Direct Mail Takes Viral Marketing Offline

direct mail marketing

In today’s constantly-shifting digital landscape, “old school” forms of marketing like physical mail can be overlooked or pushed to the side – by marketers, but not by customers.

Dealers who find themselves drawn to the new and shiny at the expense of a solid direct mail strategy do so at their own risk. Direct mail done right brings a unique value: the value of turning marketing targets into brand champions.

How does that happen?

Mail has always delivered a great ROI, and it still does. The reasons for that are the strong emotional connections and brand associations that a physical piece of targeted mail can build between sender and receiver.

While we continue to chase the digital innovations that define the way people interact with media, we underestimate the steady, lasting impact of mail. The right approach to direct mail can elicit a response just as powerful as an effective social media campaign or well-placed digital display ad.

What Makes Direct Mail So Effective?

It goes against everything we see when we look around large groups of people distracted by devices, but direct mail is so powerful because it is a tangible, physical channel.

People place more value on things they can see, touch, and interact with as opposed to an artificial image on a screen.

This helps explain the surprisingly long life-cycle of direct mail in the home:

Think about it. Picking up, sorting, and managing physical mail is part of a household routine. It can’t be managed as easily as email or social media while on-the-go or multi-tasking and therefore demands more attention.

From Reader to Advocate

The genuine connection that the right piece of mail can establish can turn a passive marketing target into a brand champion. 57 percent of consumers claim that receiving mail makes them feel more valued, while 38 percent say that the physical properties of mail influence how they feel about the sender.

Consumers interact with mail and absorb its messages in a largely unconscious way. While we all think we are rational decision-makers, emotional responses affect our buying more than we like to admit. Feeling unique and special when we receive something is more likely to make us have the same feelings about the people who sent it to us.

And we remember those feelings. 60 percent of consumers say that mail advertising is more memorable, and science agrees. Reading mail physically activates the areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory.

In the world of online sharing, mail isn’t left out. At least 21 percent of promotions and special offers in a typical direct mail piece are shared with people beyond the original recipient.

When you find send the perfect message to the right person, you can turn them into someone who will help spread your message for you – just like on social media, but carrying along with it all those additional benefits unique to physical mail.


The right piece of targeted mail will produce results, because it has the power to make consumers feel valued and engaged in ways few other channels can easily accomplish. And when the offer is right, it will inspire customers to pass along the message, and all the good feelings that go with it.