I’ve worked in printed media for most of my life and a great deal of that has involved Direct Mail. It’s a much-loved format but for many people it’s viewed with nostalgia, like a Ford Capri, or Debbie Harry. there are a few reasons why I love Direct Mail however and the recent Bellweather report showing increasing Direct Mail budgets highlights one of them. In times of economic uncertainty, the direct and brutal measurability of Direct Mail wins budget share against impressions and awareness. Direct Mail is a crucible for creativity as well as scientific rigour and it’s this combination that makes it fit perfectly into the modern marketing mix. Anyone who wants to learn more about why I love Direct Mail is welcome to dm me. In the meantime I want to bust a few myths around Direct Mail to help you explain to your budget holders why you want to send your prospects a letter.


  1. Direct Mail is only any good for driving postal responses.

This could not be further from the truth. Off-line to online marketing has become a mainstay of many Brands’ marketing mix from QR codes in OOH or press campaigns to requesting email addresses at Point Of Sale for digital receipts.

Direct Mail has a massive part to play in this space, and it’s about more than just a QR code. A recent direct mail campaign we ran for an FMCG brand showed up in the first place in a five-fold increase in web-visits on the day the direct mail campaign landed. The increased traffic persisted for more than a fortnight. Not only that, the campaign delivered sales. Many sales came through the QR code scans but nearly four times as many came from direct mail recipients who had directly accessed the website through their browser.


  1. Direct Mail is only good for customer marketing or information requests.

Absolutely not. Direct Mail can deliver in all the phases of the marketing funnel.

Direct Mail does work well for customer marketing because it can be highly targeted and personalised. Information requests can be fulfilled by email but because Direct Mail stays in the house and holds attention well, it is often so much more effective. But that’s not the end of the story.

Direct mail is highly effective as a lead generation tool because you can convey a large amount of information to a highly targeted audience of prospects. Remember making up your Christmas present list from your Mum’s catalogue?

Direct Mail can also be a super effective closer. Strong calls to action are crucial and well coded response mechanisms help to illuminate performance. Don’t fall into the trap of last touch attribution where the last action a buyer took before purchase is given all the credit for the sale. Nothing can replace post-campaign analysis for highlighting the true performance of a channel particularly if multi-touch attribution can be deployed.

Often a direct mail pack can perform the lead generation function, the information sharing function and the closing function all in one go. Charities and D2C brands have been using direct mail in this way for decades. The key to success is in the targeting and using what you know about your first party data to find prospect data that matches. A top-tip here is to use an agency who can make sure you use the best data from all the best sources of prospect data.


  1. Direct Mail is old fashioned and only any good for marketing to an older age profile.

There’s absolutely no doubt that older generations are slightly less likely to show up on-line and can therefore be more easily reached by traditional media. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach other generational cohorts using channels like Direct Mail.

There are many studies showing that Gen Z love to get a letter because it’s novel for them, or Millennials like to get a letter because a cold call or a knock on the door is too intrusive. Here’s a table from Jicmail that shows that not only are 16-34 year olds opening and reading their direct mail, discussing it with their peers and visiting websites, but all three of those measures are on the increase.

16-34 year old's actions with email

Success in this activity is driven by great data, great creativity, and authenticity.

The Bellweather report highlights monumental growth in Direct Marketing and Direct Mail in Q4 last year and Q1 this year with more growth on the horizon in Q2. There are more reasons than just FOMO to put direct mail back on the schedule.