Exploring the Impact of AI Language Models on Direct Mail Marketing


ChatGPT….a term that is likely newer to our vocabulary, but undoubtedly, a word you’ve seen pop-up at an increasing rate anytime you open an internet browser or a smart device. But have you considered the impact of ChatGPT on direct mail marketing? 

At the start of this article, we were confronted with a dilemma. Do we ask ChatGPT for an outline? Do we have it write the entire article (as a meta-experiment of course)? Or do we ask it to provide some background research on the topic to get us started? This seems to be a common situation that content marketers now face. 

And of course, this is just a minuscule example of how this fast artificial intelligence is impacting marketing departments and other knowledge workers.  


According to a recent CBS News article, 30% of professionals are already using ChatGPT for their jobs, and if we had to speculate, it’s likely the marketing industry may be among the leading users.  


At Nahan, we believe that AI language models such as ChatGPT have the potential to significantly impact the direct mail channel in a positive way, but how fast and to what degree are very much uncertain, like so many things with the emerging AI revolution.  

In this article, we will discuss how direct mail marketers can use ChatGPT to enhance their campaigns, as well as some of the limitations and potential risks to consider. 

And yes, we did ask ChatGPT for some help in writing this article, but it is mostly human generated!  

What is ChatGPT? 

At its most basic level, ChatGPT is a chatbot that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate responses to user input. Its models are built by analyzing enormous amounts of text from the internet and other sources like books, social media, new articles and academic papers. The algorithms can then use this data to understand human language, identify patterns, and generate responses. 

It’s currently available to use for free on the Open.ai website, and recently a paid PRO tier of $20 a month was created. It has been integrated into Microsoft’s Bing search and Edge browser, with plans for rolling out a new product called Co-Pilot which will be integrated into many of the Microsoft Office applications, including Word and Excel.  

Three Ways Direct Mail Marketers Can Use ChatGPT Today 

The extent that ChatGPT is being incorporated into direct mail workflows cannot be known in full just yet. From our conversations with clients and others in the industry, we know that people are starting to tap into its great potential on certain tasks.  

Of course, AI and machine learning technology have been a part of the direct marketing industry for several years on the data side of the equation, especially when it comes to targeting.  

But what are some other areas where generative AI could have an impact? Let’s look at a few use cases.  


AI and direct mail


Personalized Responses 

Generative AI’s ability to generate personalized responses based on user input has the potential to enhance the personalization of direct mail campaigns.  

For example, a direct mail piece might include a call-to-action that invites the recipient to chat with a chatbot. Once engaged, the chatbot can ask questions and generate personalized responses based on the user’s answers. 


Direct mail marketers are always focused on optimizing campaigns. However, finding the right formula can be time-consuming, and expensive. Artificial intelligence and chatbots could have a significant impact on that process by generating real-time feedback on campaigns. This in turn will allow for more robust and experimental testing with the goal of generating a higher ROI.  

By automating certain tasks, such as testing and targeting, AI can help marketers identify the most effective strategies quickly and efficiently, leading to more successful campaigns. 

Copywriting and Creative 

Direct Response copywriting is a core part of direct marketing campaigns. Best practices have been defined by the industry over the years, and this is exactly the type of structured data tools like ChatGPT have been trained on.  

Generative AI will allow marketers to generate ideas, outlines and research and a high volume of copy in lightning speed. This will give marketers the opportunity to expand possibilities and potentially lead to greater creativity.  

By inputting key information about the target audience and marketing goals, ChatGPT can provide customized content optimized for engagement and conversion. This can save time and resources while improving the overall effectiveness of direct mail campaigns. 

Limitations of Using ChatGPT for Direct Mail Marketing 

While ChatGPT can be a powerful tool for direct mail marketers, there are some limitations to be aware of: 


It may not always generate entirely accurate or relevant responses, although they can sound very convincing. Currently, ChatGPT has a knowledge cut-off date of September 2021. It’s important to review and verify to assure accuracy.  


ChatGPT is capable to generating dazzling, convincing, and sometimes even very funny results, but it does require trial and error with the prompts, otherwise there’s a risk that output will sound like more generic marketing copy and nobody wants or need more of that. Due to this limitation, copywriters will still have job security. Human touch and talent are still critical to the process of refining and enhancing the ideas AI outputs.  

Data Privacy

As with any tool, precautions need to be taken to assure that your proprietary data is safe and secure, so at this point you most definitely do not want to share that or any private customer information. 

Legal Risk

The insurgence of AI capabilities in marketing is new. And while very tempting to use in any way you can, its newness means that laws and regulations have not yet caught up with it. We simply don’t know the answers to all the legal and ethical questions that ChatGPT may bring up with its use in marketing. 

As the industry learns more about generative AI, there will no doubt be more clarity on some of these limitations, but for the time being, caution is recommended.  


AI and direct mail


Takeaways for Direct Mail Marketers Using ChatGPT 

The marketing industry understands hype better than just about any other. In fact, it’s marketers that help build and generate hype for brands. At this point, the hype around ChatGPT and generative AI is impossible to avoid, and likely won’t dissipate anytime soon.  

