Most of us have experienced the wrath of intrusive marketing: we started with direct mail (junk mail), migrated to telemarketers, watched the evolution of PC and spam email, and now we’re experiencing social media extremists. We have been inundated with unwanted junk mail filling up our mailboxes (throw it in the garbage), called at all hours of the day by relentless telemarketers (think of something clever to say and hang up), overwhelmed with spam email in our inboxes (delete), and now we are at a point where individuals feel it necessary to fill us in on every thought and action throughout a day (unfriend).

Well, from my observations, the paradigm is shifting back to direct mail…in a good way! (Non-electronic) mailboxes aren’t as full as they once were when we stood over a garbage can throwing away 90% of our mail — without even looking at it. People are noticing direct mail again. There aren’t as many pieces cluttering up our mailboxes – and what does arrive has more intelligence behind it. We want to look at it, set it aside and look at it again. That doesn’t happen with email or social media posts. According to a 2012 Epsilon Channel Preference Study, direct mail brings the most comfort to recipients. But new technology is a big influence on how people choose to receive information and the mobile generation is 40-50% more likely to prefer email and online communications, respectively, than non-users.

With access to more detailed personal data, targeted audiences are receiving relevant information via personalized direct mail. When I get a monthly postcard from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, I read it. My wife, on the other hand, reads the Target and White House/Black Market direct mail pieces she receives. We don’t always act on the marketing offer at hand, but do look at the direct mail piece almost every time. The Golden Nugget tailors and targets
its mailing based on data they’ve collected on me in the hope of winning more of my business.

Direct mail is hitting the mark. According to a survey conducted by Millward Brown, a leading global research agency, ”physical media–AKA direct mail–left a ‘deeper footprint’ in the brain.” In other words, people like us can relate and interact with a targeted direct mail piece. We are seeing interest across all demographics, not just older people who remember the good old days when everything was mailed.

So, people of all ages DO like direct mail. We are seeing a surge in direct mail. According to Rachel Aldighieri, Director of Communications and Insight at the Digital Marketing Association, “People continue to value direct mail and printed communications from brands, finding that it plays a seamless role within their connected worlds, offers some qualities not found in other communications and is an essential part of the overall ‘brand experience.’”

While direct mail can be expensive, it has very good odds of success if you offer useful information to targeted recipients, incorporate an eye-catching design and finally, make it part of an overall marketing campaign.