AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerIs Direct Mail Dead?

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Is Direct Mail Dead?

There is no question that direct mail volumes are decreasing year over year.

Yet looking at our mail box every day, I wonder. We are receiving more catalogs than ever: It’s true that some are thinner, but they are much more targeted than in the past. In other words, my wife gets a catalog of women’s clothing and I get the men’s catalog.

Direct mail is still viable and widely used: It’s estimated to be a a$140 billion industry. And with new innovations and hyper targeting, direct mail may see a resurgence.

direct mail innovations

When this piece of mail arrived in my mail box, I had to do a double take. That is a photo of my street and my house on the letter.  I know it’s just a Google image, but still, that is pretty darn arresting.

Direct mail is more expensive than sending an email, paid search or other electronic options, but the response rates tend to be much higher for direct mail. So direct mail is not dead, but what might be dead is the non-targeted use of direct mail. In a rush to impersonal appeals online, direct mail may be a way to personalize your approach and increase sales.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.