ChatGPT is certainly one of the most impressive, and potentially industry changing tools to come around in a long time. We believe the hype is real and that the direct marketing industry needs to start experimenting with these tools because, well, your competitors are going to and the risk that you fall behind is very real. To summarize:  

  • Direct mail marketers can use ChatGPT for personalized responses, optimization, and copywriting. 
  • There are limitations to be aware of, including accuracy, originality, and data privacy. 
  • Direct mail marketers should start experimenting with ChatGPT to stay ahead of the competition and take advantage of its potential benefits. 
  • The integration of AI technology is new, and thus best practices are ongoing. However, we recommend this source as a starting point for getting your feet wet in learning how to form prompt questions for AI. 


Unlock Your Company’s Growth Potential with These 10 Direct Mail Tips

Did you know that direct mail is one of the most effective tools for building strong connections with your customers and driving business growth? By crafting tailored messages that resonate with specific audiences, direct mail can help you boost your return on investment (ROI) and stay ahead of the competition.

However, even seasoned direct mailers can benefit from periodic refresher courses to ensure they’re leveraging the latest direct response fundamentals. If you’re new to direct mail, learning the fundamentals can help you unlock the full potential of this powerful marketing channel.

In this article, we’ll share 10 tips for mastering the fundamentals.

Define your target audience 

Defining your target audience is crucial for the success of your direct mail campaign. Here are some essentials to keep in mind: 

  • Conduct market research to understand the demographics and interests of your potential customers 
  • Develop buyer personas that represent your ideal customers and tailor your message to their needs and preferences 
  • Analyze your existing customer base to identify patterns and characteristics that can inform your targeting strategy
  • Utilize data analytics and segmentation tools to identify the most profitable segments of your target audience and personalize your message accordingly 

For example, if you’re a company that sells outdoor gear, you might define your target audience as adventure seekers who are passionate about hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. By understanding their interests and behaviors, you can create a direct mail campaign that speaks directly to them, showcasing your products in a way that resonates with their outdoor lifestyle. 

  • SolutionData and analytics need to identify target audiences that will have the highest likelihood of response. Your goal is not to just mail to a large group of people, but to mail to a group of responsive people that will grow revenue.

Create a compelling offer 

Once you’ve defined your target audience, the next step is to create a compelling offer that motivates them to take action. Whether it’s a discount, free trial, or exclusive content, your offer should be something that your target audience values. 

What you offer will depend on your industry. If you’re a car insurance company, you might offer premium discounts to students. This not only provides value to your target audience, but also intercepts them at a time when many are getting car insurance for themselves for the first time.  

  • Solution: Make sure Strategy and Creative are aligned and work together to develop offers that will lead to consumers taking action. The key here is offering value.

Personalize your message 

Personalization is key to the success of any direct mail campaign. By personalizing your message, you can create a more meaningful connection with your target audience. 

Generic greetings like “Dear Customer,” are outdated with today’s technology. With variable data printing, you can address your target audience by name. You might also use personalized content that speaks directly to their interests and needs.  

  • Solution: Focus on creative that delivers increased open rates. By using variable data printing, not only can our Creative team design pieces that include unique customer names, but also unique messaging that speaks to the barriers of the customer. The obstacles to a Senior Citizen changing car insurance may be different from a middle-aged family with a new teenage driver. Our team designs with the audience in mind.

Use high-quality visuals 

Visuals are a powerful tool in direct mail marketing. High-quality images and graphics can help your message stand out and grab the attention of your target audience. 

That old phrase “a picture paints a thousand words” is true. Picture this. You’re a fashion retailer with a catalog, but there’s no images of the clothing. Crazy, right? You’re going to want to include high-quality images of your products in your direct mail campaign. This not only showcases your products, but also gives your target audience a better idea of what they can expect when they shop with you. 

  • Solution: We’re a big believer in the power of images. We wouldn’t be in marketing if we didn’t. One of the unique advantages of print marketing is the impact that images can have over time. Unlike digital, print doesn’t just disappear because you close a tab on your browser. Always focus on choosing visuals that draw the reader in and speak to that specific target audience.

Include a call to action 

A call to action (CTA) is a critical component of any direct mail campaign. Your CTA should clearly state what action you want your target audience to take and how they can do it. 

For example, if you’re a food subscription box that offers a discount for new customers, your CTA might be something like “Visit our website to claim your discount.” This not only encourages your target audience to take action, but also provides them with a clear and simple way to do it. 

  • Solution: We believe your CTA should be clear and not difficult. Consumers need to know what action to take and how to accomplish it. By learning your brand and your audience, you are able to pinpoint an effective CTA that consumers are responsive to.

Test and refine your message 

Direct mail marketing is an iterative process. You should always be testing and refining your message to improve its effectiveness. Testing shouldn’t be a one-time occurrence. As your customer base evolves, testing should be a flexible, ongoing process that improves response and ROI.  

You might test different headlines, images, or offers to see which ones perform best.  Testing different mailing lists to see which audiences respond best to your message is also encouraged.  

  • Solution: We talk about testing all day, everyday at Nahan. Why? Because we believe it makes a night and day difference in your ROI. We find that most of the time, marketers just don’t know where to start with testing, and so out of fear, they don’t test. But when viewed as a long-term investment, it’s risky to not test in direct mail testing. If you’re ready to test smarter and drive ROI for your program, download “A Guide to Direct Mail Testing Today” for marketers both new to and familiar with testing. From research, pre-testing, testing, and post-campaign assessment, we cover it all.  

