A recent study put out by MarketingProfs explains that “76% of small businesses say their ideal marketing strategy encompasses a combination of both print and digital communication.”  It’s  no wonder this is the case when “Direct mail is over seven times more effective than all digital channels combined” (see the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2015.



As you can see on the above chart, despite this so called digital revolution, direct mail is still a far more effective and integrated form of marketing. When direct mail works it affects the human brain differently than digital marketing does.


Here’s a thought to get those marketing juices flowing; in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory what would have happened if Charlie didn’t like chocolate? There would be no story because he probably would never have spent his money on a candy bar in the first place. In order to achieve success in direct mail marketing you must make sure your campaign is going out to the recipients you intended when you designed the campaign; otherwise, your gold wrapper becomes just like every other chocolate bar wrapper.


How do we ensure our chocolate bars are going out to the Charlies of the world? Here are three tips that will help you break through the noise of your competition.


FOLLOW YOUR PROSPECTS: We have published blogs before explaining how important it is to keep you mail list clean and up to date (see 4 Easy Step to Clean Up Your Mail list). Your direct mail campaign is only as effective as your mail list.


Not only do you want to make sure your catalog is being mailed to the right person, but when a buyer moves they are much more likely to spend money on their new home and become a life time valued customer as a result. That’s an opportunity you don’t want to pass by! Here are some ways you can follow your buyers:


  • Use social media and e-mail marketing and ask them if they’re “Getting ready to move”
  • Use the above channels to offer coupons to movers
  • Clean up your addresses by using the NCOA (National Change of Address) link manufactured by the USPS


PERSONALIZE YOUR CATALOGS: In order to personalize your catalog, you must first segment your mail list. You do this by looking at demographics—the age, gender, income, and geographic location of your buyers. After that, you can look at the market trends for those demographics. This will better allow you to personalize your catalogs to the specific needs and buying behaviors of your target audience. Here are some ways that will help you determine your buyer’s demographics:


  • Use a Cooperative Database
  • Follow your buyers on social media
  • Conduct surveys
  • Look at who your competitors are targeting


TEST YOUR ROI TO MAKE SURE YOUR PERSONALIZATION IS WORKING: I don’t think we can stress enough how important it is to test what is working for your mail list. You can achieve this by using technologies such as promotion codes, QR codes, Augmented Reality, Personalize URLS, as well as experimenting with different design elements for your catalog. Here are some ideas that we wrote about in an earlier white paper (see Target Your Audience and Boost Performance):


  • Inkjet customer codes on individual catalogs and document which households respond
  • Use different phone lines and URLs on your catalogs to see who is ordering from where
  • Use promotions and promotion codes to track investment
  • Segment your house file by zip code and run traceable promotions and see which segment is stronger.
  • Cross reference your social media files with your house-files and longtime purchasers



One of the reasons why direct mail is so successful is because of the time and research that is put into targeting your mail list.  It’s an excellent way to reach people in their day to day lives, to offer them solutions to problems as they experience them. There is no other form of marketing that is able to achieve this.