e-mail marketing

Direct marketing, millennials and postcards, is it possible in 2019?

  • 6 min read



In our world of digital technologies and online channels, old-school marketing techniques like sending physical mail seem obsolete.

But direct marketing is still a great way to reach your audience. Even more so lately, since consumers are overwhelmed with digital advertisement.

Direct marketing is a form of marketing that allows companies to communicate with their customers directly. Direct marketing channels include a variety of media such as phone calls, direct mail, text messaging, email, telemarketing, infomercials, fliers, catalogs and in person.

Ever since the widespread adoption of Internet technologies in the 1990s, and especially in today’s Web 2.0 world, marketers have focused mostly on digital channels to promote their brands.

That’s completely understandable. But combining some traditional marketing techniques in the modern marketing mix can yield great results.


One great example is using direct mail to reach customers. According to this research, direct mail customer response rate has increased by 43%.

Direct marketing and especially direct mail cut through all the digital noise and speaks directly to the customer. And people often appreciate that.

According to Hubspot, 6 in 10 people like to check their mailbox every day to check the mail.

The truth is that even millennials respond to a low-tech marketing approach that has existed for centuries: Letter in a mailbox.





Of course, there is the “dark side” of direct marketing, and that is unsolicited mail, email or telephone calls. These aggressive tactics can annoy customers and often give direct marketing a bad name.

Mail is also more expensive than e-mails and newsletters, and e-mail still has a better ROI.

Thus, they should be avoided at all times. You don’t want to damage your reputation by bothering people with unwanted sales pitches.

Now that I’ve defined direct marketing let’s take a look at its main methods.

Direct marketing methods

There are three main direct marketing methods or types:

    Direct mail

    Like I’ve mentioned above, direct mail is often the most effective type of direct marketing. It provides a convenient way for prospects to receive information about products they are interested in, and order them without leaving the comfort of their homes or offices.

    Direct mail has a high return on investment (ROI), and it’s highly measurable. You can easily compare how many pieces of mail you’ve sent out to how many conversions you get.

    It also works great with digital marketing strategies by giving them a personal touch.


        A direct marketing method that involves calling people at home or work to ask for donations get their opinion, or sometimes directly for sales purposes.

        The primary benefit to business here is increased lead generation, enabling companies to increase their customer base and sales volume.

        Telemarketing can be a great way to reach your customers, but it’s essential to obey the laws that protect consumers against aggressive sales promotions.

            Direct email marketing

            It involves sending marketing messages and materials through email. It’s one of the most widely used direct marketing methods.

            The main advantage is that it’s inexpensive to design, distribute and test. Companies can advertise directly through email and track their results in real time.

              Does direct marketing work?

              Considering the massive selection of channels available to the modern marketer – from Facebook ads to virtual reality systems – does it even make sense to use traditional methods such as sending mail or calling people on the telephone?

              In short, it does. According to the United States Direct Marketing Association (source):

              • 6 million catalogs were mailed in 2015
              • More than 2.5 billion coupons were redeemed
              • A total of more than 150 million direct mail promotions were sent out in 2015
              • 42 percent of recipients read or scanned the mail pieces
              • The response rate to direct mail pieces is 3.7%, as opposed to 2% mobile, 1% email, 1% social media, and 0.2% internet display
              • The average ROI for direct mail campaigns is between 15 and 17%

              That’s impressive. Let’s take a look at how Europe is doing. The image below shows spending on direct marketing in Europe from 2007-2017 (in millions US dollars).

              direct marketing europe

              Image source

              As you can see, direct marketing spending has been increasing steadily over the last years. Something must be working for all those advertisers – otherwise, they wouldn’t be spending so much money on direct marketing methods.

              Direct marketing provides excellent ROI, sometimes even higher than paid ads. They can work on their own, or as a part of a digital marketing campaign.

              direct marketing

              Direct marketing and digital marketing

              It would be best if you combined the old and the new. Send personalized e-mails and letters. 

              Mailchimp can make this task easier for you, especially if you have a webshop.

              Create a postcard campaign. The once sent postcard is designed as the most flexible postcard campaign in Mailchimp.

              Use the target group tools to send your postcards all over the world, even if you don’t have any addresses yet.

              Add a unique coupon to generate and track purchases and track delivery progress in your campaign report.

              You can send your postcard campaign to your contacts or a new audience of people similar to your contacts. If you choose to send to a new audience, Mailchimp will search for people who are not yet on your list but share interests with your existing contacts.

              The higher your budget, the more people you have the potential to reach.

              Create your postcard

              Choose the main image for the front of your postcard and add a headline, text and optional brand logo on the back.

              You can also add a voucher from your online store. The content is previewed when you add it.

              Once you’ve selected your audience, budget, and content, you can send your postcard campaign.
              You can also schedule your postcard for printing and shipping at a later time.


              Some people believe that direct marketing is dead and that it doesn’t have a place in the modern marketing mix. But the data tells a different story.

              Even though the internet or digital marketing has taken the predominant role, direct marketing, with its traditional techniques for reaching customers, still has a significant role to play in any marketing strategy.

              Contact us today if you need help with direct marketing.


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