Busting Direct Mail Myths

There are lots of myths about the value of direct mailing – let’s start unpicking them one by one.

Direct mail is delivered on the back of unicorns who fly through the air and land in a cloud of fairy dust on the doorstep.

Ok perhaps we’re telling a few tall tales there, but some of the others misconceptions around DM are just as far fetched.


Young people don’t want direct mail, they get all the information they want online.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is probably true, but in reality this is absolutely not the case. There’s a body of evidence that shows that digital burnout is a very real phenomenon and that’s a possibility we may move away from living our life vicariously through devices.

American author, Casey Schwartz, released a book called Attention:A Love Story where the central theme was human’s ability to focus. It also raised a further question – if a lack of physical connection combined with our screen life may well lead to us moving away from technology.

While we may be a long way off from consigning our smart phones to the bin, but discard tangible print in favour of digital at your peril.

Deloitte’s 2021 global marketing trends report highlighted that as many as two in five people were suffering from digital burnout, with endless information now available on how to carry out a digital detox.

Royal Mail has also carried out its own research which has show that the biggest rise in engagement with direct mail in 2020 was from the 18-34 age group.


Direct mail isn’t exciting.

What is the better experience – the two dimensional interaction with a screen or something that you can hold in your hand, feel touch and smell?

It’s a bit of a no brainer and a far more rewarding, lasting and memorable event.

Digital marketing has everyone seeing the same item in exactly the same format. In stark contrast, an item which comes through the letterbox can be any number of shapes, sizes and colours.

It can be unfolded in a myriad of different ways, have areas within areas that can be opened for further information or a surprise (advent calendar style) – there are any amount of possibilities.

Not surprising then that the recall rates of items received in the mail are far higher than anything you might get by email.


Direct mail is not relevant for online businesses.

We’ve saved our best myth busting to last. Research again in both the UK and the USA shows that direct mail has a huge ROI and retention factor with prospective customers.

It’s the perfect way to close the gap between brands and customers, backed up by some pretty strong evidence.

Research shows that around 25 per cent of people bought something as a result of receiving direct mail. In the USA one survey showed that direct mail’s response rate was 5.3 per cent higher than the 0.3 per cent response rate to email marketing.

The fact that people have to physically handle a piece of direct marketing material means they are far more likely to engage with it – particularly if there’s an offer or discount on it.

If you are marketing to an age group that may be less likely to use social media then direct mail is a must and of course those short sighted companies which are scaling back on their DM are leaving more room in the space for you to occupy it.

There are so many ways that you can get creative with direct mail. A great example is the Brazilian gym which gave our calendars to their customers with a silhouette of a man and a woman – who got noticeably thinner in the picture each new month.

Direct mail is the way to get yourself noticed – and who doesn’t want that?