How direct mail marketing will help you reach your perfect audience.

Ben Walker

“You can either layer the geography on top of the demographic, or you can layer the demographic on top of the geography to reach your perfect audience.”

by Ben Walker

Direct mail marketing is alive and well. A JICMAIL study1 found that direct mail had an incredible 95% engagement rate and 46% of main was still in the household after 28 days. Receiving something tangible, printed, creative and beautiful has a much larger impact on a consumer than something received within a maelstrom of noise and other advertisers.

Print is unique because it can captivate the consumer when they want to pay attention to it. If I get home, pick up some post, and put it on my table, it lives there until the right moment. Maybe I get hungry and see the local pizza deals gathering dust, maybe I’m tidying and get reminded I’ve received some vouchers. Maybe I’m looking for a new bit of tech, and I’ve set aside a deal for when I have a moment, I won’t forget about it because it’s visible and readily available to pick up and use.

Direct marketing simply adds a layer on top of that to ensure that I’m more likely to interact with the brand. Most people love pizza, so that may not need a hyper-targeted campaign (and if any takeaways want to send me any deals, please do, I am your demographic), but I’m not looking for a house at the moment. Direct marketing can target a specific demographic to ensure minimal campaign wastage, a higher return on investment, and a much more positive engagement rate.


What is direct mail marketing?

So, when we’re talking about direct mail and direct mail marketing, what does that mean? Direct marketing essentially means targeting the individual directly, a one-on-one communication between brand and consumer. In this sense, a door drop (when a postcode sector or sectors are targeted with generic artwork) is not direct marketing, where a direct mail campaign where a specific demographic is targeted will be.

Direct mail, as an extension, is physical mail sent to individual households. If you’re targeting specific demographics, or existing customers, or prospective customers from your CRM with physical correspondence such as letters or postcards, it’s direct mail.

The key is “direct”. Instead of casting a wide net with a more generic campaign, you’re filtering out those that are unlikely to interact with your product, service, or brand and really honing in on who will be most interested.

The benefit of directly targeting a likely consumer is clear, and the statistics back that up. The DMA reports that 92% of consumers2 were driven to online or digital activity as a direct result of receiving mail.


Where data driven marketing fits in

Where and how does data driven marketing fit into direct mail? Everywhere, in many places, across the board! Data is everything. Data will power campaign one, then that data, combined with the resulting data, will power campaign two, so everything you do will collect useful and replicable data.

But where do you start? Quite simply, you can break direct targeting down by two things:

  • Geography
  • Demographic

From there, there’s so many places you can go (no pun intended). Direct mail and data create a map of numbers, cost, success, all creating a group of ideal consumers.

You’ll know your product or service, and marketing technologies such as Precision Connects can help you fine tune and target your audience. These technologies allow you to enter filters to generate a number of targets at a household level. For example, if you’re selling a house, you can target first time buyers within 10 miles of the development by filtering by location, age, salary and more.

What if your product is more global? You can use data to find which postcodes have the largest proportion of your target market and focus on them with acorn indexing. If you know who you’re selling to, data helps you get your message and your brand into that consumer’s household without annoying or upsetting the consumers that quite simply won’t care. This saves you time, money, (and stress), and increases your return on investment.

So, you can either layer the geography on top of the demographic, or you can layer the demographic on top of the geography to reach your perfect audience.


Creative direct mail examples

The next element of direct mail marketing is the creative. Sure, you’ve got your household count, you know who’ll respond to your brand, but without clear, creative, and useful artwork that targeting is set up to fail.

Thinking about the possibilities should be exciting, and playing around should be a blast. The idea of a certain size postcard, bleed and crop marks, and CMYK colour schemes may not excite everyone, but there’s a lot more to it. Your postcard is your canvas, and there’s a lot you can do to tell your story.

You can also add a QR code as a call to digital engagement. Then, once your consumer is online, you can add cookies to retarget them with digital marketing campaigns and tie your campaigns together, reaching the same consumer multiple times. You can also retarget your direct mail group with email campaigns with the same filters, increasing the interactions with your brand. QR codes are ubiquitous, can be well designed, and make the “phygital” (the combination between digital and physical) simple and easy to achieve.

Also, you’re not limited to a front-back postcard. Postage can be multi-sided, folded and cut in creative ways, and designed to make an impact. Between entering my door from the winter cold and switching the heating on, if I see a direct mailer shaped like a pizza (like Papa John’s campaign), I’m much more likely to stop and stay cold for a few moments more.

The possibilities are only as endless as human creativity (in other words… they’re endless).


Implementing the best direct marketing strategy

So, how do you implement the best strategy? Should you use direct marketing alone, or should you opt for more indirect methods?

It is worth noting that direct marketing and more indirect marketing methods, such as SEO, aren’t generally comparable as the goals and success metrics are different and they’re fit for different purposes. The best way to strategise is to combine your efforts and focus on your product and service, and how people will interact with it.

Let’s look at food, again, in the context of the type of service. Fast food restaurants are great for out of home advertising because if you’re driving on an empty stomach, you’re more likely to take a detour to the closest fast-food restaurant if you see some warm, golden chips and a burger standing proud. Takeaways are more suited to door drops as most demographics will enjoy them, so a lower unit cost across a more general geography will bring in the most effective return on investment. Brands are well suited to direct mail marketing as that’s when specific demographics come into play. For example, Subway™ is suitable for direct mail because hungry students within a walking distance are a demographic that is likely to interact with the brand.

Once you’ve decided your format, you can mix and match! Omnichannel marketing is the future, and with hyper-targeted marketing you can target the same group of hungry consumers with the same branded artwork across multiple different digital and physical touchpoints, increasing the likelihood they’ll buy (at least according to the rule of seven3).

This is where the creative comes in. With creative automations and modern marketing tools, you’ll be able to create a beautiful, complete, comprehensive piece of artwork that can be resized and instantly repurposed for physical mail, out of home, social media campaigns, and more!


How direct mail marketing campaigns will reach your perfect audience

Overall, direct mail marketing campaigns reach your perfect audience with a perfectly designed message through the use of data. Data is everything and it lets you and your brand communicate with the consumers that want to communicate back.

The statistics, research, and success speaks for itself. Direct mail is growing in size, too, with the pandemic highlighting and supercharging the importance of the household and getting your message into that household.

Direct mail, therefore, cleans up the noise and the wastage of an indirect campaign and targets your prospective buyers, well, directly. This lowers your cots and extends your return on investment and creates measurable and repeatable success across the country (and beyond!)

To find out more about how Precision can help with your direct mail, marketing, and data needs, you can contact the team at or phone us at 01284 718900, and you can check out our Precision Connects platform.