RSA’s integrated agency partner Intermarketing, provides us a round-up of their thoughts, opinions and the latest news from their team. This week they examine ‘The direct mail revival.’


Back in 2009, direct mail was seen to have been hit, like most of us, by the recession. Businesses had to be more tactical with their advertising spend and often, direct mail is one of the costlier forms of advertising. The world went online as consumers preferred less junk mail and more e-mail.

Back in 2016, the Advertising Association’s Expenditure Report revealed that although UK ad spend grew to £5.8bn, spending on direct mail advertisements declined 10.4%. But that was over a year ago and as ever, the marketing world continues to pave its own path, regardless of what has gone before.

Although I wouldn’t say the traditional direct mail ever died, it is certainly starting to see a revival; not surprisingly, it’s now looking to work hand-in-hand with digital marketing as companies form a two-pronged attack, both offline and online. How often have you been ‘followed’ online, as geotargeting encourages you to make the purchase you’ve been considering for weeks? Well, now you can expect a piece of direct mail, with your name on it, to help complete the purchase.

An interesting piece of data that can only support the above is from IPA TouchPoints that suggests 38% of people buy or order something after reading mail and 87% of adults keep some mail for longer than a month. Take that as you like, but if the chain of purchase is started online, and then reinforced offline, those statistics may be increasing further over 2018.

The key to any of the above, of course, is how creative you can be with both. For example, at our Great CRM Pub Quiz last May, Helen Hunter, Head of Marketing Strategy and Innovation at Sainsbury’s, said mailings can be as timely and relavent as you want. She cited the supermarket’s Easter 2017 mailing, which had a mind boggling 1.8 octillion variable options – that’s one followed by 48 zeros. This allowed each DM pack to be so perfectly tailored, so in-tune with the customer’s shopping habits, that many tweeted how well the retailer knows them.

On a side note, with the introduction of the GDPR on 25th May, direct mail is another opportunity to gain permission for future data usage for consumers – and don’t forget, brands don’t need consent for postal marketing if they can use legitimate interests. Check out our blog post on GDPR to brush up on the legislation coming in May.

Adam Clark



About Intermarketing: Combining 30 years’ experience with the ability to execute ideas in any channel, our specialisms reflect the changing needs of our clients. Whether it’s product or service, consumer or business, brand-focused or response-driven, we develop creative solutions no matter what the brief. Blog: