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The hype surrounding online marketing and social media is hard to ignore. In the highly digitized world we live in, it is no surprise that many executives might believe that the days of direct mail success are over. Contrary to such assumptions, statistics show that direct mail is still one of the best ways to reach certain types of customers. According to facts published in the DMA 2011 Statistical Fact Book, sales revenues grew from $457 billion to $477 billion from 2010 to 2011.

Even marketing agencies viewed as leaders in the high-tech industry see the value of utilizing direct mail as part of a comprehensive marketing program. The fact that Google is one of the largest users of direct mail worldwide validates this assumption about the viability of direct mail as an effective marketing tool. One explanation about why direct mail marketing is so attractive to business executives relate to the impressive Return on Investment (ROI) that direct mail generates. Projected ROI for each $1 spent in 2011 is an impressive $12.03, as compared to $5.24 for general advertising.

Direct Mail Option Compared to Email

While many marketing professionals prefer the idea of sending an inexpensive email out instead of spending the upfront money required to prepare an attractive direct mail piece, there are certain factors that still make direct mail a superior method of marketing. The fact that a home address is a guaranteed delivery address is a noteworthy benefit of using direct mail. Comparatively, many consumers have multiple email addresses that are inactive. Some email addresses are forgotten about and rarely checked. To make matters even worse, many emails will never reach the intended recipient because they will land in the spam file. Fortunately, a physical piece of mail does not fall prey to these types of problems.

Another reason direct mail still works during contemporary times is because consumers like getting mail. With 60 percent of U.S. consumers saying they like to check the mail, it is understandable that companies enjoy success from direct mail marketing. An estimated 65 percent of direct mail recipients eventually make a purchase resulting from this type of promotional effort.

Likely Consumers Favour Print

Attracting women is crucial for any marketing strategy intent on getting to the decision maker who ultimately makes most family purchases. Since females have an estimated spending impact of about $5 trillion annually, prudent marketing executives recognize the importance of reaching out to this powerful group of consumers in ways they appreciate. In an annual survey conducted by Veris Communications’ Customer Focus Research, findings support that women like direct mail as a resource for making purchases. Female consumers cited newspaper ads, inserts and coupons as the most useful for making purchases.

Direct Mail as a Growth Industry

Much like all consumers, businesses vote with their dollars. Based on that fact, it becomes obvious that the growth of the direct mail industry substantiates its viability. According to The Direct Marketing Association’s annual forecast of direct marketing’s economic impact, direct mail expenditures increased at the impressive rate of 5.6 % to a figure of $163 billion in the year 2011.


Business executives are not immune to the allure of the loud hype that defines the digital world and social media giants. For marketing purposes though, taking into account what works consistently as a marketing tool, as measured by ROI, is of paramount importance. Based on profitability considerations, the use of direct mail as a marketing tool makes good business sense as a practical and proven way to market to contemporary consumers.

Dave Dunne

Dave Dunne is a freelance copywriter and blogger who writes on a range of subjects including marketing, small business, web development and SEO.