Published March 15th, 2017 by

Is There Still a Place for Direct Mail Through the Post?

Direct marketing is defined as a direct communication from the company to the customer. Traditionally, marketing materials have taken the form of letters, postcards, fliers, brochures etc., and it’s all around us.

Most of us have become immune to all the different forms of advertising thrown at us – radio, press, television, outdoor signage, magazines, emails, social media messages etc., so it’s no surprise that most people ignore direct mail, or at least regard it as a waste of time.


Is it junk mail?

The view that direct mail is just unwanted junk mail is commonly understood. In the past, many companies misused this marketing tool and its reputation became tarnished. Today, direct marketing campaigns are more professional, well-targeted and effective, providing tangible benefits to senders and recipients alike. There is also tighter legislation that helps prevent direct marketing abuse.


Is it expensive to execute?

Direct marketing data suggests that the myth that it’s an expensive option for a company to promote their services or products is easy to dispel. Because a direct mail campaign is tightly focused on the people the company want to reach, there’s very little wastage and the ‘prospects’ are more likely to respond. In addition, companies can quantify results more easily, compared to other standard advertising methods like television and radio.


Only for big companies?

Many small businesses believe that offline direct marketing is for bigger companies with bigger budgets, but statistics prove them wrong. Direct mail is an excellent and relatively cheap tool to promote the services and/or products of a small business. Because the prices of minimum print runs have drastically reduced thanks to new technology, a direct marketing campaign can be a very affordable and very effective option.

So, is it still worthwhile for a company to use direct mail sent by post? Well, of course it is as long as you do it right. Direct mail campaigns are all about connecting with customers in a genuine way, and for a campaign to be really effective, companies need to come up with creative and sometimes strangely unique ideas.

Hardcopy mailshots give a company a physical presence in a customer’s home or office, and can be targeted to reach very specific audiences, involving them with their business in a two-way communication.

Mailshots are engaging, and research shows that consumers spend on average 10 minutes reading them. On the other hand, TV advertising can be dismissed by whoever’s holding the remote!


Perhaps a few of the creative mailshot examples below will convince the sceptics to change their minds.

  • Skoda Yeti: Park Assist SystemCustomers were sent a postcard advertising the Skoda Yeti car parking assist feature. On the postcard was a little car that had to be torn off and placed on the other side. When it was stuck on the designated spot, hidden magnets pushed the car into the tight parking spot.



  • Ikea Side Table: Pop-up – Ikea’s Lack side table is popular with people looking for an affordable option, and their direct marketing promotion was anything but predictable. They posted the Ikea magazine to customers and when it was opened out popped A 3D version of the side table.




  • US security company ADT designed a flat box that was slid under the doors of thousands of people living in apartments. The card was engineered in such a way that within seconds it popped open into a large cube. The message advertising ADT’s security systems was “Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think.”


  • WWF Earth Hour: Candle BoxThis one was simple but proved very effective. In an effort to encourage corporate CEOs to celebrate Earth Hour by shutting down all the lights for a single hour, candles together with a short note were sent to their offices. The response was overwhelming.




  • San Jose Blood Bank: Blood DonationThe San Jose Blood Bank sent people a rolled-up newspaper with a picture of an arm. The see-through wrapping was sealed with a rubber band and looked exactly like a tourniquet wrapped around the arm. This highly unusual direct marketing idea provided a stunning visual reminder to anyone who has ever had blood drawn.




  • Nestle KitKat Chunky – The makers of Kit Kat Chunky sent out a mailshot that looked just like the card a postman would leave when unable to deliver a parcel. Instead of saying that a package couldn’t be delivered, the mailshot claimed that the package could not be posted as it was ‘too chunky for the letterbox’. The recipients were invited to exchange their card at their local news agency for a free KitKat Chunky bar.




This article was brought to you by Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer who specialises in the marketing and business sector.

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