An experts insight into the effectiveness of Direct Mail

As new digital agencies spring up by the day promising big marketing returns for a fraction of the cost, it’s easy to see why companies are increasingly moving from more traditional methods of advertising to those that are delivered online.

Internet giants such a Google and Facebook are continuing to make their platforms more accessible and advertiser-friendly meaning some marketing departments have begun to completely close the door on traditional marketing, such as Direct Mail, altogether.

Having been in the business for over 40 years now Dataconversion has witnessed the rise, fall and revival of Direct Mail and can therefore attest to its effectiveness as a method of communication.

We recently spoke to Peter Whelehan of DMCM, an award-winning marketing agency based in Dublin, to see what he had to say on the subject.

It’s clear from what Peter had to say that Direct Mail is far from dead. And is in fact increasingly becoming an integral part of many marketers’ toolkits.

So why add Direct Mail to your toolkit?

The ‘Why’, is an important question to ask when determining whether or not to include Direct Mail in your marketing mix.

The main thing to consider here is whether including it will help to achieve your overall objectives for the campaign.

We often suggest to clients that they utilise Direct Mail to communicate more important information with clients as it is often seen as being more credible than email.

Another benefit of Direct Mail, according to Peter, is that it remains an opt-out channel which is beneficial in the wake of GDPR.

There are a host of other benefits including tangibility and ability to cut through the clutter that we discuss further in future blog posts.

According to Peter, “In todays cluttered media space people often get distracted by the latest social media buzzword, or lose sight of the simplicity and focus of what a campaign should set out to achieve.”

But at the end of the day it’s about getting the right message, to the right person in the right place and at the right time. And we believe direct mail can help you to do just that!

How do you measure the effectiveness of Direct Mail?

Measuring the effectiveness of a campaign is a struggle all marketers face. And doing so can seem even more of a challenge offline.

However, according to Peter Whelehan, offline and online campaigns can be measured “in much the same way” as one another. At DMCM Peter says that they typically “use cost per lead (or cost per qualified lead) and cost per sale (or cost per acquisition)”.

They “track every stage of a campaign on a spreadsheet and usually present it back to clients when doing their post-campaign analysis.

This way the client can see a plethora of useful information such as, how many calls they got, how many people inquired by email, how many meetings were setup, how many people on the database went on to purchase, what the average purchase price was and ultimately the campaign ROI”.

How do you justify the costs?

We will be the first to admit that Direct Mail isn’t the cheapest method of communication on the market. Particularly when compared to digital alternatives such as e-dm and social.

However, the objectives of the campaign should always be considered alongside cost as well as cost-effectiveness.

According to Peter, “It’s not about the cost or spend in isolation, but rather what that spend delivers in terms of campaign objectives and results”.

You can of course opt for a digital alternative to DM but you must consider, “what will it achieve? Will it get lost in the clutter? Will anyone actually read it? How will it position the brand? And what engagement and response will it get?”.

The issue with e-dm is that pretty much anyone can send one, anytime, anywhere and to any amount of people at virtually no cost! And as a result, approximately 95%+ of all emails are never opened (according to research).

With email inboxes doing an increasingly effective job of sorting your mail into that which you want to read and all the other stuff, the chances of your e-dms being left unread are growing.

So, when attempting to justify the potential cost consider the potential revenue that could be gained from each customer.

Biggest Pitfall for Direct Mail Campaigns?

We will finish this blog with a word of warning. When it comes to a direct mail campaign, or any campaign for that matter, targeting is key!

According to Peter, “Targeting is by far the most important element of any campaign. There isn’t any point in having an amazing campaign that goes to someone who is never going to be in the market for your product!”. As the saying goes, ‘Failing to plan, is planning to fail’.

Ensuring you have a highly targeted leads list is just as important, if not more important than the creative execution.

Because as Peter says “if you’re trying to speak to the wrong person to begin with, your campaign won’t be a successful one!”

A massive thanks to Peter for his input on this piece.

You can find out more about DMCM over on their website. If you have any further questions or require some assistance on your next direct mail campaign you can contact us at or at +353 1 804 1298.


Get in contact today and find out more about how we can assist you with your next direct mail campaign.