Use a clear and concise format 

Direct mail campaigns should be clear and concise. Your message should be easy to read and understand, and your design should be simple and visually appealing. 

A common way to do this is by using bullet points to highlight the key benefits of your product or service. Using a clear and legible font that’s easy to read is also important. You only have a few seconds to grab the consumer’s attention, so you want to make sure it is readable. 

  • Solution: If it looks too confusing, chaotic, or just too much, odds are the consumer won’t read it. Copy needs to be clear, concise and inspire action. As consumers ourselves, we’ve seen our fair share of direct mail that doesn’t do this correctly. Font that are hard to read, bulk paragraphs in a letter – all of which tell the consumer, it’s too much to read. Our team of copywriters solve that problem by creating mail pieces that flow and highlight the important information to grab the consumer’s attention.

Track your results 

Tracking your results is critical to the success of any direct mail campaign. You want to know what’s working and what’s not so that you can adjust accordingly.  

You might track metrics like response rate, conversion rate, and ROI to see how your campaign is performing.  

  • Solution: They say marketing is just gambling unless you track the results. At Nahan, our Strategists work closely with our clients on setting up tracking for campaign, so we know how to adjust if needed. This is why we believe so heartily in testing to grow your ROI.

Follow up with your leads 

Direct mail campaigns are only the first step in building a relationship with your target audience. After your leads have responded to your offer, it’s essential to follow up with them to continue the conversation and close the deal. 

For example, if you’re a financial services company that offers a free financial planning session, you might follow up with your leads to schedule an appointment. This not only helps you build a relationship with your leads but also provides them with additional value. 

  • Solution: Set up an action plan and process to follow up with your leads, we cannot emphasize the need to do this enough. A response is just a response, unless you do something with it. If your CTA leads people to fill out a form with their email address to receive a free quote – you need to have your Sales team following up with them asap. This will also help you to know whether your offer is resonating with the right audience.

Integrate with other marketing channels 

By combining direct mail with email, social media, or other channels, you can create a more comprehensive and effective marketing strategy. In a study by Gartner, technological research and consulting firm, integrated campaigns across four or more channels outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300%. 

For example, you might use direct mail to promote a new product launch, and then follow up with a digital ad display that keeps your brand top of mind for your target audience and encourages them to take action. 

  • Solution: Nahan offers an entire suite of full service direct marketing solutions, and we believe that marketing packs the most punch when doubled up. Many of our customers choose to combine direct mail with digital display ads that keep their brand top of mind. We can help you integrate them to ensure one cohesive message.

Ready to grow? 

Direct mail marketing is a powerful tool that can grow your company. When planning a direct mail campaign, planning around these ten direct mail tips can help you effectively increase ROI.  


  • Define your target audience and create a personalized and compelling offer that provides value to them 
  • Grab your consumer’s attention by only using high-quality visuals and strong CTA’s
  • Test and refine continually to improve effectiveness
  • Track your results and follow up with leads
  • Integrate with other marketing channels to increase response rate even more 

Time to mail? Let’s work together to make a comprehensive direct mail marketing strategy that delivers.  

Marketing Agility in a Risk-Adverse Economy


Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist 

Being a marketer in today’s economy likely produces some trepidation and maybe some nervous laughter. You might not be confident that your well-thought-out marketing plans will unfold as expected in 2023.  

Everyone under the sun has heard of the looming economic uncertainty, many of which are calling the most telegraphed recession in history. There’s a lot of angst in this economy, especially in the marketing industry.  

We feel the pressures of the economy, but view the challenge as a great opportunity for the direct mail channel.  


When you create an agile framework and embrace new ideas, you can find growth while others act out of fear and face growth decline. 

Nahan is here to help you create an agile framework for your direct marketing program to help ensure it remains nimble and profitable during uncertain times. 

Remember that Avoiding Risk At All Cost Can Be Costly

When businesses face uncertainty, the natural tendency is to take a more cautious approach to new initiatives and scrutinize spending more closely. Caution is recommended when it is coupled with strategy to find opportunities.  

The key is to not withdraw and become entirely risk avoidant. Avoiding all risk can actually become a bigger risk.  

In our opinion, the riskiest decision direct mail marketers can make in 2023 is pulling back on testing – completely missing out on the opportunity to learn and improve their programs.  

To help marketers build a testing strategy that will limit risk and provide the most performance improvement, we’ve published a Guide to Direct Mail Testing. Warning: we get a little geeky and deep into the data models…but that’s what we like. We believe it’s through testing that marketers will find the most success in direct mail, and ultimately the best ROI.  

You can leverage Nahan as an extension of your marketing team. We’ll bring our decades of data and testing expertise to help you continue to test and learn in 2023, while avoiding unnecessary risk. Turning to in-depth industry expertise is critical when there’s less room for error. In challenging times, leaning on strong expertise matters. 

Find Partners That Embrace Agility

During challenging times, marketers need to be flexible. We understand the need for adaptability as your strategies, offers, promotions, and competitive environment are rapidly changing. 

Throughout the past several years, we’ve prioritized agility in our upgrades and evolution as a company. We’ve built a dynamic platform with the capability to produce a wide range of direct mail formats, increase efficiency, improve change management, and allow for more dynamic personalization, just to name a few.  

We have an end-to-end trigger platform that takes advantage of the fact that best results are driven by human behavior – whether it’s consumer credit inquiries or web abandoners – and everything else in between. Results are 40-140% higher than business as usual mail. 

We love connecting the dots for our customers, from data to creative to digital integrations, and helping find ways to improve speed to market. We’ve learned that every job is unique and requires a unique solution. And that’s why Nahan makes agility a top priority. 

Ensure Stability For Your Direct Marketing Program

When the market is uncertain, you want a trusted and reliable partner at your side. Nahan has been in business for over 60 years and is a thriving, financially stable organization.  

Our leadership team is filled with direct marketing veterans, each with over 25 years of experience in the industry. We’ve weathered many economic ups and downs over the years, and have made investments along the way that ensure continuity and efficiency for our clients.  

We’ve invested in dual production facilities –  one in Minnesota, and another in Pennsylvania. These two facilities not only drive production and logistics benefits for our customers, but also provide enhanced disaster-relief continuity to our clients’ programs.  

Another example is our strategic relationship with supply chain partners such as those that supply paper and ink. Through these decades-long relationships, we’re able to gain unique visibility into supply chain strategies and challenges before they become a problem. This allows us to plan further ahead to mitigate challenges with availability and pricing of materials.  

Lean Into Data

Fresh and accurate data is the single most important factor in driving direct mail performance improvement. We make it our business to deliver the right data solution for your unique targeting needs.  

Not only can we access credit data from the 3 main credit bureaus when a client is eligible, but we can also access supplemental and alternate credit data sources and demographics to provide complete asset targeting and identify under-banked individuals.  

Due to our overall volume and contractual agreements, we can obtain data at a price lower than clients can obtain on their own. Credit data itself is more accurate than traditional demographic data, leading to higher rates of deliverability and improved targeting, both of which save our clients substantial marketing dollars. 

Using data, we can create predictive “meta-models” that combine many source-specific sub-models, making them more powerful and flexible than traditional single-source models.  

Ensuring your offers are being sent to the right audience is crucial to success, especially when budget dollars are tight. 

Make Agility Your Approach in 2023

2023 is a year for refining and opportunity-seeking amidst uncertainty, not a year for staying stagnant. Maintaining an emphasis on flexibility, adaptability, and continual improvement is the name of the game.  

Responding to market conditions in a cautious, but wise way that takes strategic risks, will set your business up to thrive in the future. 

Ready to up your agility? Download our “Guide To Direct Mail Testing Today” white paper. 

In this white paper, we provide an insiders guide to effective direct mail testing for programs of all sizes and across industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started with testing or a seasoned pro, our guide will provide you with actionable insights you can implement today.

Learn how the four phases of the testing process work together to drive optimization.

  • Research
  • Pre-Testing
  • Testing
  • Post-Campaign Assessment

If you’re ready to test smarter and drive ROI for your program, fill out the form below for the full guide to direct mail testing today! 


Direct Mail Trends for 2023


Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist 

2023 is here and one thing that has not changed, no matter the year nor the climate, is your need to reach your consumers. The challenge lies in reaching them in an efficient and effective way that aligns with your marketing budget.  

With over 60 years in the direct mail and catalog industry, we’ve garnered a thing or two from interacting with the evolving market space. In 2023, we’re seeing a stronger case than ever for utilizing direct mail in your marketing campaigns.  

As the economic environment has shifted and the priority for personalized, highly-targeted campaigns have increased, we’ve seen a few trends populate that will help you amp up your marketing game. 

Optimize with Highly Targeted Campaigns 

Gone are the days of throwing spaghetti at a wall, just hoping something sticks. Your customer base is unique and your direct mail should be as well. 

Mailing smarter by strategically choosing your audience means less mail produced, less money spent, and more engaged consumers. Win-win-win.  

It’s time to optimize your direct mail campaigns by making them highly informed with fresh data, fresh strategy, and fresh results.  

How does Nahan do this? We can provide prospect leads generated by predictive models. These tools are built via analytics derived from multiple data sources and elements not commonly found in standard sources. By utilizing data across sources, we can identify highly predictive data elements—leading to greater response and conversion results. 

Depending on available data, we can identify patterns based on past behavior and transactions, then supplement the target development universe for analysis with appended demographic, psychographic, and attitudinal data. We often build multiple models that work in concert for the best solution. 

“Consumers can be hesitant. Get to know them and what keeps them from taking action. Once you know that, you can address it right away in the copy itself. It’s personalized and targeted pieces that will get you results. That requires thought and intention, but delivers in ROI.”

-Mike Dietz, Executive Creative Director

Digital Retargeting and Digital Overlay 

You send your consumer a direct mail piece on the biggest sale of the year. It arrives in their mailbox, and three days later, they receive a digital display ad on their Instagram account reminding them about the coupon they received. This is not a coincidence, but a strategic digital retargeting.  

Digital overlays can display the same message in your direct mail piece on a digital display ad, packing double the punch. These types of ads can be useful in driving traffic to a specific landing page for generating leads. 

Consumers don’t have a great retention span and see multiple marketing messages per day. But you know what they say about repetition – it sticks.

