5 Reasons Direct Mail Is Not Dead, or Even Dying

As digital marketing rose to prominence and overshadowed traditional, offline forms of marketing, proponents of these digital alternatives pointed to a number of claimed benefits. From improved analytics to better ROI potential, digital marketing quickly asserted itself as the sleek, shiny way to get more marketing bang for your buck.

In 2019, however, those claims are struggling to stand up to scrutiny. While digital marketing remains valuable and integral to many business marketing strategies, certain traditional mediums have proven to be more valuable and resilient than their critics might have guessed.

Direct mail may be a simple marketing strategy that goes back decades, but recent research has shown that this offline marketing channel has plenty to offer businesses—especially local companies looking to build their customer base. Here’s a look at five reasons why direct mail continues to thrive in a digital-first era.


1. Response Rates Are Higher Than Ever

One of the most important performance metrics for any marketing campaign is the engagement, or response rate. But engagement rates for direct mail have been growing consistently within the past few years, reinvigorating interest in using this technology to build business interest.

According to Spectrum Marketing, one of the top direct-mail marketing companies in the US, house response rates for direct-mail campaigns rose to 9% between 2017 and 2018, while prospect response rates rose to 5%. 

Those growth numbers far outpace the response rates email (1%), paid search (1%), display, and social media campaigns (also 1%), demonstrating that direct mail isn’t just maintaining its footing with consumers, it is improving its delivered results.


2. Less Incoming Mail Means Less Competition

One possible reason for direct mail’s recent marketing success is the declining overall numbers for mail delivered to U.S. households. According to the United States Postal Service, overall marketing mail volume has declined between 2009 and 2018 as businesses choose to invest their marketing efforts into other channels.

But as marketing mail volume declines, it thins out the competition your direct mail has when it comes to grabbing your audience’s attention. Less additional mail in the mailbox can be a good thing if your business stays persistent with its direct mail strategy.


3. Direct Mail Can Integrate with Digital Campaigns and Analytics

Direct mail may take place primarily offline, but modern marketing strategies can still integrate direct mail with digital marketing campaigns, as well as online analytics. This can lead to even more value for direct mail marketing, as well as insights that can improve your marketing performance both offline and online.

As top marketing influencer Neil Patel points out, direct mail can use unique phone numbers, dedicated website landing pages, QR codes, online promo offers, and other strategies that send consumers online in a way that makes them trackable. 

Once a digital action is taken, that direct mail consumer becomes a digital prospect you can continue to engage with digital strategies, which can increase your overall marketing performance and build your customer base faster.


4. High-Quality Print Production Is Accessible to Any Business

Access to quality print production services makes it easy to create professional, eye-catching direct mail content that your target audience won’t overlook. 

Canon’s imagePRESS C165 allows for high-quality color output and proofing at an affordable price. Perfect for small marketing teams, the C165 is built to handle short runs and produce direct mail pieces with excellent color accuracy.

For teams who produce a larger volume of direct mail pieces, consider the Canon C810/910 Series. These devices are an excellent fit for companies looking to produce high quality, color-accurate documents in a small footprint.  Finishing options are available if you want to take your direct mail pieces to another level.

For large corporations looking to wow their customers with their direct marketing, look no further than the Xerox Iridesse Production Press. This device offers high-resolution, high-impact print products that can include specialty finishing options, such as a metallic gold or silver overlay, ensuring your direct mail doesn’t get tossed into the recycling bin without a close look.


5. Direct Mail Can Be Personalized for Attention-Getting Results

Direct mail can use personalization as a strategy for increasing engagement and response rates with your target audience. Although personalization is already used widely to improve email marketing, display ads, and other digital marketing campaigns, your business can personalize direct mail content by printing materials with each target’s name. 

According to the American Marketing Association, you should also consider personalizing the copy, call to action, and/or your company sales rep based on the data you’ve collected about that consumer. 

SumnerOne offers variable data software that can personalize printed materials through the use of variable tags, enabling easy customization that can increase engagement for direct mail campaigns. When planning out these direct mail campaigns, make sure you have a print solution in place that can handle these varied print projects. 



When it comes to marketing, few businesses put all of their eggs in one basket. Direct mail can be part of a larger, multi-channel approach that involves online and offline channels, as well as uses the latest strategies and business solutions to improve ROI and help your company reach its growth goals.

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