In the grand scheme of life, 6,000 is not a huge number, unless it is the number of digital ads the average person is bombarded with. Yes, the average person sees approximately 6,000 digital messages per day, pays attention to 50, and remembers only two.

How do marketers create one of the two ads that are remembered, and not one of the 5,998 overlooked or forgotten messages? One way to increase your chances of success is to combine direct mail with a digital campaign, which can deliver 40% greater engagement.

Direct mail is the only channel that a person must look at before disposing of it. You can skip over a social media ad or delete an email without opening it, but a direct mail piece needs to be retrieved from the mailbox and looked at, giving marketers a couple of seconds to get the addressee interested in the mail piece. Recipients can feel the coating on the mail piece, interact with the mail piece, and save it for viewing again at a later time. You can’t touch, hold, feel, or interact the same way with an email. Direct mail provides a physical relationship that other channels do not provide. Direct mail is also the only channel that can guarantee reach to every household in the country.

Marketers have wide variety of digital channels to choose from including search engines, banner ads, social media and streaming services. The advantages of these channels are lower cost per exposure, as well as the ability to more easily track leads and customize ads to specific market segments.

Combining the direct mail piece to the digital world is easier than you think. One way to do so is to take advantage of Informed Delivery through the United States Postal Service. More than 47,000,000 people are subscribers of Informed Delivery. Subscribers receive an email with scanned pictures of their mail piece and a ride-along ad on the day it is scheduled to arrive in their mailbox. This creates excitement and gives the recipient the ability to see what will be waiting from them in their mailbox. The ride-along ad contains a link to your website where your offer can be viewed and acted on even before the mail piece arrives.

The USPS is giving a four percent discount on postage for Informed Delivery campaigns in 2022. The registration period runs from June 15th, 2022, to December 31st, 2022, and the promotion runs from August 1st, 2022, through December 31st, 2022. Here is a link to the Informed Delivery promotion that will walk you through the process. 2022 Informed Delivery Guidebook Requirements | PostalPro (

Prefer to start out with a digital campaign and follow up with a direct mail piece? By using email, social media ads, search engines, and streaming services, you can provide data-driven offers specific to individuals with the right offer at the right time. But by tracking interested individuals who may have viewed your website or abandoned an item in a shopping cart, you can use direct mail to “retarget” the prospect. Use a personalized direct mail piece with an exclusive offer, like a picture of the item that was viewed or abandoned, and a call to action to drive a consumer back to your website and complete the purchase.

Combining digital and hard copy direct mail a win-win. Let’s look at the numbers:

Direct mail plus email plus web provides a 37% lift over individual channels.

Mail plus digital plus TV has a 17% higher purchase intent over individual channels.

Digital plus mail campaigns have 40% greater customer engagement.

A 40% higher brand recall when email was followed up by a direct mail piece.

We need to emphasize to future marketers the importance of direct mail as a part of omnichannel marketing campaigns. Academia, the print and mail industry, and the United States Postal Service have developed the Direct Effect Program, formerly known as Academic Outreach. This is a diverse group of people who have one goal: to teach future marketers the value of direct mail.

141 colleges and universities and counting are currently on board with the Direct Effect Program, which has an advisory board of academic faculty and industry advisors, along with the USPS. All educational materials are carefully curated with the guidance of the board. The board meets on a quarterly basis to review the program’s progress and to improve upon the Direct Effect offerings.

The three-part program includes the Direct Effect Challenge, the ability for faculty to download content to be included marketing curriculum, and the Direct Effect Ambassador Program.

The Ambassador program is where an industry member will complete a course on the Direct Effect curriculum and will be added to a list of ambassadors. An ambassador will then teach a 45-minute class on the value of direct mail and the use of omnichannel marketing programs. The class features graphs, statistics, and sample mail pieces. The ambassador uses sample mail pieces to interact with the students, showing them how to use QR codes, augmented reality, and interactive direct mail pieces with digital campaigns. To find out more about this great program, go to

Happy mailing!

Rob Hanks is an inside sales representative at Suttle-Straus and has more than 28 years of experience in direct mail. Rob is a Certified Direct Mail Professional and a Certified Mail Piece Design Professional though the United States Postal Service and serves as the Industry Co-Chairperson for the Greater Madison Area Postal Customer Council. Rob is also the Postal Customer Council Advisor Committee National Industry Co-Chairperson for the Education Sub Committee.

This article originally appeared in the September/October, 2022 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.