Direct Mail: The Dark Horse of Marketing


Red mailbox with direct mail postcards

I use the internet every day, and you probably do too.

95% of surveyed American 25 to 34-year-olds go online every day.

Guilty as charged.

With so many eyeballs glued to screens on a daily basis, it’s no wonder US marketers are projected to spend $120 billion on digital marketing by the year 2021.

So…snail mail is dead, right?

Not so fast.

Digital marketing may be growing, but that doesn’t mean physical mailing is out for the count.

A 2016 online survey done by the USPS found that respondents assign high emotional value to physical mail. In fact, the majority of respondents said they anticipated discovering what the mailbox brings. They also consider time sorting through mail as time well spent.

What about Millennials?

We may be “digital natives”, but it turns out Millennials are even more excited about physical mail than non-Millennials.

50% of Millennials in the USPS survey look forward to getting mail, whereas 44% of Non-Millennials rush to their mailbox.

Millennials also spend more time sorting mail, despite receiving less of it. That’s right, young people are more meticulous about their mail!

Surely online marketing is more effective, though.

It’s surprisingly not. And don’t call me Shirley.


For return on investment, nothing compares to direct mail. The 2016 annual report done by the Data & Marketing Association on marketing response rates found that online channels can’t compete with the response rates of direct mail.

Direct mail for house lists boast a 5.3% response rate (2.9% for prospect lists). This handily beats all online channels COMBINED.

In fact, none of the researched online channels could quite break a 1% response rate.

  • Online display: 0.9%
  • Email with house lists: 0.6%
  • Email with prospect lists: 0.3%
  • Social Media: 0.6%
  • Paid Search: 0.5%

The future may be digital, but people (and bunnies) still love getting mail.


Convinced about the value of direct mail marketing?

Valerian’s VersaMailer has EVEN BETTER response rates than regular direct mail.

direct mail retail postcard example