The eternal conundrum: email or direct mail?

We marketers are too often faced with an all-or-nothing decision when planning strategy. Because of a limitedless number  of channels and marketing tools we have at our disposal these days, we’re forced to make tough choices because of a limited number of resources.

Making those decisions, however, can be a challenging and lengthy process. For example,  if you already have a database overflowing with leads, you might want to determine the best way to convert them into actual customers.  The options might be:

  1. Send an email blast
  2. Send direct mail
  3. Engage with them in social media
  4. Tell your sales team to reach out

But how do you determine which option is best?

The data, of course.  And some recent data from the Harvard Business Review analyzed the effectiveness of email marketing compared to direct mail, as well as a hybrid of both. The article outlined the advantages of email marketing vs. direct mail, which includes its low cost, measurability, and the choose-your-own-internet-adventure path a recipient can take once they open it.

The article then walks the reader through a brief case study on a national retailer’s experiment to compare the results from executing a combined direct mail and email campaign, a direct mail-only campaign, and an email-only campaign.

According to the article the results were clear cut: email rules.  That’s because of a “multiplier effect,”which takes into account non-internet sales which were stimulated by online marketing initiatives like email, which indeed are dirt cheap. But take a look at the data and decide for yourself:

To our way of thinking, Average Order Value and Dollars per Name Mailed tell the story. And the story is that a combined direct mail and email campaign is the actual hero of the evening — and all the days to come. Will it be so for you?  Give Commercial Letter a call today at to find out if a combined email/direct mail campaign is right for you!

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