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18 direct mail stats every marketer should know

UPDATE: Looking for more current direct mail stats? Read 6½ direct mail stats every marketer should know.

More than any other marketing medium, direct mail gets a bad rap. For years, we’ve heard and read statements like “direct mail is dead,” and “I’d rather spend my budget on digital than get pitched in the trash,” and “email is a better, cheaper alternative.”

Lately, however, the conversation is changing. In recent months, we’ve seen articles like this one, which explains why direct mail is making a resurgence. And then there is this one, which supports the idea that direct mail has a more lasting impression on consumers than digital marketing.

Of course, we’re a bit partial to mail, since that’s what we’ve done for more than 30 years. But as integrated marketing providers, we know it’s important to look at the facts to determine which medium(s) will work best for our customers. (That’s you!)

So look at the facts we did; and the case for direct mail is pretty convincing.

Whether you’re a marketing decision-maker, recommendation-maker, thought-leader, intern or student, here are 18 stats you should probably know about direct mail marketing:

The benefits of print:
1. 56% of consumers think print marketing is the most trustworthy of all marketing channels. (Source)

2. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 69% say they prefer print and paper communications to reading off a screen. (Source)

Mail habits/preference:
3. 98% of consumers bring their mail in the day it is delivered; 77% of them sort through it immediately. (Source)

4. Consumers spend an average of 30 minutes reading mail on any given occasion. (Source)

5. 70% of Americans say that mail is more personal than the internet. (Source)

6. 73% of US consumers said they prefer direct mail for brand communications because they can read it at their convenience. (Source)

7. 59% of U.S. respondents agreed with the following statement, “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.” (Source)

8. 56% of postcards are read by direct mail recipients, making them the most read direct mail pieces. (Source)

9. 48% of people retain direct mail for future reference. (Source)

Direct mail response:
10. 79% of consumers will act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45% who say they deal with email immediately. (Source)

11. 76% of Americans have been influenced to purchase by direct mail. (Source)

12. Direct mail response rates still top those of other mediums; the average direct mail response rate is 1.1-1.4% compared to .03% for email, .04% for internet display and .22% for paid search. (Source)

13. Targeted B2B direct mail has a response rate of 4.4% — nearly 37 times that of email (.12%). (Source)

14. 56% of consumers say they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail, while 70% have renewed previous relationships with businesses. (Source)

15. 44% of people said they had visited a brand’s website after receiving direct mail; 34% searched online. (Source)

16. Between 2004 and 2014, direct mail response rates increased 14%, while email response rates dropped 57%. (Source)

17. Cost-per-acquisition for direct mail is very competitive. Direct mail stands at $19, which fares favorably with mobile and social (both at $16-18), paid search ($21-30), internet display ($41-50) and even email ($11-15). (Source)

18. One in 5 throw away unopened direct mailings. Among the top reasons stated: 55% are not interested in the product, 49% were not interested in the company and 44% object to being marketed to. (Source)

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