The Evolution Of Direct Mail Marketing

Over the years, faster and newer ways of communicating with customers have been introduced. Due to this, direct mail may now seem like it’s too slow and an old marketing method to look at. But a quick look at statistics will show you that the market continues to take direct mail seriously. About 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to the rather low 20% for emails. Also, 60% of marketers confirmed that a combination of direct mail and digital marketing increased a business’s return on investment. Hence, direct mail marketing is one of the marketing methods that have stood the test of time.

But what is direct mail marketing, and where did it come from? This article attempts to answer these two questions, helping you gain a quick appreciation of the medium.  

What Is Direct Mail Marketing? 

Direct marketing refers to the communication between a brand and its customers through direct mail. It’s also part of other direct marketing tools, but it’s one of the oldest tools in the bracket.  

A significant segment of the market still prefers direct marketing as a way of communicating with brands they love since direct mail isn’t as congested as every other form of direct marketing, and there’s very little chance of spam. This is because a company is paying money to send mail to their client and needs to compress their message as much as possible. Unlike email, where a company might be tempted to write long and boring copy too often since it’s mostly free to write.  

Direct Mail Marketing Then And Now 

For centuries, people have been using direct mail as a marketing method. This doesn’t mean it’s always been as effective as it is now. There was a point when, because of less developed technology, data about clients couldn’t be simply gathered as it is today. This made this form of marketing a real expensive gamble.  

One would’ve to depend on creating catalogs, pamphlets, and newsletters. Then, businesses would have to send them as widely as possible among communities of people they hoped would be interested. Inside most of those communications would be return envelopes for those that needed to communicate back with the business.

This obviously involved a lot of wastage but certainly not more wastage than mass media. Direct mail was the most intimate form of marketing possible since it represented an age where marketing was starting to angle towards being highly interactive, a two-way communication path instead of a one-way.

As marketing grew more digital, direct mail no doubt suffered a plunge in usage as companies began to experiment with these new forms of marketing. The speed of reach that other platforms have was probably attractive enough to be convincing.

But, lately, one can see that marketers are beginning, once again, to give direct mail the respect and attention it deserves, which is why digital mail strategies now have better tools than ever before.

Technology is now fully supportive of direct mail marketing. This is ironic given that the same technology, at some point, almost posed itself as a threat. Now, as data collection has grown more sophisticated and thorough, direct marketing has benefited and has also become more targeted, focused, and cheaper as wastage through contacting random people has been cut.  

Benefits Of Direct Mail Marketing

For a clearer picture of the current state of this platform so you’ll know how to approach your direct mail strategy, here are some of the prevailing facts:  

High Returns On Investment (ROI) 

At the end of the day, you’re just trying to make as much profit as you can and sustain it over time. Direct marketing is proving to be many businesses’ best friend in this regard.

In terms of ROI, it’s only third behind email marketing and social media marketing; social media is only ahead of direct marketing by 1%. This is crucial because it lets you know how integral direct marketing needs to be in your marketing strategy.  

Works Well When Integrated With Other Digital Marketing Efforts 

As direct mail has been able to retain its effectiveness through the centuries to the present day, it hasn’t retained its monopoly in direct marketing. Other platforms can perform better than it. 

However, since this isn’t a competition on the best way to reach your customers, imagine what would happen if you used at least three methods of marketing all at once. The combined effectiveness could mean tremendous things for your business. 

It’s Now Easy To Target Direct Mail

It’s no longer the spray and hope era–you no longer need to blindly send out mail, then hope it reaches the right person. Now, you can collect data that can tell you exactly who’s in your target market so that when you go and set that direct mail budget, it’s only for high-quality leads who have a high potential to convert into sales.


The development of other platforms of marketing has sharpened the way direct marketing can operate. Now, it’s easier than it previously was to track the results of a direct mailing campaign.

As a business that’s using a lot of other marketing tools, you might get confused as to whether your direct marketing is yielding any results at all. Other more digital forms of marketing are easily trackable than direct mail, but it’s worth noting that, as compared to many years before now, direct mail marketing can now be tracked.

An easy way is to make sure that for every call to action you insert in your direct mail campaign, you have to use a unique tracking device, such as a direct-mail-specific landing page, to see which of your site visits are coming from that campaign. You may have a phone number that’s specific to the same campaign as well–anything you can do to know how effective your campaign has been and how to improve. 


A lot has changed since direct mail marketing first entered the scene. Over time, technology has been sharpening the effectiveness of this marketing method, and you’ll realize that it’ll become more effective when used together with the rest of your other direct and indirect ways of marketing!


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