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The Future of Direct Mail: The Next Generation

By Michael McCormick on November 12, 2021

Direct mail’s origins go back a ways…as in 1,000 B.C. Since then, advances in technology have fundamentally changed the nature of direct mail, with some of the largest changes coming in the last five years.

The more things change...

Though one thing that has stayed the same for direct mailers is the need to stay abreast of the effectiveness of marketing channels, as well as evolving consumer trends and preferences. That inherently daunting task is made even more so by the current global pandemic. 

To that end, the marketing team at SG360° wanted to shed light on what marketers are doing to reach today’s consumers, which marketing tactics resonate with consumers, what affects the pandemic has had on both marketers and consumers, and how direct mail fits in to it all. 

Our approach

In the Spring of 2021, SG360° worked with outside research and marketing firms to survey:


The key discoveries that arose from the resulting data form the basis of our report, The Future of Direct Mail: An Opportunity for Unified Marketing Strategy.

The report examines several topics, including:

• The relationship between COVID-19 & growing consumer digital fatigue

• What direct mail resonates with consumers 

• Pairing direct mail with new technologies


Everything old is new again

One of the most intriguing revelations to come out of the report highlights the degree to which the generation born into the digital age values direct mail, even more so than their counterparts aged 56+.


If this sounds counterintuitive, observe the continued strong growth in the sales of books and vinyl record albums; two mediums once consigned (prematurely) to the scrapheap of history. It is the younger generations who grew up staring at screens who are driving those sales, suggesting a strong desire for physical interactions.

Key to this engagement though is relevance. So long as what they are seeing — and feeling — is personally relevant to their wants and needs, they are happy to engage.

Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X also rank higher than Baby Boomers in actions taken as a result of receiving direct mail, including:

• making a purchase

• visiting a brand website

• following a brand on social media

A roadmap for the future

The insights we gleaned from this exercise have proven vital to SG360°’s ongoing mission to help clients improve their marketing programs and grow conversions. As a result, we will repeat this survey, adjusting as needed for future industry developments, on a regular basis and look forward to sharing with you each new insight.

To read the full report and see the data behind SG360°’s discoveries in The Future of Direct Mail: An Opportunity for Unified Marketing Strategy, follow this link to download your free copy.