Does your 2021 strategy include Direct Mail?


By Payal Parikh, Director of Client Engagement at Heinz Marketing

You might think direct mail is dead in this age of digital marketing. In the B2B world, a single channel is not your answer – be it digital or direct. Your marketing plan will be more effective if it consists of a mix of all channels – Email, digital ads, social, events, direct mail, and others.

We all know it takes a least seven touches to generate a qualified lead. And to move a prospect successfully down the funnel to make them sales-ready, you need a good combination of marketing channels. In today’s world, where events are online, you are talking about touching these prospects mostly digitally. Using direct mail as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy can help improve response rates.

Unlike digital, direct mail connects with your audience on so many levels:

Direct Mail is Engaging

Direct mail engages the reader and subconsciously appeals to human emotions. If your mailer is unique with unanticipated designs and engagement elements, it can trigger higher engagement levels. Throw in some peel and reveals, zip strips, or play with different textures and ink finishes, and you’ve got a mailer that is different from traditional packaging and stimulates a neurological response in your audiences’ brains.

You can experiment with augmented reality (AR) technology to create a unique experience for your product and brand. Read further to see examples of how IKEA and Jaguar are using print and AR together.

Direct Mail is Tangible

Data suggests a decline in total mail pieces people receive these days compared to those a decade ago. That alone helps your piece stand out in a crowd of marketing messages when done right. Although the time you get to grab your reader’s attention to your message is much higher, it is still crucial to keep the design simple and not overcomplicate it. The message needs to be straightforward and easy to understand—the call to action should be loud and clear. You can include a gift, gift card, or any tangible item in your mailer that the reader can use right away. With companies like Sendoso and PFL, direct mail can be taken to a whole new level.

Direct Mail is Personal

The person holding the mailer feels connected with the message. Add their first name and customize the message by the pain points that matter to them.

Taking the time to define your target audience, their personas, and messaging upfront is crucial to make that connection. Here are some blogs for you to learn about developing personas and key messaging for your audience.

Why Direct Mail is better received?

Direct Mail is used by fewer marketers, so there’s a better chance of standing out and getting some attention. The internet is full of marketing messages but mailboxes aren’t.

Here’s some stats on the channel saturation for an average person:







A lot of your prospects and customers are working remotely and it is easier to catch them at home when the mail or package is delivered.

Why are organizations not including direct mail in their plan?

High cost

Problem: Where emails are practically free, considering you have the target audience in your database, direct mail costs money. It has design, printing, packaging, and mailing costs associated.

Solution: Considering the response rates, direct mail costs can still be factored into your budget. Start with a smaller test group and evaluate your response rates compared to other channels as a way to justify a larger effort around direct mail.

Mailing address data requirement

Problem: Most of the forms you have on your website are utilized to collect emails. For implementing a direct mail strategy, you need the mailing addresses. This means you need to source the data and make sure it is of good quality with valid mailing addresses.

Solution: There is a multitude of ways you can collect mailing addresses. Have your sales rep ask for their address in return for mailing out a gift. Collect mailing addresses through an automation campaign to send in swag, gift cards, etc. There are also 3rd party data services that can match your prospects with an address.

Direct mail is viewed as a traditional channel

Problem: I agree it is a traditional channel and has received a bad rap for its return on investment. But a lot has changed in the past decade that can make your direct mail campaign a huge success.

Solution: Innovative print and design technology, ability to track and measure, personalization, etc., has brought direct mail back into the marketing mix. Brands are also experimenting with AR technology to create a 3D environment. You can make your direct mail marketing come to life!

Here are some real examples:

IKEA catalog allows you to see what furniture will look the best in your home before you even purchase it! Watch the video to see how IKEA uses AR technology with its printed piece.

Jaguar developed an AR experience for viewers to take a test drive.

Results aren’t instant

Problem: As with any digital advertising, you must have a specific tracking mechanism. If that’s sloppy, you wouldn’t know how the mailer performed for you. You cannot see open rates and click-through rates instantly as in other digital channels. You must wait until the mail is delivered and wait for a response.  But, it is possible.

Solution: You could track delivery rates and return rates; you can also track if you received any digital action if you have specific UTMs attached to the URL. In addition, the use of QR codes is not new, it can be used to lead mail recipients to a landing page, registration page, videos, live chats, and more.

When you use a Direct Mailing company, they have a lot of tracking and integrations available for your existing tech stack.

Direct mail is an essential part of any campaign and can fetch great results if done right. With many customers and prospects at home every day, this is a channel with huge potential. Read Matt Heinz’s blog on Five keys for successful WFH direct mail campaigns.