The advantages of direct mail marketing: The science behind the statistics

We’ve always believed in the advantages of direct mail marketing, and here are the facts to back us up.

Royal Mail conducted research over 18 months to understand exactly what happens after direct mail enters the home, and how consumers interact with it. The Private Life of Mail found that post often plays a number of complex and important roles beyond the doormat, fuelling deep emotional responses and profound impacts on the brain.

Today, brands are communicating with consumers in increasingly diverse ways in a rapidly evolving media landscape. However, audiences still value human connections. Sensory experiences form an essential part of the human brain, and can stand out from a cacophony of virtual communication and online noise as a result. Now for the science part.

The practical advantages of direct mail

Think about your daily routine at home. Maybe you get up, have a shower, make a coffee, feed the dog and pick up the post. Then what?

Research found that few people sort through direct mail immediately. In fact, advertising mail lurks for 17 days on average. On top of this, 39% of individuals have a dedicated place where they keep their post. As a result, a single piece of mail can create several consumer touchpoints, often over days or weeks – especially if it captures their attention and is aesthetically pleasing enough to show off.

You don’t just reach your intended target either. As 23% of direct mail is shared by individuals, they are by extension sharing your brand and effortlessly growing your audience.

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The financial advantages of direct mail

Marketers are under increasing pressure to adapt to shrinking budgets and prove a strong return on investment. However, direct mail represents an affordable and effective medium for many brands, especially when compared to primetime TV spots or biddable media.

One of the advantages of direct mail is its ‘media multiplier effect’. Not only does it perform strongly in its own right, it can also help to prime audiences as part of a broader campaign and amplify the impact of other marketing tactics.

Analysis showed that campaigns which included direct mail marketing were 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance, 40% more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition levels, and delivered market share growth with three times the efficiency.

The psychological advantages of direct mail

Now it’s time to tap into your lizard brain. We may live in a digital age of emails and instant messages, but human beings still have an innate response to things they can touch, smell and taste (not that we’re encouraging you to eat your post!)

It makes sense – no matter what model of iPhone you have, your primal instincts are still somewhere deep inside. For this reason, scientific studies have found that participants value an object they can see and touch 24% more highly than an object they can only see. While many brands have taken all communications on screen, we value something we can touch. What’s more, the look and feel of direct mail marketing collateral can reinforce your brand image, so if you’re going to give it a try, it makes sense to invest in a quality campaign.

Not only does our subconscious prefer tangible objects, it also recalls them better. One of the most important advantages of direct mail is that it can activate areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory, creating a stronger and lasting impact when compared with other media. As a result, 60% of Royal Mail research respondents claimed the best mail advertising helps to keep brands front of mind.

Last but not least, we appreciate direct mail on an emotional level. It’s impressive enough that 57% of people agree receiving mail makes them feel more valued, and 38% claim the physical properties of mail influence how they feel about the sender. However, we know a lot of complex emotional responses happen under the surface, and it’s likely that direct mail marketing can have an ‘iceberg effect’ – creating a much bigger impact than immediately visible.

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

Using direct mail marketing to your advantage

Direct mail campaigns can work for brands of all shapes and sizes, scaling to fit virtually any budget. Many brands work with partners who can create their collateral and bring their campaigns to life.

Inkpact helps brands to build meaningful connections with their audience by producing the highest quality handwritten letters and notes. Approach your most valuable prospects as individuals, build emotional bonds and make them remember your brand.

Download our free campaign brief template

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