Innovative uses of Direct Mail Marketing to consider for your next campaign.

With so many adverts and messages targeted at consumers every day it is important to find innovative ideas and creative ways to make your company or brand stand out and get your message seen. Sending a physical piece is a good way to grab attention and the evidence is strong that direct mail marketing is seen, kept and remembered.

Mail is seen.


Mail has a 90% customer engagement rate* and 38% bought something after receiving mail.

Mail is kept.


27% of mail stays in the home for over 4 weeks.

Mail is remembered.


49% more memorable than email.

Highlighted below are 7 different types of direct mail marketing with examples of how they have been used creatively by brands to stand out on the door mat; Postcards, Self-mailers, Letters, Free samples, 3-Dimensional mailers, Interactive mailings and Lumpy mail.

Remember, by tailoring which type of DM you send to your target audience and specific purpose of the mailing, you can generate greater engagement with your audience, boost response rates and save on mailing costs.

1. Postcards.

Postcards are clear, concise and simple – ideal for sending brief, punchy messages to your audience. Small and simple, they can be one of the most cost-effective types of direct mail.

As they are not contained they do not need to be opened for their message to be seen, but their smaller size means they have limited space so need a clear, bold, and concise message as there is not much room for detailed information.

They are particularly useful as reminders and for special offers, but they can be used by businesses for a range of objectives from raising brand awareness, promoting your business, showcasing a new product, to highlighting a special offer or lead generation.

They maybe be small and to the point but with a little creative thinking they can be put to really effective use like this fantastic campaign from Nestle for KitKat Chunky.

KitKat Chunky campaign.

The KitKat Chunky campaign used a Royal Mail inspired ‘unable to deliver card’ design which was actually a coupon for a free bar, with the clever pun of ‘too chunky for your letterbox’. Consumers were encouraged to take the coupon to the newsagent to redeem their free bar of KitKat Chunky – that was ‘too chunky to fit through the letterbox’.

The direct mail campaign was not only witty but with the personalised seemingly handwritten card the response rate was high, with 87% of recipients redeeming their free KitKat chocolate bar.

This eye-catching card is a simple idea that is highly effective and plays on the USP of the brand, promoting the chocolate bar’s ‘chunkiness’. The result was a surge in sales.

2. Self-mailers.

A self-mailer is produced from one large piece of paper that is either bi-folded or tri-folded down into a variety of sizes to make a leaflet, brochure, or booklet. As the name suggest this DM format is self-contained with no need for an outer envelope, often closed with an adhesive tab.

Self-mailers are frequently used for coupons by shops and supermarkets as an effective way to encourage repeat purchase. Larger than a postcard the format affords you more space to go into greater detail about your company/brand, products, and services to build a stronger brand image to persuade the reader to act.

HelloFresh - encouraging trial.

HelloFresh’s approach to direct mail is a very personalised one. They not only use a chatty tone of voice but also include a recommended recipe based on past purchases.

The personalised approach and the friendly, ‘real’ voice, make the mailing much more compelling.

3. Letters.

Letters are the most formal and traditional type of direct mail - contained within an envelope they appear more important and serious which makes them effective for targeting a B2B Professional audience, encouraging conversion or to generate a lead.

In the age of modern technology, the traditional letter direct mailings still have a place. If you require confidentiality for a form, then the traditional letter is often the most appropriate option. With their plain and text-heavy style, it’s important to invest time in crafting the perfect copy instead of concentrating on design. You can go into more detail to persuade the reader to take action, with a highly personalised letter.

World Water Day.

To mark World Water Day, a mailer was sent out to companies and the press, containing a  letter inside that could only be read when held under water! The idea being that it demonstrated their message that water really is the source of all knowledge.

4. Free samples.

Mailing free sample sachets is an effective way to encourage trial of a new product with both existing customers and to attract new customers. Customers may not want to pay full price to try out your new product, so a free sample is a great way to introduce it.

Breeze Excel.

Breeze Excel took it one step further – they wrapped a t-shirt around the box and popped a product sample (laundry detergent) inside. During transit, the t-shirt became stained and dirty. This encouraged recipients to use the sample to clean the t-shirt and make it wearable again – which, in turn, showed off the detergent’s effectiveness.

5. 3-Dimensional mailers.

A dimensional mailer takes brochures and leaflets to the next level. They are 3-dimensional mailings that unfold, pop-up, and slide out. They can come in all shapes and sizes including boxes, tubes, and cubes.

Dimensional mailers enable you to be very creative and craft a more interactive and engaging piece for your audience - they enable you to showcase your brand, products, and services in a more innovative, eye-catching, shareable, and fun way. Just remember to keep the design relevant to your audience and on brand.

Constructed well they can provide in-depth overview of your brand, with an impressive response rate. Although they tend to gain a greater response rate than flat mail, they do come at a higher cost, so to achieve a good return on investment they are best considered for larger purchase or higher end products.


This example from IKEA was used to add an engaging element to their catalogue and create interest in the brand. Once opened, the box inside pops up into a mini side table – the element of surprise being used to create a lasting, emotional connection.

30% of consumers say that catalogues drive them online to shop, and that’s without this added memorable feature. Investing in engineering something that will ship flat but then pop up when opened is a great way of putting a twist on your usual direct mail campaign.

6. Interactive direct mail.

Adding an element of interactivity to your mailing can boost engagement and create a more memorable interaction with your brand, if targeted well to the right audience.

When people interact with your mailing, they are more likely to remember your message for longer increasing the chance of them acting on it. It’s also more likely to be shared within the household or on social media.

Skoda Yeti: Park Assist System.

Skoda’s postcard advertised a new parking assist feature on their new car model. The card contained a little car that you tear off of one side and place on the other. When you stick it onto the designated spot, magnets unexpectedly push the car into the tight parking spot!

Simple but effective at making their key feature memorable.

Click the link to check out the video and see the card in action.

7. Lumpy mail.

Lumpy mail is a buzzword that essentially means popping something unique and attention-grabbing in with your mailer. As the name suggests, it’s any type of mail that stands out from normal envelopes by being bulky or strangely shaped because it includes promotional products or giveaways as a marketing tactic.

This type of mailing is hard to ignore and more memorable as you create the warm feeling with your audience of receiving a gift, like a birthday! Most types of marketing can be filtered out – magazines, radio, TV and sales promotion, but lumpy mail is difficult to ignore as something landing on your doorstep with a lump inside, curiosity takes over and you have to see what's inside the package! Couple this with a thoughtful or useful gift it will enable you to stand out from the competition and grad the attention of your audience.

GGRP Sound: Cardboard Record Player.

GGPR sent out in their mailing an actual functioning record player, made of cardboard!

The perfect way to utilise a lumpy mailing to advertise for a sound production company.

The construction was genius - shipping flat, it held the record, and folded into place in just a single step. You then place the record under the needle and spin it with a pencil.

They certainly invested a lot of time and effort in engineering the construction.




Crooked Brains



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