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Direct mail trends in 2022: A deeper dive.

This article offers an in-depth look at the key direct mail trends to expect in 2022. It’s especially good news for marketers that recognize the power of print-on-paper to promote their brands. For a summary snapshot of these key factors, please read our “Direct Mail Trends 2022: The Highlights” article.

The pandemic has compelled companies and countries to adapt drastic changes, including how and where employees work. With the acceleration of companies shifting to a more hybrid or remote workforce, the demand for online meetings has led to increased digital fatigue.1 As a result, direct marketers can expect a banner year.

Less screen time, more print time

Recent studies leave no doubt that digital fatigue is here to stay. It’s a key driver for why direct mail continues to surge.

  • 71% currently work-from-home and 54% want to continue doing so.2
  • 69% are suffering from burnout, with projections saying this year they’ll spend nearly 8 hours each day consuming digital media.3
  • To avoid further screen time, people will increasingly desire the tactile connections that print-on-paper provides.

Direct mail delivers

Working remotely has left employees feeling more stressed, detached and isolated. In such a fractured world, research shows direct mail will continue to garner recognition and results.

  • It holds attention spans for longer periods, with 91% engaged in some way.4
  • A week later, readers show greater emotional response and retention.5
  • After viewing, 46% are inspired to seek more brand information online.6
  • 60% of Millennials (Gen Y - born 1981-1992) are motivated to try a new store, business or product.7
  •  Open rates can reach up to 90% vs. 23% for email,8 with purchase rates for campaigns using three(+) marketing channels hitting 287% vs. single channel.9

Four key direct mail trends in 2022

1. Data: to be effective and cost-efficient, marketers must translate data into more targeted and personalized direct mail10.

2. Omni-channel: consumers use at least three marketing channels in their purchasing process and print direct mail must be part of the mix10.

3. Automation: direct mail printers are investing in automation to improve productivity and margin erosion, while managing labor and resource challenges from higher demand10.

4. Good design: creative images and print quality are extremely important to Millennials and Gen X (born 1965-1980) consumers10.

Cognitive/emotional responses to omnichannel marketing: physical + digital

To understand the neuroscience behind direct mail’s ability to drive the purchasing cycle, a study by Canada Post11 found:

  • It out-performed other channels in grabbing attention (+39%), brand recall (+10) and emotional reaction (+5%).
  • It’s easier to understand, more memorable and far more persuasive than digital.
  • Motivation responses are 20%(+) if it appeals to other senses beyond touch.
  • Direct mail is visually processed quicker and gets the message across faster.

Digital integration will be paramount this year. Comperemedia looked at three important examples that will help you make more informed decisions in 2022.

We will see print direct mail become more relevant and more targeted as marketers leverage data to make their mail more compelling.

Examples of digital integration with direct mail: informed delivery

Informed Delivery is provided free by the USPS. It allows consumers to digitally preview mail and manage deliveries. Its success is yet to be determined, with open rates dropping from 86.8% in 2020 to 63.7% in 2021. This suggests that, rather than a value-add, Informed Delivery is viewed as just another promotional email.12

Examples of digital integration with direct mail: QR codes

Quick Response (QR) codes are on the rise. They provide 100% attribution to your mailer, channel, campaign and target audience. A 2021 survey showed 32% of consumers scanned a QR code in one week. The USPS offers a 2% discount for mailers that use QR codes. When integrated with quality creativity, it means millions of houses are open channels for direct advertising.13

Examples of digital integration with direct mail: physical retargeting

The Pebble Post agency created programmatic direct mail. It empowers retailers to extend and convert online visits by sending a personalized direct mail within 24 hours, highlighting their items of interest. Enticements to revisit online or in store are supported by follow-up direct mail pieces. This integration of print and digital has produced a 20% response rate.14

Prime time for direct mail

Direct mail will continue to thrive, as an integral part of the mix,15 it reinforces companion channels, making all responses stronger. Crucial to enhancing response and ROI is the seamless transition to digital channels provided by the integration of QR codes, retargeting, augment reality, etc.

As John Ashe, CEO of IWCO Direct, said:16 “We will see print direct mail become more relevant and more targeted as marketers leverage data to make their mail more compelling.” Which means marketers can drive even more growth in 2022 through the power of direct mail.

1, 3 Monster.com, 2021
2, 5, 10, 16 “Direct Mail Printing Outlook for 2022: Still Remains a Shining Star,” Printing Impressions Jan. 2022
4 Ad Mailer, Precision, 2021
6, 7 Association of National Advertisers
8 Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study is an ongoing, fielded in conjunction with Prospect Insights & Analytics, a global market research company
9 Omnisend 2020 Marketing Automation Statistics Report
11 Canada Post Neuroscience Research on the Power of Direct Mail, 2021
12, 13, 14 Comperemedia, 2021
15 USPS, Statista, 2021

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Direct Mail Trends in 2022: A Deeper Dive.
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