Direct Mail Testing 

Direct mail is not a “one-size fits all” or an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” type of situation. Yet, many marketers treat it that way.  

“We find that marketers can be reluctant to test, simply because they don’t know how. While others may not want to risk the company’s budget on a test that may not out-perform the control. And sometimes it’s a combination of the two. But not doing any testing, will ultimately result in performance decline. 

-Alan Sherman, VP Marketing Strategy 

In 2023, both creative and data testing will be the way to go to ensure a campaign keeps hitting the mark. Testing must be a regular ongoing process.  

Ideally, that means part of every campaign or at least testing quarterly. The aim is to develop a stable of high-performing creative packages and a precisely optimized audience by testing new data sources and predictive models to continually improve results. 

Teaming Up with Informed Delivery 

Marketers who utilize Informed Delivery will receive a 4% postal discount in 2023 from August 1st to December 31st.  Informed Delivery is a free program through the USPS for consumers who wish to participate that allows them to see photos of the mail before it arrives.   

It consists of two main elements:  

1) A large grayscale image of the piece or a full-color representative image of the mailer.  

2) A smaller, “Ride-Along” image that offers interactive marketing potential. Clicking on this image or on the “Learn More” call to action opens the URL associated with the campaign. It can also be used to open a marketer’s phone app for the recipient to call. 

With over 44 million consumers signed up for Informed Delivery, there is major potential for marketers to take advantage of that audience with links and Call-To-Actions accompanying the user’s mail images. 

Saving with the USPS Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Promotion

Each year the USPS has multiple promotions, one of the newest being the Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive promotion. Marketers can save 5% by utilizing including elements such as specialty metallic or thermal inks, textured papers or varnishes, scented coatings, or interactive pull strings and die-cuts to make use of the promotion and stand out in the mailbox. 

For your easy access, you can download our promotions guide here. The guidebook provides a quick glance over each promotion’s most important information including eligibility and effective dates.  

Time to Get In the Game

Direct mail is a core part of an omnichannel marketing strategy. Now is the time to engage with optimization and testing opportunities. Settling for the status quo is not going to lead to results. 

We challenge you to not sit on the sidelines with your marketing strategy in 2023, but instead find ways to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and overall ROI. And as direct marketing experts at Nahan, we’d love to help you do it.  

A Guide to Direct Mail Testing Today

Testing is a key component of any successful direct marketing program. The most impactful direct mail marketers are constantly testing creative, lists, and offers, which enables them to make marketing decisions armed with more insight.

We have found that testing means different things to different people. Clients approach it in a variety of ways.

In this white paper, we provide an insiders guide to effective direct mail testing for programs of all sizes and across industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started with testing or a seasoned pro, our guide will provide you with actionable insights you can implement today.

Learn how the four phases of the testing process work together to drive optimization.

  • Research
  • Pre-Testing
  • Testing
  • Post-Campaign Assessment

If you’re ready to test smarter and drive ROI for your program, fill out the form below for the full guide to direct mail testing today! 

The Power of the Holiday Catalog: Leading with Nostalgia


Author: John Klumb, VP Sales


Imagine sitting at the foot of the Christmas tree as a child, hot cocoa in one hand and a thick holiday catalog in the other. Thumbing through its pages, you bookmark the items you wanted for your list to Santa.

Calming, right? Reminds you of simpler times and the childhood joy that came alongside anticipating the holidays.

There’s a reason why thinking of those holiday catalogs now brings feelings of merriment and peace as it plays on our feeling of nostalgia. Even though the size and thickness of the holiday catalogs may change, they still have a hold on our emotions and thus, consumer spending.

Consumer Holiday Spending Power

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales during November and December of this year will grow between 6% and 8% from last year, equaling between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion. The increase in percentage is down from last year, likely due to consumer fears of recession. However, the positive trend of growth since the end of 2020 continues, likely due to the effects of the pandemic.

“In the face of these challenges, many households will supplement spending with savings and credit to provide a cushion and result in a positive holiday season.”

– NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay


holiday catalog

Take Advantage of Traditional Advertising Over Digital

While digital may seem to be everywhere you look, that comes with its downfalls. You’re competing with every other brand advertising on social media, TV, streaming, and display ads that normally advertises….times 10 because it’s the holidays.

And herein comes one of the powers of print…standing out from the digital crowd.  As marketers increase their budgets to try and capture the holiday shoppers, keeping a consumer’s attention may be even harder. Print advertising, however, has an advantage that digital can never copy because its based on how our brains work.

According to the USPS, the part of our brain that controls motivational response is 20% more engaged when we view print advertising. The real power of catalogs is how they increase the vividness of a product by allowing the consumer to visualize the product’s usage (Harvard Business Review). Humans are visual people. We like to see how the product can be used, and catalogs are a great way to deliver that visual.

Combine the powerful impact of print with the nostalgia of the holidays and you’ve got an award-winning duo.

Beyond the Holidays

When the New Year has been rung in, the lights have been taken down and ornaments put away, the holidays might be over, but the power of the catalog is not.

“Catalogs are a great way reach your consumers in a captivating way. With exceptional print and paper quality, it creates an entire immersive experience for the consumer that can never be replaced with digital alternatives.”

