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Direct Mail Marketing definition

Direct Mail Marketing  (© sdecoret /

Direct Mail Marketing (© sdecoret /

Direct mail marketing is subset of direct marketing. It involves organizations sending promotional materials, such as letters, postcards, flyers, and catalogs, to past, current or possible clients or customers. Direct mail campaigns can be consumer and business markets, and the mailings are often directed to a targeted audience. Generally, it involves bulk mailings; however, smaller quantities of mail can be sent out. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into direct mail marketing.

Direct mail marketing is a form of direct marketing, a form of advertising that involves targeting specific demographics that are likely to purchase products or services from a company. Direct mail marketing involves sending out promotional materials to a targeted audience, which typically consists of past customers, recent customers or potential customers. For example, someone who purchase a product from a company in the past might receive a catalog in the mail from that company. This is known as direct mail marketing.

How Direct Mail Marketing Works

The process of direct mail marketing begins with compiling a database of prospects to send promotional materials to through the mail. There are a number of ways companies can build this database. Some common ways include:

  • Saving information of customers who have purchased products and/or services in the past.
  • Collecting details and contact information of people who have visited a company’s website, who have visited a store, or who have filled out a questionnaire.

The people who are listed on the database are those who marketers send direct mail advertisements to.

The Pros and Cons of Direct Mail Marketing

As with all marketing campaigns, there certain advantages and disadvantages associated with direct mail marketing.


  • It targets a specific demographic that is likely to be interested in the products or services that are being advertised, and are therefore likely to make purchases.
  • It can be extremely effective, if it is employed correctly; for example, if the proper audience is targeted and if the promotional materials are engaging and eye-catching.
  • It is more cost-effective than other types of direct marketing, as bulk mailing is usually offered at a discounted rate.


  • Many consumers view the promotional materials that are sent via direct mail marketing as junk mail, and hence, they throw it out before they ever read it.
  • If the mailings do not yield results, it can be costly rather than cost-effective.

Statistic: Length of time direct mail advertising is kept at consumers' homes in Canada as of June 2015 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Types of Promotional Materials Used in Direct Mail Marketing

There are several promotional materials that can be used in a marketing campaign that mails items directly to a targeted demographic. Some of the materials that are often used include:

  • Catalogs. One of the most commonly used promotional materials in direct marketing campaigns are catalogs. They are extremely effective, as they allow prospects to actually see what it is that a company offers. Including a coupon with a catalog is an excellent way to encourage people to make a purchase.
  • Discounts and specials announcements. Flyers, postcards and other materials can be used as coupons for a special discount or a special on pricing. For example, you might send out a coupon that offers a certain percentage off if prospects purchase within a certain time frame.
  • Reminders. Companies that offer products that will need to be replenished or services that will need to be repeated can use direct mail marketing to remind their customers that they need to order again. For example, a landscaping company might mail reminders to customers when their lawn needs to be fertilized again, or a dental office might send out a reminder when their patients are due for their next visit.
  • Samples. If it isn’t cost prohibitive, sending out samples of a product can also be a great way to encourage sales via direct mail marketing. For example, sending a small sample of a beauty product or a household cleaner will allow prospects to use the product and determine if purchasing it will be worth their while.

Press releases

Catdi Printing Launches New Direct Mail Marketing Website
Richmond, Texas – As businesses continue to reboot with Covid-19 slowly waning, Catdi Printing has stepped in to launch a new e-commerce website to boost Direct Mail Marketing solutions. – or Every Door Direct Mail – is Catdi Printing's creation to help businesses, large and small, get back on
documistic enhances direct mail marketing capabilities with ‘Upload List’ feature
Irvine, CA – April 22, 2008 – Users of the online Mortgage Marketing Tool can now not only buy Business and Consumer lists, but can also take advantage of a newly added feature and upload their own existing data lists. This enables them to have postcards printed and mailed
Direct Mail Marketing is now Available to Companies of all Sizes using Digital Printing
A Marketing tool used by large companies and corporates for decades is now accessible to Small to Medium Sized Enterprises at an attractive cost thanks to the new Software available. Over the years Direct Mail Marketing or 1:1 Marketing has been one of the main marketing tools used by large business
Kansas City Printing
Lenexa, KS – Colorstar Printing, a Kansas City printing & direct mail marketing company, today announced the launched of a newly re-developed website. Colorstar Printing has been a leading provider of commercial printing and direct mail marketing services in Kansas City since 1998. Small, medium and even Fortune
Redken Uses Cloud Solutions From Postcard Services To Support Their Salons and Stylists
When Redken 5th Avenue NYC, (a division of L’Oreal USA) wanted to empower their salon professionals with the ability to drive local direct mail marketing via Redken’s My Business Toolbox, they enlisted Postcard Services of Tampa to build the technology and provide the “back-end” services needed to make it happen.