• Savvy brands are casting direct mail in a key role in their marketing arsenals. 
  • There are unique opportunities to forge relationships with consumers in a tangible and highly efficient way right in their own homes. 
  • However, assumptions about direct mail may keep some brands from reaping its benefits. In this post, we address some of those misconceptions head-on.

At a time when digital is top of mind for advertisers — and rightly so, with its powerful place in all our lives — one of the most established, tactile and proven traditional media platforms: Direct Mail, has enjoyed a resurgence. Savvy brands are casting direct mail in a key role in their marketing arsenals.

You might think you know everything there is to know about direct mail, but what you may not realize is that the pandemic altered consumer behavior and made consumers embrace direct mail like never before. The change in consumer behavior has created real momentum for the marketing channel, as well as unique opportunities for marketers looking to forge relationships with consumers in an up-close, tangible, and highly efficient way right in consumers’ homes.

Still, old assumptions about direct mail may keep some brands from reaping all these benefits. Let’s address some of those misconceptions head-on.

Myth #1: Direct mail is too old-fashioned

Direct mail isn’t old, it is timeless. The mailbox got a new life as people spent more time at home during the pandemic and had the time and opportunity to see what was in the mailbox. Consumers had the chance to peruse the ads being delivered to their homes. This led to a resurgence of direct mail.

The plain truth is that direct mail continues to engage consumers. From the study for our 2021 Consumer Intel Report, we found that 66% of consumers use mail coupons. Looking closely at a few consumer segments, according to respondents, 63% of Gen Z, 72% of millennials and 81% of millennial parents engage with direct mail.1

Further, the methods, technology and data available to marketers facilitate today’s direct mail campaigners every bit as much as they do for digital advertisers. For example, localized targeting enables marketers to better understand and engage audiences in specific neighborhoods or even at the household level, and then tailor the messages around demographics and personal interests.

Direct mail, in other words, is far from “spray and pray.” It can be as targeted and relevant as a brand wants it to be.

Myth #2: Direct mail appeals just to older consumers

Nearly everyone today, regardless of age, is on a mobile device and relies on their smartphones, smartwatches and tablets for everything from working to shopping and entertainment.

Do you know what is even more common for consumers to have? A real, physical mailbox. And since most addresses are home to more than one person, direct mail is an especially effective way to reach almost every consumer across demographics.

Direct mail has been shown to work with a broad swath of age groups, including younger consumers. Our Awareness-to-Action survey found that:

  • 69% of millennials and Gen Xers said they regularly read print or look at ads that come in the mail2
  • 48% of millennials and Gen X noted that direct mail helps them choose where to shop (significantly higher vs. all respondents)3

Direct mail not only reaches the consumers that brands are hungry to reach, but it also does so efficiently. For example, marketers who want to reach millennials can build on localized targeting to discover areas most likely to include millennials interested in their product. This enables highly effective messaging to motivate these consumers to act, especially since our March 2022 Awareness-to-Action Study found that direct mail ads encourage 55% of millennial parents to try a new store or business (significantly higher than all respondents).4

You might say that this is not your parents’ direct mail, and you’d be right.

Myth #3: Direct mail is too expensive

Brands are putting their marketing campaigns’ return on investment (ROI) under an intense microscope. The flashiest campaigns or the hot digital platform of the moment may not deliver the punch advertisers are hoping for.

Enter direct mail, which is not only efficient but can be one of the best investments a marketer can make.

The number of direct mail physical options is almost endless, from postcards to high-end creative mailers and anything in between, suiting a range of budgets.

Direct mail has been a bedrock of marketing plans for decades. Even with the rise of digital media, it remains an indispensable way to connect with consumers as part of a holistic, omnichannel campaign. In fact, consumers say that seeing an ad both in both print and online, helps them to remember the message (51%) and makes them more likely to notice the ad (51%).5

This is a medium that’s experiencing a moment. It’s time for marketers to seize it — learn more about how to benefit from the power of direct mail by downloading our ebook, “This Direct Mail Moment,” and learning about consumer behavior in our extensive direct mail resource hub.

1 Vericast 2021 Consumer Intel Report (n = 1,004)
2 Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, June 2022 (n = 1,835)
3 Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, March 2022 (n = 1,968)
4 Ibid
5 Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, February 2022 (n = 1,841)