Mark Groff, VP Eastern Region Sales

We’d love to talk to with you about harnessing the power of print for your brand! Find out more at nahan.com/direct-marketing-solutions/catalog-production/.

The Trustworthiness of Direct Mail in the Age of Cybersecurity


Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist


Security and privacy are two issues that impact almost every aspect of the way consumers engage with marketing in today’s world. While much of the focus revolves around cybersecurity and consumer data privacy, what happens in one channel has an impact in other channels.   

For marketers currently working in direct mail, or considering moving into it sometime soon, it’s important to understand some of the high-level issues revolving around security and privacy, which may not always be obvious on the surface.  

In the post, we’ll review how cybersecurity issues impact direct mail, and how agencies like Nahan help marketers navigate tricky security and privacy issues.  

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Are Top of Mind Issues 

The inherent security risks around digital interactions are well known at this point. We all know about spam, phishing and data breaches. They make headlines and we’re all trained by our IT departments about these threats.   

These days, consumers are faced with potential threats anywhere they interact online, whether that’s clicking on banner ads or a link in an email. The threats are everywhere.  

Our inboxes are particularly a prime target which has made us inherently more risk adverse. We look for our billing statements, emails from friends and family and perhaps a few newsletters from trusted brands and media outlets. Anything else is oftentimes viewed suspiciously.  

Along with cybersecurity threats, consumers are weary about data privacy and how their information is collected and used by companies. This has made data privacy a hot button political issue with new laws in Europe fundamentally changing how companies can collect data. There could be similar laws in the United States within a few years, making data collection, targeting and analytics more complex for marketers.  

In this ever-changing landscape, it’s no wonder that consumers are growing weary of, and have a short attention span for marketing messages. In fact, brands have less than 3 seconds to capture consumers attention with an email message.  

So, what does this mean for marketers working the direct mail channel?   

Direct Mail is Trustworthy  

Direct mail has long been a trusted media channel. It might be common sense, but we know that when we get a piece of mail, it’s probably legitimate. There is no threat to your personal data by opening an envelope or reading a postcard.  

Beyond its safety, many consumers actually welcome mail from brands they trust. According to an Epsilon survey, 59% respondents say they welcome and enjoy getting mail from brands to find out about new products.  

Effective marketing requires integrated approaches and finding the right channel mix. These days, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and dynamics are always changing which requires smart marketers to be even more data driven. If you’re looking to break through the noise, direct mail is both safe and effective. According to the Data & Marketing association, around 90% of direct mail gets opened compared to 20-30% of marketing emails.  

We know that consumers trust direct mail, and it can be a highly effective channel with the right message and offer. However, that trust is built on security and established privacy laws and policies, which are critical to understanding in the direct mail channel.  

Direct Marketing Agencies Are Security Partners  

Security is a paramount issue in the direct mail channel. Many types of campaigns require companies to share sensitive customer data with their direct mail partners.  

With security protocols becoming more stringent to meet increasing cybersecurity threats, direct marketing providers like Nahan need the highest level of commitment to security to ensure consumer privacy.  

That’s why Nahan is certified at the highest level by organizations including HIPPA or PCI DSS, SOC2+HITRUST, S2Score (third-party security/risk assessment), PCI DSS, SOC2+HITRUST, HIPAA, CCPA, and GDPR. 

Nahan Security Safeguards   

At Nahan, we have decades of experience in direct mail industry, working with brands across many industries that require the highest security standards. We’re constantly reviewing our protocols and working with customers to develop new security processes. 

We know that protecting our clients’ customer data is critical to building trust, and delivering the results that drive business forward.  

Nahan prioritizes security by protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer data through multiple layers of technical, physical, and administrative controls including:  

  •  Secure file transfer processes including secure transport protocols, Secure FTP (SFTP)

  • PGP file encryption

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) including biometrics

  • Highly-trained staff with weekly, monthly, and annual security training sessions and modules

  • Secure online industry-standard proofing application

  • Customer data access protected with ACL’s, audit trail logging, and file integrity monitoring (if required)

  • Secure data deletion with Certificate of Destruction (if required) 

If you’d like to learn more about growing your business or increasing your ROI through direct mail, get in touch!

Are you currently testing your direct mail programs?

Testing is a key component of any successful direct marketing program. The most impactful direct mail marketers are constantly testing creative, lists, and offers, which enables them to make marketing decisions armed with more insight.

We have found that testing means different things to different people. Clients approach it in a variety of ways.

In this white paper, we provide an insiders guide to effective direct mail testing for programs of all sizes and across industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started with testing or a seasoned pro, our guide will provide you with actionable insights you can implement today.

Learn how the four phases of the testing process work together to drive optimization.

  • Research
  • Pre-Testing
  • Testing
  • Post-Campaign Assessment

If you’re ready to test smarter and drive ROI for your program, fill out the form below for the full guide to direct mail testing today! 

The Risk in Not Testing Your Direct Mail


Author: Alan Sherman, VP Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been in the direct marketing space for any amount of time, you’ve certainly heard about the importance of testing. But “testing” means different things to different people, and we see people approach it in a variety of ways. My colleague, Maggie Stack, recently published a blog on Direct Mail Testing. Consider this a prequel – insights into the risks of not testing.

