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Why Are People Falling Back in Love with Direct Mail?

Posted by Brian Jones on August 22, 2022

According to MarketingSherpa, 76% of consumers say they trust promotions they receive in the mail.

Another recent survey (State of Direct Mail Consumer Insights from LOB) states that 50% of consumers aged 34-54 who receive direct mail from a brand think it feels more important than receiving an email.

And SmallBizTrends.com reports that 70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than online interactions.

So what’s going on here?

Why’s direct getting all the love lately?

The short answer…

Lots of reasons.

For starters, you can touch direct mail… you can feel it… engage with it… There's a physical connection. Plus, it stays where you put it. Banner ads, on the other hand, change by the second. Facebook ads fly by as fast as your thumb can doom scroll. And emails, well they can work if they’re done right — but if not — they risk getting lost in a never-ending avalanche of inbox messages.


76% of consumers say they trust promotions they receive in the mail.

— Marketing Sherpa


So something “real,” something physical, something that stays around has a bit more credibility than those digital blips and blinks that are here one second and gone the next. And when direct mail is done by a professional shop, it’s done in a way that uses tried and true direct marketing techniques, which feels more legitimate than a flashy, promotional digital campaign. Another thing about digital is that you never truly know who’s behind the campaign — an actual organization or person? Or another phishing attempt?

Then there are syndromes like “banner blindness” and “digital fatigue.” These, and others, are not really surprising considering the average consumer is bombarded with hundreds of messages every day. Each one gets only a split second to capture the intended target’s attention. If the message/offer doesn’t resonate immediately with the reader, well there are a couple dozen other ads right behind it trying to sell them something else.

But, not mail.

Mail is physical.

It’s real.

It has staying power.

People hold onto a relevant piece of mail for days, weeks even. In fact, I bet there’s a piece of mail in your own kitchen right now that’s over two weeks old. One study says a consumer may keep a piece of mail for up to 17 days -iStock-1338099904 before acting on it.

Another plus is that, just like books, Polaroid pictures, record albums, and other analog media, mail connects in a meaningful way with younger people who are thought of as the “digital-first” generation.  

Direct Mail Is Hyper Personal

Today people expect their mail to be personalized. And not just first and last name. No, they expect marketers to know something about them: their purchase history, recent search behavior, potential next best offers, purchase intent, etc. We're talking about relevant data. Not creepy big brother data.  And with today’s tracking and intent data, you can customize offers more precisely than ever. Variable images and copy can speak directly to what’s going on in the consumer’s life… what challenges they’re facing… what’s changing in their world... what challenges they have. These are the things that resonate, get attention, and elicit a response. Meeting people where they are, at the right time, with the right offer— one that satisfies an immediate need and solves it easily — is the winning combination.

So What’s the Best Way to Reach People Today

Well, you need to reach people at home, of course… and at work… and on the train… and on the bus… and at the doctor’s office… at the ball game… at the store… at a restaurant… and anywhere else they happen to be. Because these days, people are on-screen — looking at ads, if they're interesting — anywhere and everywhere they go.

To be successful, you need to give them a compelling, relevant offer that improves some aspect of their lives right away.


50% of consumers aged 34-54 who receive direct mail from a brand think it feels more important than receiving an email.

— Lob.com


But therein lies the rub. To do this effectively, you need to be on more than one channel. Perhaps you start with an email campaign that tells customers you have something that will help them solve a problem.

That warms them up and can help increase awareness of your product or brand. Some folks may even respond to your email on the spot. But as we know, not every customer reads the entire email. So you can follow that up with a targeted, hyper-personalized direct mail piece that mentions something you know about their interactions with your brand, such as a recent purchase, interest in a new product or service, or maybe you offer them a next-best product that makes perfect sense for them. If you can do this, now you have something to build on.

The next two steps in the process are important — 1.) to build interest in your offer (using the visual hammer/verbal nail from your design and copy team) and 2.) to provide a clear path to action.


70% of consumers say direct mail is more personal than an online interaction.

— SmallBizTrends.com


As part of a multi-channel effort, direct mail can be the powerhouse piece in your marketing mix that helps you break through and connect with the people who can benefit the most from your product.

Next time you need to generate immediate, measurable, and improved response, turn to the experts who have been using proven direct mail techniques to drive response, revenue, and ROI for clients for over 40 years. Contact J&C 

Topics: Direct Marketing, Direct Mail, Creative

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