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Adapting Direct Mail For the Digital Age

It’s a noisy world out there, and every marketer is vying to be heard.

The average consumer’s attention span is just eight seconds—shorter than that of a goldfish. (By the time you’ve read this paragraph, you’re either intrigued enough to continue or on your way to the pet store because you just remembered you’re out of fish food.)

As it turns out, however, it’s not always the loudest voice consumers pay attention to, but the most enduring one.

And that voice is coming from a surprising source: direct mail.

Why Direct Mail Works

In the digital age, customers are more likely to notice, open and read direct mail, according to research from Canada Post.

Opening the mail is part of our “coming home” ritual and carries positive associations. Consider this:

  • Consumers are 53 percent more likely to read direct mail compared with email 
  • 81 percent read their mail the same day they receive it
  • 85 percent will open it if it looks interesting
  • 80 percent remember seeing or reading mail sent to them in the last four weeks
  • Direct mail produces a 20 percent higher motivation response, indicating a stronger propensity to drive action.

Consumers don’t just notice direct mail; they’re much more likely to save and display it. Sixty-six percent said they keep mail they consider to be useful, and 40 percent of those who receive catalogues keep them for at least a month.

Reinventing Direct Mail

While direct mail has endured, more companies are realizing they need to integrate direct mail campaigns with digital marketing efforts to succeed. Canada Post is investing in new products and technology that enhance direct mail performance, an approach it calls Smartmail Marketing.

In this video, they explain what Smartmail Marketing is and why it works.

The video explains the three elements necessary for direct mail to succeed:

  • Physicality, which evokes an emotional response and delivers a more impactful message 
  • Data, which enables precise targeting and personalization
  • Connectivity to other channels, which amplifies your marketing mix to deliver maximum results to your brand

Jim Treliving, chairman of Boston Pizza International, which has nearly 400 stores in Canada and 50 in the United States, uses the Smartmail approach to reach millions of customers.

“The success rate was very, very good for us and also for our franchisees,” he said in a recent video.

“We get repeat business, and repeat business to me means that it’s working.”

Making Direct Mail Work For You

DATA Communications works closely with Canada Post to offer innovative direct marketing solutions.

For instance, we developed a customized solution that allowed a large financial institution to target sports teams, alumni associations and professional organizations to build partnerships for its affinity-based credit cards.

This included integrating direct mail with email, personalized URLs, landing pages, QR codes and mobile devices. As a result of mailing programs that could be fully executed in less than five days, the company significantly increased its speed to market, boosted participation among partners and saw a significant reduction in wasted print materials.

We can help you unify marketing campaigns, personalize mailings, offer exclusive benefits to your customers and much more.

Want to make sure your next direct mail piece hits all the right notes and achieves maximum ROI? Download this helpful checklist, "8 Steps to Boosting Direct Mail Response Rates." 


Topics Marketing Financial Services Not-for-Profit Energy Retail Services Lottery & Gaming


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