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3 Reasons Why Every Enterprise Should be Cutting Through the Digital Noise with Direct Mail Marketing

Email marketing provides a lot of advantages. From scalability to personalization, there are more than a few reasons why this technique has become a part of nearly every marketer’s tool box in 2017. But because of the way email marketing has rapidly proliferated over the past decade or so – its effectiveness is being reduced.

The average US consumer takes in a lot of marketing exposures in 2017 between broadcast television, streaming services, banner ads, and of course email – the number of marketing touches can reach the high hundreds, or even thousands per day.

How can one realistically expect to stand out in a crowd that massive and distracting?


One marketing strategy that has re-emerged as a surprisingly effective one in 2017 is direct mail advertising. Its physicality helps it cut through the digital and broadcast noise, and when part of a broader, multi-channel campaign, it can drive tangible results.

For example, when eCommerce websites are supported by a catalogue, the U.S. Postal Service showed a 163 percent revenue lift, and demonstrated that more than 60% of catalog recipients were influenced to visit the featured company’s website. Standing out from the crowd is no easy task for marketers in 2017, but introducing a physical component that can get inside the homes of your prospects can be one way to do just that.

Whether you’re looking to drive traffic to a website, encouraging customers to buy, or simply trying to collect information (including email addresses!), direct mail marketing can work. Here are three reasons why this strategy is still effective.

1) Inbox Inundation 

How many emails do you get per day? And how many of those do you read? Likely, the first number in this equation is higher than the second. We all receive more emails than we want to – or even can, read. Our inboxes are inundated with personal messages, offers, newsletters, bills, and more every day. There’s just too many to read each one, and in many cases – people do not even check their inbox every day, meaning your message may well be pushed to the bottom of a digital pile that is only briefly inspected once or twice per week.

And, what will happen to your email messaging once it’s pushed to the bottom of your prospect’s inbox (or spam folder)? It very well may be deleted before it’s even opened. While physical mail is thrown away in a similarly discourteous manner, there are reasons why your message stands a better chance in a physical format. While personal email addresses are often checked only weekly, a study by Epsilon showed that 77% of consumers inspect their physical mail as soon as they get it. And according to the USPS, 98% of consumers check their mail daily. What this means for marketers is that your message isn’t being pushed to the bottom of a seldom-checked pile – but is reaching the hands of your prospects, daily.

This alone should be enough to push leading marketers back toward direct mail. Let your competition fight for the top of the email pile, while you may effectively bypass it with a creative direct mail piece.

2) Increased Potential for Creativity

Creating a well-designed, thoughtfully-written email takes a ton of time, and likely, a whole marketing team. When completely designed and written, a single message may include literally thousands of lines of coding. And do you know what most your prospects see?

Just a subject line and a header. And simply put – that’s not enough.

You can A/B test until the end of time, keep up with the latest click-through tips, do everything you can think of with these two lines of text - but ultimately, a headline and a subject line are just not enough to effectively communicate any type of message. And all too often, that’s all marketers get. Further complicating the issue is that ‘fancy’ emails are not only more difficult to build, but as phishing attacks grow – they’re also increasingly considered untrustworthy. In turn, this limits the amount of creativity marketers can utilize. Attachments, downloads, and other potentially viable marketing materials will likely never be opened by prospects for fear of a nefarious link, if they even click though far enough to get to that point. Even worse, what’s written within your marketing email may even be considered with a dubious eye.

Conversely, the more creativity you inject into a direct mail piece, the higher the chance of that piece driving desired results will be. Bells and whistles on a direct mail campaign piece are fun novelties – a bonus that helps your efforts, instead of digital red flags which will only prompt your prospects to delete your email even more quickly.

3) Join Your Prospects at their Table

There’s still the chance that your direct mail piece will head swiftly toward the physical garbage can. But, the right pieces can and will get inside the house, and will be considered as your prospects go through their mail at the kitchen table. And that’s where one of the key advantages of direct mail comes in – you have more to work with than just a headline and subject line to get in the front door – physical or digital – of your prospects.

One strategy to impress your prospects enough to avoid the trash can is by keying in on the calendar. Around the holidays, cards from friends and family often come in bright red or green colors. Those pieces are instantly recognizable, and will almost always garner at least a second look (orange around Halloween works, too!). Another is to introduce a 3D promotional piece – a pen, webcam cover, or product sample will create a highly noticeable feeling in the hands of your prospects as they retrieve their mail, and will likely produce enough curiosity that your message will at least be read. For a simpler strategy, just try an off-size envelope, and get creative with your direct mail dimensions, or inject advanced personalization into your messages – both of which are often enough to pique curiosity.

To effectively sell, you must stand out from your competitors. And increasingly, when it comes to email marketing – it’s nearly impossible. With only a subject line and a headline to make a first impression, filters – both digital and human ones – can take the wind out of your sails almost immediately. But with direct mail, your creativity can be shown off more immediately, and you can more effectively cut through the broadcast and digital marketing noise to reach your prospects and stand apart from your competition. 

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