds, while direct mail usually hangs around the house for days.


Direct Mail in 2020


Today’s direct mail is not the direct mail of years past. Even Valpak, the direct mail giant that has been sending mailers to homes for more than 50 years, has “changed its stripes.”


Like email, it’s all about personalization. Valpak sends mail to 37 million households in the U.S. a month and collects massive amounts of data about the people in each home, whether from their own data or the data different brands give them. With all that information about household income level, demographics and psychographics, the direct mail giant can tailor their mailings to consumers’ needs.


According to the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), the advancement of AI technology has allowed marketers to learn even more about their target audience’s behaviors and preferences, driving the rise of personalized direct mail.


Personalization, such as using custom images and personalized offers, enhances customer experience and helps grow your brand recognition. Optimize your campaigns by integrating direct mail with email and social media marketing and your response rates can only go up. Consumers use at least three marketing channels when deciding to make a purchase, so a comprehensive omnichannel campaign will be crucial this year.


Make sure your design is recognizable across all campaign channels. Direct mailers should be quickly recognizable from consumers’ interaction with your brand online. Digital marketing and direct mailers should be engaging, inviting and highlight the items or services important to each customer.


Design experts suggest including an offer in your direct mailer along with a deadline for a response such as an expiration date. If you’re targeting a younger audience such as millennial or Gen Z consumers, your messages should be more visual than text-heavy (like Instagram).


Once you’re up and running with direct mail, don’t forget to track your results just like you do with digital marketing. All direct mail should include unique website landing pages so you can see where visitors are coming from, plus coupon codes and call to actions for bringing the actual mailer into your brick-and-mortar business to redeem offers.



Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Similar Content