Direct mail is dead

Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been hearing regularly since sometime in the late 1990s. Yet the mailbox outside my front door is still full of catalogs, many from companies launched long after the supposed death of direct mail.

It’s true that mail volumes are down significantly since their peak. The graph below suggests it’s off by somewhere around 50%.

This is almost certainly a significant problem for the long-term health of the USPS. But, it has no bearing on the channel’s effectiveness for marketing.

Overall channel volume isn’t what drives the success of individual marketers. What drives success is when consumers responding to your marketing and buying your product at a frequency that creates a positive ROI.

Successful advertising is all about breaking through the clutter. The continued death knell and dropping volumes in direct mail may be exactly what enables savvy marketers to do exactly that.

And the only way to know that for sure is to test it for yourself.

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