Direct mail marketing has been around forever, and as we hit kick off 2021 – I find myself being asked more and more frequently: “does direct mail marketing still work?” It’s a valid question – especially in an age where more and more people rely on the internet for communication. Interestingly enough it’s because of this shift towards the internet that I think direct mail marketing is more alive than ever. You just have to do it right. Allow me to explain.

Think back 10-20 years when an average trip to your mailbox consisted of dragging home at least 3-4 different promotional magazines. Several sales letters.  And ofcourse your dreaded bills. Those days are long gone. Short of the Amazon Prime packages being left on our doorstep, people’s mailboxes are getting less and less cluttered. That means there’s a much better chance for your mailer to be noticed. You just have to make an effort to get noticed.

Unfortunately most business owners miss the mark here. They go with the usual flyer or postcard that advertises their services and offers some coupons. Things that used to work in the golden age of direct mail campaigns. These days if you send out a generic mailer, with some stock photos, and some fancy text with your sales pitch – your campaign won’t go well. People have seen these hundreds of thousands of times – and they usually drop them off at the trash bin on their way back from the mailbox. If you want to make it inside – you have to stand out. if you want your mailer to be read – you have to be unique. Now is the time to think outside the box.

BMW Did It Right

BMW recently sent me the following “mailer” – a term I use very loosely in this example. However everything about this direct mail campaign was perfect. Browse through the photos to get a visual walkthrough of my experience as I got this mailer.

This mailer worked. I had no hesitation in opening it. In fact, I was excited to see what this was – since the shape wasn’t anything you would expect from a generic mailer. I played with it for days. It’s still sitting on my desk. I showed it to a bunch of people. It inspired me to write this article, and feature it. And you know what – I’m probably going to go test drive the new 5 series & who knows where that will end up. Had BMW simply sent me a letter or a flyer about the new 5 series, I probably would’ve discarded it thinking it was a generic leasing company advertisement.

I understand that most people reading this don’t have the marketing budget that BMW North America has. And BMW does have a very targeted list for each one of their marketing campaigns. They aren’t just sending these out to random people. However there is no reason you can’t follow the same path. To have a truly successful mail marketing campaign takes creativity more than anything else. Choosing a bright colored envelope versus a white one. Printing exciting graphics on the envelope itself. Maybe opting for a unique sized print to stand out from everyone else. If you really think about it & get creative – there’s things that can be done to fit any budget.

This is how traditional marketing channels work in this day. You can put up a boring, generic, billboard. Keep it up for 6 months, and generate less from it than from a unique, attention-grabbing billboard that was up for 1 month.

So yes. Direct mail marketing is very much alive. And kicking. Hard. You just have to think outside the box and really demand the attention.