Testing “Approaches” Run the Gamut

Some marketers don’t test on a consistent basis or simply don’t test at all. After mailing the same creative package, list or offer, for months or even years on end, they experience the inevitable performance decline, and think it may be time to test a new creative. Their creative team or agency offers a new creative that hopefully out-performs the old one and then the process repeats itself. Still other marketers occasionally test but are so risk averse that they test small creative attributes, such as a headline in a letter or on an envelope, which rarely moves the performance needle. And data testing happens less frequently than creative testing, even though data has a more significant impact on results.

A Fear of Testing

Why the reluctance to test? Some marketers simply don’t know how. Others may not want to risk the company’s budget on a test that may not out-perform the control. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two – “I don’t know how – so why take the chance?”

What About Data Testing? I hear less about this than creative testing.

Why is there so little data testing? Data can be tougher to test – nowadays it would be less likely for us to test an entire list. With the cost of postage, we must be as precise as possible. Segments or model groups within an audience are not always easily explained or understood. Many lists should not be mailed without the use of effective predictive models to rank prospects. It feels riskier than changing a creative headline, or maybe data is managed by another group in the organization.  Maybe the data testing setup and measurement can feel daunting. We can hold and touch creative – it feels more “real” than data and many of us like to think we intuitively know what works in creative when it’s sometimes best left to the direct mail creative experts. 😊 And yet data has a larger impact on response than creative.

The Risk in Not Testing Your Direct Mail

Some might apply the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to direct mail testing. I would argue if it ain’t broke yet, it will be some day.  I would say that there is greater risk in NOT testing. Every creative package’s performance declines over time, and if you wait until that happens you could find yourself many months away from a new, high-performing package. The same applies to data. Doing nothing is short-term thinking that, over time, delivers inferior results. Regular testing is an investment that puts the long-term odds in your favor. Every test is an opportunity to learn and improve.

How frequent should testing be done?

Testing must be a regular ongoing process. Ideally, that means part of every campaign or at least testing quarterly. The aim is to develop a stable of high-performing creative packages and a precisely optimized audience by testing new data sources and predictive models to continually improve results.

We can make testing work for you. Testing is both art and science – Nahan offers both. We will continue to cover various aspects of testing in upcoming blogs.

Are you currently testing your direct mail programs?

Testing is a key component of any successful direct marketing program. The most impactful direct mail marketers are constantly testing creative, lists, and offers, which enables them to make marketing decisions armed with more insight.

We have found that testing means different things to different people. Clients approach it in a variety of ways.

In this white paper, we provide an insiders guide to effective direct mail testing for programs of all sizes and across industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started with testing or a seasoned pro, our guide will provide you with actionable insights you can implement today.

Learn how the four phases of the testing process work together to drive optimization.

  • Research
  • Pre-Testing
  • Testing
  • Post-Campaign Assessment

If you’re ready to test smarter and drive ROI for your program, fill out the form below for the full guide to direct mail testing today! 

Excitement Continues With The Success of Nahan’s East Coast Facility


Author: Michael Henry, VP Operations


As announced in April, Nahan recently acquired a second facility in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. It has been an exciting past several months ramping up the facility and launching production. Our team is incredibly proud of all the hardworking individuals who made this addition possible.

From preparing equipment, to hiring a work force, to installation of new branding, and much more, many people had a hand in the success of this addition that enables faster speed to market.

Nahan East

Nahan East









To celebrate this progress, we asked members of our Leadership Team to share a few sentiments regarding the facility and its team.

“Direct mail is the fastest-growing segment of our business,” said CEO Mike Ertel. “The addition of an East Coast facility strengthens our already best-in-class platform with improved cycle time, which is integral to our end-to-end direct marketing solution.”

“Marketers are seeking integrated solutions to increase agility, efficiency, and effectiveness,” said Mike Logar, SVP Sales and Marketing Services. “The addition of Nahan East puts us in a strong position to produce direct mail campaigns that will deliver high-performance results for our customers and drive business growth in a highly competitive market. We are super-pumped to have our PA facility online and are proud of the efforts by everyone who contributed to the launch.”

Aaron Weekes, VP Information of Technology and Adam Rohde, Manager of IT, had significant roles in getting all the technology in the facility in working order. Aaron stresses that the addition of this location is fantastic, “but the best thing about it is the amazing people. The team there takes pride in their work, they are knowledgeable about what they do, and are fun to work with as well.”









The exceptional team dynamic that has been cultivated at this location is a testament to the amazing people at this location. Dawn Volante Brown, VP Business Services says “I am impressed by the level of the energy and collaboration created between both our St. Cloud and Montgomeryville locations. We are quickly becoming a global Nahan with the benefit of two geographic locations.”

As the VP Operations of Nahan East, I am incredibly excited about the progress so far and I’m looking forward to expanding and growing the facility to support the platform in the months ahead.



Author Bio: Michael Henry is the VP Operations at our facility in Pennsylvania. He joined Nahan in 2022 and has over 30 years of leading and direction organizations, bringing valuable leadership experience in the direct mail industry. Away from work, Mike enjoys spending his time on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland with his family and friends.

