Direct mail’s performance is the highest it’s been since the DMA / ANA has been tracking it and here’s why so many marketers are finding a historic level of success.

The increased level of direct mail response in the last 3 years represents a remarkable reversal of the previous trend and underlines the fact that something truly amazing is happening in this traditional channel. Based on the DMA’s “Direct Mail Response Rates 2003-2018”, House List (customer) response rose 125% from its 2015 levels and Prospect Lists (acquisition) rose 400% for the same period.

DMA / ANA – (Data & Marketing Association / Association of National Advertisers)

Direct Mail Response Rate growth over the last several years

The contributing factors to Direct Mail’s recent success:


Print-based media including publications, catalogs and promotional materials received in the mail are the MOST TRUSTED by consumers when making a purchasing decision (based on surveys conducted by MarketingSherpa). This comes at a time when other major channels like digital are being viewed with increased skepticism due to data breaches, spam, questionable content and elevated privacy concerns.

Better Data & Lists

Companies have made it a priority to maintain their customer data to a higher standard than in previous years. They are now using this data more effectively than ever to influence the purchase behaviors of their existing customers (higher frequency of purchase / increased level of purchase) and model prospect data to more effectively find “look-alike” customers to acquire.

Better Pieces & Offers

With the implementation of improved testing methodologies, marketers are able to optimize their efforts by testing mail formats, offers and a range of other variables to achieve the best overall approach. With POS systems supporting features like scannable coupon codes and other tracking, marketers are able to use data captured by previous campaigns to improve results in the future.

Mobile Shift

The shift to a “mobile first” mind set and consumer’s interacting on mobile devices at a higher rate than desktops has changed the impact various digital advertising formats have. What was previously viewed on large desktop screens is now either much smaller on a mobile device, limited in its “rich media nature” or requires drilling down further to see any of the content in the case of email.


of Millennials take the time to look through their mail and 64% would rather scan for useful information in the mail than e-mail. In addition, this generation even believes paper mail is a more reliable and viable source of communication (USPS Mail Moments Review)

With 2018’s report, we see direct mail’s continued dominance in generating response. Compared to other direct marketing efforts its performance is multiples of the other channels combined.

Going into 2018 the DMA stated the following in their Statistical Fact Book. “For those of you who are already on the direct mail bandwagon – because you really should be in this day and age – here’s what you should know about 2018: It’s going to be irresistibly amazing!” This prediction has certainly proven to be the case.

Direct Mail Response Rate explodes in 2018 at 9%

Top 7 Reasons Direct Mail Wins More Customers:

  • Better Response Than Other Channels
  • Effective Targeting
  • More Trusted by Consumers
  • It’s More Persuasive
  • Direct Mail is More Memorable
  • Creative Options Allows For Unique Engagement
  • Able to Reach All Demographic Groups


of survey respondents plan to maintain or increase usage of direct mail in the next 12 months.