Is Direct Mail Really Dead?

Even with sky high postage costs, a properly executed direct mail campaign still provides a solid ROI. What? You've bought into the myth that direct mail is dead?

You're not alone. And while people are entitled to their own opinions about direct mail, they're not entitled to their own facts. Here are the facts: According to an annual study from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), spending on direct mail marketing is expected to increase by more than $1 billion in 2010. Yes, that's billion with a "B". would appear that rumors of direct mail's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Don't People Hate Junk Mail?

And if you've also bought into the myth that people hate junk mail (and that's exactly what it is a myth), here are the myth-busting facts: According to the 2010 DMA Statistical Fact Book, 79% of households either read or skim junk mail advertising sent to their home.

That study is right in line with an International Communications Research survey commissioned by postal automation giant, Pitney Bowes. The survey found, despite the immense popularity, and widespread use of digital media, consumers still prefer mail over e-mail, as it relates to receiving new product announcements, as well as confidential business communications such as bank statements and other financial information.

Here's how the numbers breakdown: 73 percent of consumers prefer mail for receiving new product announcements or offers from companies they do business with, as compared to 18 percent for e-mail.

For important and confidential communications such as bills, bank statements and other financial information, a huge majority of respondents (86 percent)preferred mail as their communication method of choice, as compared with 10 percent for e-mail.

But wait, the news gets even better: The survey also found that 31 percent of consumers are less likely to discard unopened mail - including new product announcements, coupons, brochures, catalogs, etc. - than they are to delete unsolicited e-mails (spam) regarding new product announcements (53.2 percent).

When consumers were asked what specific advantages they saw in junk mail versus unsolicited e-mail and telemarketing calls, 45.3 percent of respondents found mail to be, get this - less intrusive; (40.2) percent more convenient - can be saved and considered at leisure; (30.2) less high-pressured - lets you consider your decision; (22.7 percent)more descriptive - lets you picture the offer; and (12 percent)more persuasive - encourages you to respond. I don't know about you, but those numbers definitely got my attention.

What is Cooperative Direct Mail?

If you haven't considered trying direct mail, maybe you should. A properly executed direct mail campaign combined with online marketing methods could be an unbeatable combination. Don't know where to start? No problem. Cooperative direct mail companies like Valpak and Clipper Magazine make launching a direct mail campaign easy and affordable, for even the most budget conscious small business.

So what exactly is cooperative direct mail? Cooperative direct mail simply means you share an envelope with other advertisers - mostly local merchants, but usually a couple of national companies as well. Sharing an envelope with other advertisers reduces your costs significantly.

For example, if you were to do a mailing on your own to 10,000 homes, it would cost you thousands of dollars - even at reduced bulk rate postage costs. However, that same mailing shared with other advertisers would only cost you a few hundred dollars. That's a huge difference that allows you to free up valuable marketing dollars that can be used elsewhere.

And if you're a "push the envelope" type of marketer and really want to take your direct mail campaign to the next level, a new company named Dukky (pronounced ducky) is merging "junk mail" with social marketing and web technology - creating an amazingly effective and powerful marketing combination. Dukky's web address is

In closing, if you do decide to give direct mail a try, whatever you do, don't approach the process blindly. In order to utilize direct mail to its optimum effectiveness, you need to know what you're doing.

In that regard, I highly recommend you purchase the book Million Dollar Mailing$ by the undisputed King of direct mail, Denny Hatch.

Just remember:

"You will go only as far as the limits of your knowledge. If you want to go farther, increase your knowledge." - David Jackson