B2E Data Blog

Can Direct Mail Still Produce Worthwhile ROI in 2022?

Jan 13, 2022 2:59:10 PM / by Keith Snow

Is direct mail still a good way to reach your target audience in 2022? 

In our digital world, many marketers aren’t sure anymore. They wonder if direct mail seems outdated, or if it still captures consumer attention. 

The data shows it does. As mail volumes have decreased in the past 15 years – direct mail response rates have actually increased

According to a 2018 response report by the Data & Marketing Association, house lists had a 9% response rate on average, while prospect lists had an average response rate of 5%. That represents a 173% increase for house lists and a 194% increase for prospect lists since 2006!


Here’s why direct mail still works, and how to incorporate it into a modern, data-driven marketing campaign. 

Consumers Trust Direct Mail. 

When MarketingSherpa interviewed more than 2,400 customers about which advertising channels they trust when making a purchasing decision, direct mail came out near the top of the list. A majority of respondents – 76% – said they trusted ads or catalogs they receive in the mail. 

Interestingly, there appears to science to support this. The field of neuromarketing blends neuroscience and psychology to study marketing and consumer behavior. In 2019, the U.S. Postal Service used neuromarketing research techniques to study consumer engagement with different types of advertising.  When it came to physical advertisements, the participants spent more time, had stronger emotional responses, and were able to remember them more quickly and confidently. 

Direct Mail Can Engage Other Senses.

Having a physical touchpoint with consumers provides an opportunity to engage senses that aren’t used in the digital world – primarily touch. Our eyes and ears receive ample – or even too much – stimulation when we’re online. Appealing to other senses can be a clever and subtle way to catch attention. 

As indicated in neuromarketing research, touching a physical advertisement creates a sensory experience that makes it more memorable. Even simple textures or features like embossing can have an impact. Some advertisers are finding creative ways to engage all five senses in their direct mail communications to increase emotional response and purchasing behaviors. 

Direct Mail Can Be Targeted and Personalized

While direct mail campaigns of the past relied on mass mailings, today’s campaigns can be both highly personalized and targeted. A data-led approach can zero your direct mail communications on your most engaged customers, an ideal prospect persona, a specific geographic location, or to follow-up on previous actions. Additionally, businesses can use personalization fields and personas to ensure each piece of direct mail speaks uniquely to each recipient. 

Direct Mail Results Can Be Measured

Direct mail is a great complement to digital marketing efforts. Using the two together as part of an omni-channel campaign can enhance the overall results and make the results of your direct mail efforts more trackable. 

By incorporating digital CTAs such as a unique URL, dedicated landing page, promotional code, QR code, or IP matched to a physical address (MotusIP), marketers can measure specific resulting actions. It also augments the impact of direct mail by adding a personalized digital component. Bringing together direct mail and digital often results in a more powerful experience with better results, as seen in this B2E case study that netted the client a more than 700% return on spend!    

Don’t be fooled into thinking that direct mail no longer has a place in a digital-first world. It’s far from dead – and in fact, the smart use of your data will make it more effective than ever. Schedule a conversation to discuss creating a high-impact direct mail campaign in 2022. 

View more B2E case studies





Tags: direct mail, marketing behavior, consumer behavior, marketing sherpa, B2E Case Study

Keith Snow

Written by Keith Snow

Download the Seven Steps to Data Driven Marketing Whitepaper

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts