Does direct mail still work?

You want to know if direct mail still works and we can safely say a big fat, YES.

We’ve picked out a handful of reasons to show you why you should consider incorporating direct mail marketing into your next multi-channel campaign.

“Whether it’s informing the populace to stay home, reminding someone to get their cat’s annual vaccination or prompting someone to go online to buy something useful, mail continues to play a key role in the media mix of many brands’ marketing and operations today.” – Sue Unerman – Chief Transformation Officer – Mediacom

Without further ado, here are reasons why direct mail still works…

Direct mail response rate is still good, even in a covid disrupted world

There’s no denying, the pandemic has changed consumer behaviours over the past year.

People have been spending much more time at home and this could continue way beyond lockdown being lifted.

Many things have changed in our lives. The way we work, the way we socialise, the way we shop, the list goes on… But we’re going to focus on the way we consume media and the way brands can now build trust and drive customer action.

Physical mail still plays a vital role in this. Recent research carried out by JICMAIL revealed a record 96% of all mail was engaged with in Q2 2020.

Frequency of exposure to mail was also at its highest ever recorded by JICMAIL and mail-driven online behaviour has increased by 70%.

Receiving post is proving to be a welcome distraction for many of us spending our days at home.

Perception of email vs physical mail

ROI Online make a really interesting point about how our perception of both mail and email marketing has reveresed over the years.

Back when email was all shiny and new there was nothing more exciting than the ‘ping’ of a new email in your inbox. But you probably weren’t particularly looking forward to those statements landing on your doormat.

Fast forward a couple of decades and now our inboxes are jam-packed with emails, with so many brands vying for our attention.

But there’s something quite novel and nostalgic about receiving mail. It feels somewhat refreshing and more personal in comparison to its digital counterparts.

We wouldn’t recommend choosing one over the other. Instead, look at how both channels play a role in your customer journey.

Email is perfect for delivering messages that have a short impact and lifespan, while mail has a longer lasting impression and helps build a positive relationship between customer and brand.

Personalisation is key

We say this all the time but direct mail is not ‘one size fits all’.

The more you can identify with your target audience, the better.

Define your customer profiles to truly understand their wants and needs.

When you have this insight, be sure to use it. Your direct mail campaigns should offer real personalisation. Starting with the recipient’s name should be the bare minimum. It will instantly peak their interest and encourage an open (if it’s in an envelope).

Here are a few suggestions to take your direct mail campaigns to the next level in terms of personalisation.


  • If you’re speaking to an existing customer and know the exact product or service they’ve previously bought from you, make suggestions that relate nicely to their known purchase history.
  • If you have physical shops, tell your customer or prospect where their nearest store is and provide opening hours too. You could go one step further and provide them with a map.
  • If your mailing is B2B, provide content specifically relating to a customer’s sector. Add value by giving industry insight or a tailored offer, exclusive to them.

The tactile nature of mail

The tactile nature of mail is another reason why it still works.

We love this saying, “nothing beats the brand in hand”.

Mail literally puts your brand physically in the hands of your potential customers. No other medium can do that.

“A piece of mail will be physically picked up, noticed and remain in a home… giving your brand a presence in the place most precious to your customers.” These are the words of Nicky Bullard, Chairwoman and Chief Creative Office at MRM and Mccann.

And her words really do ring true. When mail marketing is done right, when the message is targeted, and the concept engaging, when it has purpose, it will bring your message home, literally.

It works across generations – even Gen-Z are on board

When direct mail is planned strategically and as part of a wider marketing campaign, it can be successful across all generations, even Gen-Z.

The team at Royal Mail MarketReach have written a blog containing 5 marketing strategies to reach the Gen-Z audience and when you read this next statistic you’ll quickly realise this isn’t an audience to overlook…

McKinsey research shows that Gen Z controls a global spending power of over £113bn annually and accounts for nearly 40% of consumers.

We love the example of offline retargeting used in Royal Mail’s article by cosmetics brand, Benefit. They used programmatic mail to send out a piece of direct mail to users who had abandoned their online basket. As a result they saw a 37% uplift in sales. That’s a great demonstration of the power of mail.

does direct mail still work - example

Image Credit: Royal Mail MarketReach

There are many more reasons why direct mail still works but we hope that gives you a good flavour of how you could potentially introduce mail marketing if you don’t already use it.

Want to talk mail marketing with us?

We look after mailing campaigns for all sectors including charities, local authorities, housing, travel, financial, legal, retail, automotive and more.

Our dedicated team of mailing experts have many years’ experience and are here to offer help and advice as well as ensuring your campaign runs smoothly and to schedule.

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