Rumors of direct mail marketing’s demise have been greatly exaggerated for years. With the advent of online marketing tactics, people thought it’d die out for sure, yet it continues to thrive. In fact, it’s expected that spending on direct mail marketing will have increased by 3.6% by the end of 2014.
Perhaps most surprising to direct mail marketing critics, though, is the fact that it’s still very much alive in the art of politicking. In the age of the Internet, voters continue to learn about political candidates every time they receive a flyer, leaflet, or pamphlet, even if the only time they’re reading the mailer is on the walk from their mailbox to their recycling bin.
So far into the 2014 election cycle, campaigns, party committees, and other outside groups have dropped a whopping $150 million on direct mail politicking, according to a POLITICO review of CQ Moneyline data and Federal Election Commission reports. This total is only a snapshot, as the analysis methods couldn’t capture the full total, which means that the political industry’s spending on direct mail is even larger than what was found.
“Direct mail works. I’ve been doing this for 32 years. People keep saying ‘Mail is going to die. It’s a dinosaur,’” said The Lukens Co. founder Walter Lukens.
Mark Mellman was one such naysayer. Back in 1995, the Democratic pollster conducted a survey that predicted mailers would die a slow and eventual death. However, his firm went back on their word in 2008 when mailers continued to prove effective for over a decade.
“In terms of moving the needle, it’s very effective because people still read their mail and some even keep it around,” said Lukens, whose company has such clients as Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “It’s got a shelf life. It’s cheaper, and you can reach a more targeted audience.”