Direct Mail

The format guide to decide

Selecting the right form factor for your direct mail depends on its goals.
This story is part of our how-to series about creating direct mail that works. View other stories in the series or subscribe to Pop from Sappi today to receive an email when we post more.

Folded? Pulled? Snapped? Or married?

With so many ways to get your message into a customer’s mailbox, how do you choose? The key to selecting a format is to make sure the direct mail’s presentation squares with your content. You’re not going to announce a one-day sale in a copious catalog—just as there’s no way a postcard is going to suffice when you want to show your new spring clothing line, unabridged. But either format can excel depending on your campaign objectives.

Household response rate for oversized envelopes, the medium that received the greatest return results. Postcards and letter-size envelopes were second and third, respectively.
Source: DMA Response Rate Report 2017. Data & Marketing Association, 2017.
Percentage of Millennials and Gen-Xers polled who reported that a catalog recently drove them to shop online.
Source: Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse. Quad/Graphics, March 16, 2016.

Find the ideal design

To help you make a format selection for your direct mail campaign, here are the 10 most popular types of marketing mailpieces, organized by the outcome they’re best used to achieve.

Commitment Drivers

These formats work hard to get readers to the next level by conveying a lot of information and having space for unique calls to action. Their high-quality presentation reflects well on your brand.

Frugal but Effective

These formats cost less to produce and are less involved than the commitment drivers, but they’re incredibly effective when you need to get a more specific job done.

Brand Reinforcers

These formats help cross-sell a message. They’re also opportunities to create well-branded marketing materials that boost credibility and are easily shared.

Privacy, Please

These formats are designed to provide the confidentiality some mailings require, while remaining flexible so branding can be worked into the layout or even the mail’s physical content.


Many direct mail formats let you put your own stamp on a campaign.