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  • Jessica Rael-Brook

The surprising power of direct mail: Reaching your audience in a digital age

In today's digital era, where email, social media, and online advertising dominate the marketing landscape, it may come as a surprise to learn that direct mail is still an effective and impactful marketing channel. While today’s tech-savvy consumers or decision-makers seem more inclined to digital interactions, studies reveal that people engage with direct mail in unique and valuable ways. Let’s explore why direct mail is still relevant, how people interact with direct mail, and provide some evidence-based reasons why you should consider incorporating it into your marketing strategy.

Direct mail's tangible advantage

In a world filled with digital distractions, receiving a tangible piece of mail can create a lasting impression. Research shows that physicality triggers emotions and enhances memory recall, making direct mail an effective tool for brand recognition, and ultimately, sales. According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail boasts an average open rate of 42%, surpassing that of email, which has an average open rate of 20%. Direct mail offers a respite from the digital clutter, capturing attention and providing a more meaningful brand interaction.

Personalization and targeting

With most digital channels allowing only anonymous targeting, one of the greatest advantages of direct mail is its potential for a known audience and personalization. With advances in data analytics and customer segmentation, you can tailor your direct mail campaigns to specific demographics, interests, and purchasing behaviors. Personalized mailings have been shown to increase response rates by up to 500% compared to generic mailings. [Source: InfoTrends]

Multichannel integration

Direct mail is most effective when integrated with other marketing channels, including email, social media, streaming media, and digital advertising. By using a combination of channels, you can reinforce your message and enhance brand recall. According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), campaigns that used direct mail in combination with one or more digital media channels saw a 118% increase in response rates compared to campaigns that used digital media alone. [Source: DMA]

Measurable results and ROI

Direct mail is not a shot in the dark. With the right tracking mechanisms in place, you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Unique URLs, QR codes, or personalized coupon codes allow you to track directly attributable responses and conversion rates. For a more accurate view of the channel’s impact, responses and conversions can be compared to your known mailing audience via matchback report, providing valuable insights into your ROI. According to the DMA, direct mail yields an impressive median ROI of 29%. [Source: DMA]


In a digital age overflowing with emails, ads, and social media noise, direct mail has proven to be an effective marketing channel. Its tactile nature, novelty, and authenticity create a memorable experience that cuts through the digital clutter. Whether you’re trying to reach a B2C or B2B audience, don’t underestimate the enduring impact of direct mail.

At Pragmatic, we are direct mail experts. With a combined 148 years of direct mail experience, and over 238 million pieces of mail sent, we know about making mail work for you. Ready to get started? Contact us for a complimentary Direct Mail Analysis, where we’ll size your total addressable market (TAM) and recommend the best format for your audience.



Direct Marketing Association (DMA):


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