Big Brands that Value Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is still a great way to reach your audience, even in today’s digital age. When you want to grab their attention and connect with them on a more personal level, direct mailing is the answer.

This isn’t an unsubstantiated claim – recent market research backs it up with undeniable statistics. A survey by the Data and Marketing Association revealed the direct mail customer response rate was still out-performing digital media.

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The prospect response rate for direct mail is 5.3%, comparing favourably with 0.9% for online display advertising; 0.6% for social media and email; and 0.5% for paid search. Direct mail has an average return on investment of 29%.

Plenty of businesses use multiple channels for their marketing. Nobody would run just Facebook ads and think their job was done. They would also consider doing paid search campaigns, search engine optimisation and direct mail marketing as part of a comprehensive strategy.

If you’re in any doubt about whether direct mail should be part of your marketing strategy, read on to find out which big brands use it and why.



Swedish furniture and homewares giant IKEA has successfully integrated direct mail with digital channels. IKEA is known as a successful, quirky and innovative company when it comes to advertising, so people have noticed its use of this more traditional method of marketing.

The brand chooses to send out catalogues, and with significant success! Their catalogue has turned into an almost magazine-quality piece of marketing material. It was streamlined into a series of smaller catalogues, each dedicated to a specific area of the home.

This made the content more manageable and also enabled the retailer to send out mailings more frequently, without overwhelming its audience. Clever, eh?

The retailer also presented multiple discounts, special offers and promotions over a longer period of time, rather than having to cram them into one or two mailing shots. The new strategy raised awareness and encouraged more frequent online sales activity.



As the world’s largest internet company, with a revenue of £107.7 billion in 2020, Google might seem like the last brand who would use direct mail marketing. On the contrary, Google uses direct mail to send information, coupons and other items to customers. They seem likely to continue to do so in the future.

Google uses very clever marketing techniques to attract more customers to use AdWords. Its printed direct mail postcards contain benefits, such as a code offering to match the first £110 that customers invest in the AdWords platform.

For most advertisers, this amount of credit equals up to 100 highly-targeted website visitors, with an average cost-per-click of around £1.50. Once a company starts using AdWords, it is almost impossible to stop using it, due to a fear of fewer leads, loss of market share and poorer sales.

This is why Google makes such a huge effort to drive new advertisers to AdWord through its direct mail marketing campaigns. Having studied the data, this is the best way to do so. Literally millions of marketing shots are sent out to current and prospective advertisers by Google each year.

They also send out timely and useful information: for example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Google’s latest direct mailing shot was a booklet, entitled Top Tactics for Tough Times. It detailed useful tips on how to improve AdWords results in the current economic climate.



Another tech giant that still uses direct mail regularly is Apple. They have put their own spin on direct mail by using posters, rather than flyers, in the past. They sent out a set of innovative posters filled with slick images of their new Mac Pro computer.

Apple’s message is to be selective. Their Mac Pro posters targeted a select group of people: journalists. This is because journalists can influence other people. Direct mail can have a huge impact when it reaches the right audience.

They also sent out something worth receiving. It wasn’t a spec sheet or product description, because these were available online. The posters were purely to grab the journalists’ attention. The idea was they would transmit the message to a wider audience.

The posters were cool and a good fit for Apple’s brand. The campaign wasn’t done on the cheap. It was thought through and executed properly. The appearance of the poster said more than any words could have described.


Burger King

For many years, fast-food chain Burger King has continued to use a combination of surveys, coupons mailed to customers and in-store opt-ins. They have used these methods to generate business for so long for one reason: because it continues to work well.

Their fresh approach to direct mail marketing has increased Burger King’s gross profit on coupons by 40% since 2014. Like many other brands, they take a dual approach to marketing, combining direct mail and digital.

They revamped their website to make it mobile-friendly and added new features, such as a nutrition calculator and an interactive menu. Company bosses assessed whether the direct mail initiatives were effective. It was found direct mail outperformed digital ads significantly when it came to driving in-store purchases.

This led them to say they didn’t believe direct mail would ever be replaced. It was described as a “unique vehicle”. Research shows 90% of people check their physical mail every day on arriving home. This is a figure you can’t beat.

Considering the average business person receives 121 emails every day, it’s easy to see why some might be missed. Physical mail arriving through your letterbox is more likely to be seen!

To find out more about how Selectabase can help with your business’s direct mail marketing campaigns, contact us today for a no-obligation chat.