April 23, 2018


Recently, it’s become possible to take these tactics a step (or two) further. The process involves compiling a database of physical addresses and overlaying it with a list of digital IPs. This typically results in a 40–60 percent match rate between target mailing lists and accurate IP addresses. A large number of marketers are now using IP targeting in conjunction with their direct mail campaigns, greatly increasing the effectiveness of their direct mail. Not only does the direct mail component allow marketers to pair online campaigns with a targeted print initiative, but it’s immune to online ad blocking and filters. A brand can, for example, prime consumers via a direct mail piece, monitor online activity based on IP addresses, and follow up with a customized direct mail message and offer to a consumer. Given the higher response rates of direct mail, this holistic approach makes sense: a customer may ignore that pop-up ad, but there’s a good chance they’ll notice the physical mail delivered to their home from the brand whose site they recently visited.

Imagine the following scenario: you log onto a retailer’s website to take a closer look at a watch you’re interested in. You view one other timepiece and are unsure which you prefer. You’ve placed the original in your shopping cart, but you exit the site unsure if you want to make the purchase. Later that week you receive a fully customized postcard in the mail, complete with eye-catching photos and descriptions of the two watches you were comparing and a free shipping offer to encourage you to return to the site to claim your watch.

Transforming activity on a website into a postal address and dynamically printing a personalized piece of direct mail affords marketers the opportunity to marry the best of digital marketing with the impact of physical direct mail.


We’re all familiar with the usual suspects who use direct mail: financial institutions, universities, political groups, not-for-profits, automotive brands, etc. But in addition to these entities, a surprising number of digitally native organizations are experimenting with direct mail campaigns.

It may seem counterintuitive that online-first companies are reaching out to audiences via a medium that dates back decades, but logically, it makes sense: direct-to-consumer startups such as Casper, Dollar Shave Club, and Blue Apron are prime candidates for print and direct mail marketing success. After all, home delivery of their subscription-based products is foundational to their business models.

HelloFresh, a meal-kit delivery service, is a prime example of a brand that’s mastered direct mail. In a recent campaign, the company sent out a piece that included a suggested recipe and a $50-off offer. From the packaging—a brown-and green envelope that exuded “freshness” and was reminiscent of a shopping bag—to its carefully crafted copy—“Ugh. Grocery shopping. Eliminate the hassle and save time.”—every element was engineered to stand out among a stack of boring white envelopes. The piece hit the trifecta of direct mail success utilizing an automatically tipped-in discount card, an applied personalized post-it note, and a custom envelope carrier.