Ever since mail has been delivered to people’s doors, it’s been one of the most effective ways for brands to get in touch with their customers. The medium has a powerful ability to perform a number of roles, such as raising brand awareness, lifting sales, increasing footfall and data capture, and has achieved success for many campaigns in a huge amount of sectors.
With customer engagement times averaging over 10 minutes and 30 per cent of UK adults buying something after having received a mailing, direct mail is a consistent demonstration of the maxim Add Print, Add Power. Here are seven reasons why it works so well.



The mail moment

Direct mail enters an individual’s home and is consumed on a one-to-one basis. This gives you much more time with your customer, time that’s invaluable in raising awareness, persuading, convincing and engaging them in a relaxed environment at a time of their choosing.  A Belgian study shows that 90 per cent empties the mail box every day and 78 percent reads the mail immediately. Mail is therefore also appreciated by 63 per cent of the receivers.  Royal Mail confirms that on almost half of mail consumers react (by reading, keeping or acting). This mail moment is also hack-free as the Austrian Post has shown via a humerous video.

Sensory experience

The physicality of a mailing – the feel of it in your hands – adds another dimension to the brand experience. Academic research has proven that triggering multiple senses results in quicker absorption of the content, the haptic element of paper also adds to the retention and finally touching and holding paper in the hands also demonstrates ownership which is an important value. Whereas we see and listen to most of the advertising, the brain employs 28 per cent for tactile processing. Direct mail offers a lot of possibilities to exploit this capacity.  Mail receivers, for example, experience a higher emotional intensity via direct mail than for example via email or TV advertising (Royal Mail MarketReach, Neuro-Insight 2013). For them seeing and touching a mail piece means it is real.

Make people act

Direct mail is the most likely form of communication to get a response from a customer, with the cost of every response measured with accuracy. The medium offers incentives to make people act – the ideal outcome for any customer communication.
Response data on direct mail are between 54 and 83 per cent of all mail opened, depending on the relationship with the sender. For example, on a letter from a company the receiver hasn't used before, 43 per cent take some kind of action.


Onmi-channel communication requires perfect integration of all channels and content. But also of reinforcement of individual channels via synergies. Direct mail increases the effectiveness of other channels, especially online channels benefit. Online media become 60 per cent more effective when combined with direct mail (BrandScience 2011).  Another study based upon 500 cases shows that including direct mail in a multi-media campaign for services increases the total campaign ROI with 12 per cent (Print Power, BrandScience 2013)


Recent reports have demonstrated the enduring effectiveness of direct mail, it has a more powerful effect on long term memory than other media, for example 72 per cent higher than TV (Royal Mail MarketReach, Neuro-Insights 2013). People do remember mailings also very well, 80 per cent say they remember advertising mail sent to them in the last 4 weeks (TGI Kantar Media, 2014)

Get creative!

Direct mail is unique in that mailings can be produced in a wide variety of formats, using different shapes, sizes, colours and materials to create a memorable brand experience. Print enrichments techniques can add more depth to the mailing, and with bridging technologies such as QR codes, Augmented Reality and Near Field Communication you can increase the interactivity of the mailing. Mailings can take the receivers directly online via these technologies. Triggering smell and taste can make you mailing a real sensation.
With all these opportunities to grab your customer’s attention, it’s clear that direct mail is one of the most versatile marketing mediums available.

Fantastic ROI

There’s no denying that direct mail is an effective channel, especially in combination with other channels. Campaigns including direct mail drove market share with three times the efficiency of campaigns without mail. (Royal Mail MarketReach, IPA databank Meta-Analyse Peter Field, 2013). Also the so-called Millennials prefer the combination of offline and on-line media. Ad agency JWT calculated that combining email with direct mail contributes $17 in revenue and $4 in margin per household.


Click below to see how the effective use of print media delivers results: