What is Direct Marketing?

There are hundreds of definitions about Direct Marketing; some are accurate some not so much. Here is my try to formulate one:

Direct marketing is every effort to reach potential customers by addressing them directly by any marketing mean possible - mail, phone, or digital. The emphasis here being is direct. While TV, Radio or Magazine ads are mostly about reaching broader audience and brand awareness, direct marketing uses data to target specific prospects by delivering a relevant message or proposal. 

Even though not accurate, a lot of people equate direct marketing with direct mail, probably because direct mail as an indispensable marketing medium is easily reachable and has been around forever. That's why we will start the dissection of direct marketing with the direct mail.

Direct Marketing Channels


Why Direct Mail Works?

The way mail provokes action is unparallel to any other direct marketing medium.

A simple mailpiece gets your marketing message into the hands of the right prospect and creates an immediate attention. More than ever, consumers are flooded with commercial messages, but when it comes to an important business correspondence, they prefer direct mail before any other direct marketing channel.

In the next few paragraphs loaded with numbers and statistics, I will try to proof wrong the agnostic myths that direct mail is dead, too expensive or hard to implement.

12 Reasons Why Direct Mail Is Still Growing and Powerful

1. DIRECT MAIL IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE of all marketing means, outperforming all digital channels combined by over 600%, verified by the latest DMA report.

2. DIRECT MAIL RETURNS on average $13 for every $1 spent. The total mailed pieces in 2015 generated $68.9 billion revenue. A successful direct mail campaign starts with meticulous research and accurate projection. Be a smart marketer; use our intuitive direct mail ROI calculator to estimate the return on investment of your campaign by creating different scenarios.

3. DIRECT MAIL IS PERSONAL, and 67% agree with the statement. Nothing gets more special than a personalized letter.

4. DIRECT MAIL GENERATES IMMEDIATE RESULTS. Unlike so-called “branding”, which could take months and years, or general advertising, direct mail creates ACTION now. 77% of consumers go through their mail the day it arrives.

5. DIRECT MAIL IS CERTAINLY MEASURABLE. The results and cost per lead can be effortlessly calculated by using unique phone numbers, reply forms, QR codes, landing pages and more. Testing, evaluation, and analytics are critical to making smart marketing decisions for future campaigns.

6. DIRECT MAIL BREAKS THROUGH THE MARKETING CHAOS. In today’s digital madness, mass advertising creates an indistinguishable blur of noise. Your message can easily get lost. A letter wrapped in an elegant envelope or original postcard, addressed to your prospects by name - has an opportunity to get their attention. Over 70% of advertising messages are delivered digitally vs. only 7% by mail.

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Digital Marketing Madness


7. Unlike digital mediums, DIRECT MAIL IS TANGIBLE and has much longer “shelf life”. 48% of people keep mailpieces for future reference.  40% of consumers try new businesses as a result of direct mail.

8. DIRECT MAIL IS ECONOMICAL and EFFICIENT. Contrary to the skeptic’s beliefs, Direct Mail cost per lead is actually one the least expensive. Just email, and only if used a house list (link), cost less per lead than direct mail. In 90% of the cases, the mail falls into the hands of the decision maker of the household.



10. DIRECT MAIL SHOWS AN OUTSTANDING GROWTH from 2014 to 2015 by 2.9%, almost two percent more than the skeptics predicted.

11. DIRECT MAIL IS MORE TRUSTWORTHY than the Internet. 92% of consumers endorse the fact.

12. It is much SIMPLER TO INTEGRATE DIRECT MAIL with other digital channels than the other way around. By utilizing the multi-channel approach for delivering a relevant message to the right recipient, the probability of response and conversion increases by more than 40%. 76% of small businesses report that the ideal marketing is a combination of traditional and digital.

In conclusion, I would like to say that, if the Direct Mail were indeed dead, as some deem, there wouldn’t be the prognosis for positive growth, reported by IBIS World’s, one of the world’s leading publishers of business intelligence, in their latest 2015 report.

Sources used: DMA, USPS®, Pitney Bowes, Winterberry Group.

It is much SIMPLER TO INTEGRATE #DIRECTMAIL with other digital channels than the other way around.
Milena Marguenski
Milena is the owner and CEO of US Presort.
US Presort | 3801 Victory Blvd., Suite 1 - Staten Island, NY 10314 | P : 718.980.6556