Direct mailing is cheap, proven, customizable, targeted and measurable, as of 2015. Designing and mass producing printed media and sending it via postal service is both cheap and easy, while its effectiveness can easily be measured by how many of the distributed items, such as coupons, ultimately return to the business owner. Direct mail can be addressed to a customer directly, establishing a relationship that is difficult to replicate with the anonymity of the Internet.
Part of a direct mailing's flexibility is in its contents. Many products can be used as free samples through direct mail, while companies with larger merchandise may include mini flashlights, aspirin, Rubik's cubes or sand timers to make the envelope lumpy and pique a prospective customer's interest. Direct mail may also include as much or as little information as the business owner wants.
Direct mail is tangible; customers can feel and interact with it in a way that is just not possible with electronic marketing campaigns. Spam emails please no one, but up to 55 percent of people are eager to read the contents of their physical mailbox, according to the U.S. Postal Service. A prior physical, personalized invitation may also make a prospective customer more receptive to a later cold call. A past customer's response rate to a direct mailing is 3.4 percent, compared to just 0.12 percent for email solicitations, according to DMA. Another study by Ritter's Communications found that 50 percent of people pay more attention to direct mailings than any other advertising medium.
Direct mail may be distributed to a small group at first in order to reduce the costs associated with unsuccessful campaigns. Some customers also prefer traditional delivery methods. Finally, direct mail can be used in combination with other marketing strategies, gaining the benefits of both modern and traditional marketing.