Gen Z and Direct Mail: Reaching the Newest Consumers

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

Did you know that Gen Z makes up 20% of the population? While it may be hard to believe at first, the newest generation of consumers (born between 1997 and 2012) are now a major contender in the world’s retail scene. The oldest of this generation is a recent college graduate and starting new life stages, while the youngest of which are just embarking into their teenage years. This generation of consumers boasts a spending power of approximately $140 billion (Rolling Stone, 2021), making them an extremely valuable target audience that you should be reaching. They’re ready to spend their money, but they hold brands to high standards.

Embrace the Physical Quality of Direct Mail

Gen Z may be known as “Digital Natives,” meaning they grew up around technology, but they’re also overly served digital ads. Additionally, in the midst of a pandemic, they have a thirst for the personal and physical touch (Forbes, 2021) that digital ads cannot provide in the same way tangible items can. Utilizing direct mail helps reach this audience that has overflooded inboxes and social ads with something that fills this innate need.

Integrate Technology with Direct Mail

As mentioned, Gen Z is often referred to as “Digital Natives” and most do not know a world without the Internet or smart phones. And while marketers should embrace this opportunity to stand out with the physical quality of direct mail, it is also a chance to integrate technology with it for the best of both worlds. How can one do this? Marketers have found success with using a scannable QR code for a quick way to assimilate information while keeping the copy and creative on a mail piece minimal. The use of augmented reality also provides for a unique way for consumers to virtually try on or place items.

Make Sure You Stand Behind Something

At the end of the day, Gen Z cares about more than service offerings and discounts. They care about what your brand stands behind. They want to know what you support, how you support it, and they will do the research to find out. Gen Z is also more likely than other generations to switch brands to align with their personal beliefs/values (Business Insider, 2021). The social justice movement is one example of a cause that Gen Z is often passionate about. They are more likely to give their brand loyalty to brands that have diversity programs and support related local and national organizations.

Use Gen Z to Market to Gen Z

Who does Gen Z want to listen to? Whose voices do they care about? Your messaging is more likely to resonate with them if you are using those who are similar to them in age and life stage. Gen Z is very different from previous generations in the environment they grew up in, and they are more likely to take the word of those who are coming from that same frame of reference. This generation of consumers is actually twice as likely as millennials to make a purchase based off an influencer recommendation or testimonial (70% of which are under 34) (Rolling Stone, 2021).   Are you ready to expand your reach to Gen Z? We’d love to help you with your direct marketing strategy and creative to do just that.

Sources: Rolling Stone Sprout Social Business Insider    

A Guide to Direct Mail Testing Today

Testing is a key component of any successful direct marketing program. The most impactful direct mail marketers are constantly testing creative, lists, and offers, which enables them to make marketing decisions armed with more insight.

We have found that testing means different things to different people. Clients approach it in a variety of ways.

In this white paper, we provide an insiders guide to effective direct mail testing for programs of all sizes and across industries. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started with testing or a seasoned pro, our guide will provide you with actionable insights you can implement today.

Learn how the four phases of the testing process work together to drive optimization.

  • Research
  • Pre-Testing
  • Testing
  • Post-Campaign Assessment

If you’re ready to test smarter and drive ROI for your program, fill out the form below for the full guide to direct mail testing today! 

Direct Marketing Trends for 2022

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

The new year brings new direct marketing trends and continuations of ideas that advanced in 2021. Like the beginning of last year, 2022 gets its start in an advertising saturated society with technology at the fingertips of nearly every consumer. In such an environment, knowing how to stand out to the right consumer at the right time, is a necessary skill for differentiation. Below we’ve rounded up five direct marketing trends for 2022 for you to ponder as you plan your marketing strategies:

1. When it comes to words, less is more

Want to catch a consumer’s attention in the mail? Don’t overload it with unnecessary text that crowds the mail piece. You only have a limited amount of time to entice the consumer to act. If the consumer perceives that it will take too long to read the piece, you may have just lost your chance for them to get to your Call to Action. Provide enough to get your point across, but don’t leave the consumer drowning in words.

2. Combining Digital and Print

While both digital and print advertising have their own advantages, together, they make the ultimate power team, especially in the wake of the phasing out of third-party cookies. Whether it’s using QR codes or pre-in-home-date digital ads, the addition of digital to print will become more popular as marketers get creative to increase ROI. Nahan’s solution to this is Direct Mail Companion™, used to create a seamless message before, during, and after your direct mail or catalog in-home date, leading to greater response and higher ROI.

3. Augmented Reality

Marketers can harness the power of Augmented Reality (AR) to layer computer-generated dimensions onto a real-world setting. Consumers can use their hand-held technology to view direct mail and catalogs with AR to view how certain products would look in a space. Utilizing this technology gives consumers a memorable and enriching experience that is hands-on.

4. Targeting by Challenge and Not Demographic

What prompts consumers to pursue a service or product? Most often it is a need that they want to fill and they believe that a specific service or product will fulfill that need. Instead of only looking at consumer targeting by age or geographic region, including the segmenting of your target audience by unique challenges and/or behavior may return more favorable responses and make messaging feel more personal.

5. Use of Informed Delivery

When consumers use Informed Delivery from the USPS, they are able to see ahead of time the mail pieces they are receiving each day. Not only are they aware of what is coming, but they are also able to interact with the mail pieces by clicking on the images and view offers from the business’s website. According to the USPS, by September 2021, nearly 43 million users had registered for Informed Delivery and that number is expected to grow throughout 2022.

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is our Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.