• Ron Rescigno

It Still Works; Maybe Even Better than Ever

Direct mail has been around for a loooooong time. Records show that it dates back at least to ancient Egyptian times around 1,000 B.C.


As a marketing strategy, you would think direct mail’s days might be numbered. Well, think again.

A report comparing direct mail and email marketing outcomes in the UK states that there are a total of 12.1 billion letters and 74 trillion emails sent out every year. Approximately 70 percent of recipients say that they feel like they receive too many emails. 57 percent of people say they abandon their email addresses due to receiving too many of them.

Some other findings from the report:

  • The average direct mail lifespan is 17 days, while the average email lifespan is 2 seconds.

  • Direct mail has a 4.4 percent response rate, while email has A 0.12 percent response rate.

  • Direct mail generates 10 percent more customers than email.

  • 79 percent of people respond to direct mail immediately, while 45 percent respond to emails immediately.

Results showed that 63 percent of people preferred direct mail for brochures and catalogs; 62 percent prefer direct mail for welcome packs, and 62 percent prefer email for news and updates.


All of this information notwithstanding, a strategy implementing both direct mail and email produces a 25% higher response rate among donors in addition to achieving better awareness of mission, increased ROI.

While this research is based on people who live or have lived in the UK, the results seem very applicable to US markets, wouldn’t you agree?


(Source material: Proactive Marketing)