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Direct Mail Marketing Still Matters, and Here's Why

Direct Mail Marketing Still Matters, and Here’s Why

Even as more business transactions move online, direct mail marketing remains an effective way to influence customer choices.

Direct mail marketing is alive and well and an effective communication tool.

In an ever-more-digital world, direct mail marketing meets a need that can’t be met through bits and bytes. Customers crave the sensory input that a well-executed print campaign delivers, and they’re more likely to recall brands after experiencing print marketing.

That’s why even digital companies turn to print marketing and direct mail campaigns. Dissolve, a Canadian firm founded in 2013, is an online provider of stock footage and photography for film, television, print and digital applications. Dissolve deals only in digital media, but they are committed to using print to increase brand awareness and boost sales.

“People love to connect with something in their hands,” says Joe Mak, Dissolve’s director of marketing. “That’s hard to do with email.”

That sense of connection may be why print outperforms email and other digital advertising media. Canada Post’s Smartmail Marketing: The Science of Activation study showed that:

  • Direct mail marketing generates 29 percent higher brand recall than digital advertising.
  • Online pre-roll video ads hold a customer’s attention 57 percent longer when they’re followed by direct mail.
  • Combining direct mail marketing with display ads result in 46 percent higher brand recall than a display ad-only campaign.
  • Integrated campaigns drive 39 percent more attention than single-media campaigns.


Direct mail marketing also makes it possible to reach customers that you can’t reach digitally.

“People are more protective of their digital contact information,” says Sheldon Popiel, Dissolve’s co-founder and creative director, who notes that renting a mailing list might give you names and demographic information, but no email addresses. There are also regulations around using email for unsolicited marketing materials.

Direct mail campaigns solve those issues. “We’re able to find very highly targetable lists and send pieces that are relevant to them to promote our offerings,” Mak says. “You’re able to reach people that you are otherwise not able to reach by digital means.”

Dissolve’s print campaigns, such as flipbooks, lenticular brochures and photographic prints, have delivered impressive results, even generating sales months after a project is mailed. The key is that Dissolve is careful to create campaigns that resonate.

“We like to really look at ourselves as our customers. We’re creatives, too,” says Popiel. “If we’re not feeling something, if we wouldn’t want to keep that piece, if we think it’s a waste of paper, then we think they would as well.”

Done right, direct mail marketing has tremendous potential to influence customer choices. That’s because:

1. It Commands Attention

Digital marketing can be very effective, but it comes at a price. Readers can be easily distracted by pop-up ads, email and social notifications, breaking news alerts and more. Such distractions can draw them away from the experience before they have a chance to respond.

Print marketing, on the other hand, is a much more focused experience. It’s read when and where desired, and recipients have greater control over how much time they spend with it.

2. It Creates a Greater Sense of Trust

A recent study from the Finnish research company VTT that surveyed people in 13 countries found that 90 percent of respondents prefer direct mail marketing to social media, and 63 percent said they thought print ads were more trustworthy. Perhaps as a result of this perception, 92 percent of shoppers in another survey say they prefer direct mail when making purchasing decisions.

3. It’s Fun

Picking up the mail can be a highlight of many people’s day, especially if there’s a card from a loved one or a catalog from a favorite brand. Why? Because mail is tangible and permanent.

Studies have shown that our mood improves by 29 percent when exposed to a positive tactile feeling. Direct mail marketing certainly fits the bill, especially when designed to create an enhanced sensory experience through textures, folds, die-cuts and other unique treatments.

4. It’s Personal Without Being Creepy

Unlike a banner ad that calls you by name, personalized direct mail feels friendly and exciting. In fact, it can generate appreciation for the business it represents because many consumers recognize that personalizing print requires more effort than personalizing digital ads.

In an increasingly digital world, direct mail marketing stands out as an effective means to influence customer choices. For more information on how to optimize print in your next campaign, visit our Blueline Blog.

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