Why Direct Mail Works in the Digital Age

Why Direct Mail Works in the Digital Age


Businesses now have a range of electronic communications channels, so has digital superseded printed mail? While email, text messaging and social media platforms provide compelling ways to interact with customers, direct mail still has a significant role to play. The key to successful communications is getting the right channel mix.

What gets people to buy what they buy?

When consumers see your marketing messages, what is their emotional reaction? It's emotions that drives consumers' feelings and, ultimately their actions.

To see the effect of combining direct mail with digital advertising, Canada Post and Ipsos conducted a neuromarking study that measured emotional response, for results that provided more predictive insights. Overall the study showed that integrated campaigns drove more attention, higher brand recall, and a stronger emotional response than single-media campaigns. We call this the connectivity effect.

Integrate direct mail and digital advertising to drive action

Integrating direct mail and digital improved factors that can drive consumer action. In this study we saw 39% more attention, 10% higher brand recall and 5% greater arousal than in single media campaigns. [i] These are compelling reasons to keep physical mail in the mix, and for customers of all ages too because, despite being thought of as the digital generation, millennials are in fact the demographic most likely to engage often with a mailpiece, according to Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends.[ii]

Complementary Communications Channels

Ask yourself how your customers prefer to be contacted; better still, ask them! Think about how they respond and purchase and make sure your communications provide the right mix. In a 12-month period, over 26% of people in the UK bought or ordered something as a direct result of an item of received mail[iii] so think about including a digital response mechanism in direct mail.

Technology has made staying connected easier and more convenient, but the way people react and respond to mail suggests that companies shouldn’t neglect traditional communications. For the right strategy, offer customers choice over how they wish to be contacted and optimize communications for each channel.


[i] Source: Canada Post - canadapost.ca/moreaction

[ii] The Annual State of Marketing Communications Survey, Jan 2018 surveyed 4,000 consumers in North America and Western Europe, as reported by IWCO Direct

[iii] Royal Mail MarketReach The Life Stages of Mail