The Best Way to Reach Digital Consumers? How About Direct Mail

It’s Time to Take a Fresh Look at Personalized, Physical Messaging

The marketer’s toolbox is overflowing with effective media channels, both digital and physical. But that doesn’t make connecting with consumers any easier.

The best way to reach them? Connect the effectiveness of a physical medium with the intelligence of digital.

In other words, it’s time to take a fresh look at tactics like direct mail.

Direct mail was once a highly effective—but wholly static—piece of the marketing puzzle. It was a foundational piece of performance marketing, but was disconnected from other channels.

Today, direct mail is capable of so much more. Direct mail creates real-time action from every interaction, allowing for precise targeting, omnichannel coordination and effective measurement.

By integrating with data, direct mail has gained the qualities marketers have become accustomed to from digital channels, without losing the effectiveness of being in hand. In fact, when direct mail is integrated with other digital and physical tactics, its effectiveness multiplies. In a USPS survey of 75 marketing decision-makers, respondents saw high 40% conversion rates when they combined direct mail with digital channels.

Digitally powered direct mail can be:


It’s now possible to go beyond one-size-fits-all mass mailings. Individually targeted direct mail brings the precision and personalization of digital to the physical medium. You can send a postcard to remind someone about an item they abandoned in your ecommerce site’s shopping cart. A flyer or brochure can be targeted at customers who have researched your products on your web pages. Personalized direct mail creates a moment of relevance that can drive action. In a study by the ANA|DMA, it was shown that targeting like this on a one-to-one level increased response rates by 50%.


The days of long lead times for direct mail development, creation, printing and mailing are gone. Simple and effective mailpieces that drive specific action can be generated, personalized and mailed faster than ever. Not long after performing an online action, a person can pull a postcard relating to that action from their physical mailbox.


When direct mail connects back to digital properties, and when digital properties can trigger individualized direct mail, marketing sticks. Multiple touchpoints with one piece of direct mail provide memorable messaging that sticks with a recipient.


No longer in a silo, direct mail is now a true part of the team. Mail can link to a website or social channel to encourage interaction. Marketers can use digital triggers to send personalized mail based on customer behavior, mimicking digital retargeting. Use mail at the center of a coordinated omni-channel campaign or as a complement to an effort that focuses mostly on digital channels.

By adding a layer of digital intelligence, direct mail has fundamentally changed as a marketing tool. Rather than acting as the third wheel of a digital-first campaign, mail can now seamlessly balance, boost and fortify an omni-channel campaign. With this level of connected innovation, marketers can create successful campaigns that work across the customer journey, from awareness to loyalty.

Christopher Karpenko leads brand evolution, customer engagement and branded content for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), overseeing brand marketing strategy and positioning. Most recently, he introduced the USPS B2B social media channel and content marketing program. He has led the development of proprietary, sales-enabling mobile apps, such as the Marketing Impact Calculator that measures the incremental impact of various media to overall ROI.