Is Direct Mail Marketing Dead?

Direct mail marketing is an age-old tradition in these United States, but times have changed. Consumers are looking for fresh, new ways to have advertising relentlessly pumped into their heads. This, naturally, leads one to wonder: is direct mail marketing dead?

But times have changed. Consumers are looking for fresh, new ways to have advertising relentlessly pumped into their heads. In a futuristic world of emails, Palm Pilots, and cassettes with eight whole tracks, one has to wonder: Is direct mail marketing dead?

Short answer: No, but it’s dying, and it needs to make some fundamental lifestyle changes.

Over the years, physical junk mail has become less substantial to the average consumer than its intangible digital counterpart. Whereas spam gets sent directly to its folder to be ignored or perused at the reader’s leisure, hard copy mail ads aren’t afforded a place to hibernate. Most people simply toss it the second they see the mass-printed envelope. I’ve probably received five credit card offers this month, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what the APR on any of them was. I could, however, with some certainty, describe what they looked like next to the eggshells in my trashcan.

Most forms of direct mail marketing elicit an almost Pavlovian reaction. Every time you send bulk, bland ads through the mail, you’re practically feeding the recipient’s recycling bin. It’s become a human reflex: see printed correspondence, throw it away. Heck, almost half of the stuff doesn’t even get opened. Add to that the fact that it costs thousands of dollars for even a small operation, and you’ve got a vacuum of time, effort, and money with a bleak end result.

Clearly we need a new approach.

How to Make Direct Mail Marketing Effective


Many companies are rethinking the way they do mail marketing. The days of plastic windows on pre-printed envelopes are soon to be behind us. The era of cold, impersonal interest rates written in boldface type on the front of your letters is coming to an end.

With old school methods proving less and less effective, it’s becoming clear that people respond better to a more personal approach. Nobody wants to be treated like an anonymous nobody anymore than they already are. We have jobs and teenage children to make us feel that way, so why would we want advertisers to pile on? It’s the same reason folks don’t come home to automated voice message ads on our answering machines now: they’re impersonal, and that makes folks tune out. Also, nobody has an answering machine.

People seek out unique, personal experiences.

Taking this thought process into the world of direct mail marketing could be a genuine, Grade A, corn-fed Iowa game changer. It needs to be handled more personally if letters are going to stand out and not just get lost in the 41 pounds of junk mail the average American gets in a year.

Personalizing Your Direct Mail Marketing

So how do you give your mail marketing that special je ne sais quoi? There are a few options. The simplest step would be ditching any “Dear Homeowner” or “Current Resident” openers. Marketing to previous clients based on their previous purchases is also a plus, although it does come off as more than a tad Orwellian when you send someone a printed letter reminding them that you know their purchase history.

For top shelf personalization, check out Bond. We use cutting-edge technology to make writing and sending handwritten notes a breeze, elevating your direct mail marketing initiatives to a whole new level with white-glove service that scales to meet your business’ needs.

Direct mail marketing is still hanging on, but it’s nowhere near as effective as you want it to be. Now is the time to breathe new life into it with Bond.

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