Direct Mail

This just in: People really love their mail

Especially during a pandemic. The personal connection combined with haptics—the science of touch—makes mail a marketing no-brainer.
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.

Touch is the very first way we communicate with the world as a child.

But while it obviously isn’t the last, the sense of touch remains essential to the way we receive and transmit information. In fact, it’s one of the most important ways we have to experience the world we live in.

So what do we do when the world we live in is momentarily void of touch?

We send some mail.

Direct mail has always worked for a myriad of reasons, but in these strange times it adds an extra layer of comfort and connection while we’re avoiding seeing people, going places, and touching, well, anything. The tangibility of high-quality paper packs an even more serious punch while consumers are spending most of their time at home. And people really just look forward to getting their mail.

  • 65% of consumers agreed that receiving mail lifts their spirits. (“Assessing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on direct mail,” a Sappi sponsored study, 2020)
  • The general population ranks printed materials favorably compared to social media, blogs, and websites for communications. (“Assessing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on direct mail,” a Sappi sponsored study, 2020)

In this time of social distancing, the variations of texture in paper help to bring back some of the human connection that social media, blogs, and websites simply can’t replicate. And if you didn’t know already, there is a lot that paper can do.

It goes without saying that the pandemic is impacting every one of us—and the way we communicate—in a huge way. But there are elements of paper and direct mail that have always (and will always) reigned, no matter what’s happening around us.

Popular science author David Sax wrote a piece in Sappi’s Reach Out and Touch book on haptics, and in it he muses about how analog touch is making a comeback in a digital world. Whether it’s board games, cassette tapes, print books, or vinyl records, people are going back to (or discovering for the first time) the power of touch.

4.2 million records were sold in 2018, which is the highest level since the early 1990s

Sax’s argument matches up with ours—there’s a level of emotion that tangible experiences bring that digital communications just can’t match. And that’s why we relish those moments so much more.