In a previous post, I discussed the research conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Pebble Post that puts data to what we intuitively know: that direct mail drives purchase consideration and plays a central role in the path to purchase. But there was other data from the study that I want to talk about, as well. Researchers found that direct mail users are highly engaged shoppers who spend, research, and evangelize more than non-direct mail users.

In the printing industry, this is exactly what we want to hear, of course. But these results may also be eyebrow-raising, especially with what we know about consumers’ level of engagement on social media. Still, those are the findings.

Here’s what researchers found. When compared to non-direct-mail users, direct mail users were more likely to talk about the product, visit the brand’s website, and like/follow the brand on social media. After receiving the direct mail, they were also more likely to contact the brand, post about their purchase on social media, and write an online review.


Talked about the Product

Visited the Brand’s Website

Liked/Followed Brand on Social Media

Direct Mail Users




Non-Direct Mail Users





Contacted the Brand

Posted on Social Media

Wrote an Online Review

Direct Mail Users




Non-Direct Mail Users




Source: Pebble Post/Murphy Research

What is behind direct mail’s ability to drive such a high level of engagement? The study doesn’t say, but to gain some insight, we can refer to data from three other sources:

  1. Marketing Sherpa

According to Marketing Sherpa, when it comes to receiving updates and promotions, direct mail tops all other channels. Because consumers are more likely to be incented to shop when receiving promotions in the channels they prefer, it stands to reason that, if consumers prefer receiving promotions via direct mail, they are more likely to shop when promotions arrive via direct mail.   

Preferred Ways of Receiving Updates and Promotions

Receive in the mail


Subscribe to receive emails at a frequency I choose


Visit a company’s website when I want updates and promotions


Receive at the physical store


Subscribe to receive emails at a frequency chosen by the brand


Follow on social media


Receive via text messages


Download a mobile app


Attend local events


I prefer not to receive updates and promotions


Source: Marketing Sherpa

  1. Canada Post

In its now classic study, “The Neuroscience Behind the Response-Driving Power of Direct Mail,” Ipsos (researching on behalf of Canada Post) found that direct mail generates a “motivation score that is 20% higher than digital media.” “Motivation score” is desirability for the product that is tied with intent to purchase.

  1. Pebble Post/Murphy Research

We also have the rest of Pebble Post’s data that shows the role of the home in most consumer purchases. It is at home that options are discussed and most decisions are made. While most digital communications are designed to find and engage shoppers wherever they are, direct mail is delivered at the very place most decisions are actually determined—at home.

Put all these together, and you start to form a picture for why direct mail has the reputation it does for being such a powerful channel. It’s not just because we’re the print industry. It’s because it’s born out by the data.