The Surprising Unicorn of Content Marketing

When done well, direct mail has a massive potential to engage your audience and delight your customers. And it comes down to the differentiation power of print, according to Allison Carroll in Content Marketing Institute.

“Do you remember the last marketing email you opened? What about the last Facebook ad you read? Chances are, the answers are no,” Carroll writes.

“Do remember the last greeting card you received in the mail? Probably,” she continues.

And this is exactly why mail delivered into your customers’ hands… and not onto their screen … is so hard to ignore. She gives the example of’s handwritten greeting cards welcoming new customers, and the heartfelt condolence bouquets when they lose a beloved pet.

There’s something else about print that elevates the marketing impact of direct mail – creativity can thrive in physical media because of the limitations of the medium itself.   

“Given the crowded digital content space, your content marketing strategy can benefit from an offline component,” Carroll writes. “Print pieces have permanence and materiality that allow audiences to engage differently than they would with digital content.”

While direct mail continues to pull higher response rates than digital direct marketing, it is important to look at your print content marketing as part of the larger whole.

“Brands can’t afford to think of their online and offline content marketing as separate entities,” Carroll writes. “You need to capture your audience’s attention in both spaces. Therefore, your online and offline messaging strategies should work in tandem.

While multi-channel messaging is important, don’t underestimate the importance of print to your best customers. Nordstrom learned this lesson the hard way then they cut direct mail from their loyalty program.

Carroll recommends thoroughly understanding your audience and what matters to them before creating your campaign. “What do they need to know? How can you help them? For further insights, look to your top-performing online content for that target audience — whether it be a white paper, blog, case study, or offer — to inform what your direct mail message might be,” she explains.

“In today’s crowded digital landscape, consumer attention comes at a premium price,” she notes. “Digital content isn’t going anywhere, but it may not be the most effective way to make a memorable connection with your audience. Instead of flooding inboxes or edging into social media feeds, create printed content and deliver content through the mail. A well-tailored, creative message gets noticed and is never unwelcome. It’s an invitation to connect.”

When done right, that invitation will become absolutely irresistible.