Direct Mail Never Died. Here’s What Really Happened

Despite what you might have heard or read, the demise of direct mail is pure myth. This method of marketing experienced a decline in the past due to companies sending out mass mailers in a non-strategic way, resulting in low response rates. However, better targeting precision and improved message design strategies have contributed to stronger results in recent years.

The following are key things you should know about the current state of direct mail, and strategies to help you achieve your own marketing objectives.

People Do Read Mail

In previous decades where non-targeted mass mailers were the norm, readership rates on direct mail campaigns were as low as 20 to 25 percent. Almost eight in 10 mail pieces were thrown out without being read. Thanks to improved targeting efficiency using valid contact lists, more recent studies show readership rates closer to 50 percent.

Even more surprising, recent direct marketing studies revealed that nearly six in 10 Americans enjoy getting personalized direct mail pieces from brands. Fifty-six percent of respondents in one report said direct mail was the most trustworthy marketing format.

Response Rates at Historic Highs

During the mass mailer era, studies showed typical response rates below 1 percent. You could send out 100 mailers and were lucky to get one person to take the desired action.

More recent Direct Marketing Association data shows median response rates at 3.5 percent. As companies have filtered out recipients with little to no potential to buy, they have improved efficiency. Research also showed that response rates were steady in B2C and B2B industries, and over-sized mailers and postcards achieved even higher rates at four to five percent.

The Digital to Connection

A key driver of the direct mail demise myth is the rapid evolution of digital marketing and communication tools. However, consumers consistently report that direct mail is a much more personalized method of communication than email and other digital formats.

Many companies have figured out that connecting direct mail to digital campaigns optimizes message impact. A synergy is created. You can hook interest with a high-quality mail piece, and then drive readers to your website or landing page where you share more information and then close the deal.

How to Succeed

None of the facts presented here matter if you don’t apply strategies of targeting buyers with high-quality messages. This point is why the Salesgenie solution is the best of both worlds. Salesgenie provides targeted contact lists with validated and verified contacts, along with professional design and delivery services for your mail pieces.

We apply our expertise with best design practices and strategies to your specific audience and message!


If you buy in to the mythical demise of direct mail, you may miss huge opportunities to connect with your targeted audience on a personal level.

Contact us to discuss your goals with direct mail and why the Salesgenie solution is the best fit to achieve them!