The Emotional Edge: Drive Consumer Influence with Direct Mail


Direct mail holds a unique advantage that digital channels such as social media and email fail to replicate: the ability to forge genuine connections and evoke powerful emotions through touch. With crowded inboxes and social ads fighting for attention with the scrolling consumer, physical mail presents an opportunity to connect like no other.  

Emotionally resonating direct mail copy has the potential to create a lasting impact, influencing consumer behavior and driving conversions. 

In this article, we will explore how direct mail can engage recipients on a deeper level, highlighting the unparalleled impact it can have in a world dominated by screens and pixels. Understanding and harnessing the emotional potential of direct mail campaigns is vital for marketers seeking to create lasting impressions and influence consumer behavior. 

Understanding the Power of Emotion 

Emotions play a fundamental role in human decision-making. Countless studies have shown that emotions, rather than logic, often guide our choices.  

Psychologist Gerald L. Core, said human thought is “often automatic, heuristic, unconscious, and guided by emotion instead of being strictly logical and reasoned.”

When it comes to marketing, tapping into these emotions can be a powerful tool to connect with consumers on a deeper level. Direct mail has a unique advantage in this regard, as it allows for a tangible and personal experience that can engage multiple senses From the initial mailbox experience, when the consumer touches and feels the package and makes a decision to engage, it is a living and breathing channel. 

According to Nahan’s Executive Creative Director, Mike Dietz, “Evoking emotion through tactile components like paper weight, texture and treatments is a major driving force behind every successful direct mail campaign. It’s the key to creating a lasting impression and influencing consumer behavior.” By leveraging the power of emotion, marketers can create a memorable experience that resonates with recipients long after the mail has been opened. 

The Role of Resonating Copy 

The written word holds immense power to evoke emotions and shape perceptions. In direct mail, resonating copy acts as a catalyst to provoke an emotional response from the recipient. It goes beyond merely conveying information; it aims to captivate, inspire, and persuade. 

“In direct mail, words are more than ink on paper. They have the potential to connect with readers on a personal level, driving them to take action,” says Mike Dietz.

By crafting compelling and relatable copy, marketers can tap into the desires, fears, and aspirations of the target audience, creating an emotional bond that drives engagement. 

Let’s think about a credit card example. When students are going off to college, it is a prime time for credit card companies to target them with student credit card offers with low interest rates and tempting rewards. The emotional direction a direct mailer uses to target college students considering a credit card is different from a high-salary professional who might be seeking a high credit limit. With direct mail, marketers can create highly personalized messaging that speaks to them. 

By harnessing the power of four-color variable data printing, marketers can create unique 1:1 messaging to consumers. The internal components of a direct mail piece allows the marketer to create a journey unlike any other channel, with the ability to utilize a large variety of configurations to address barriers, develop relevant messaging tone that is focused exclusively on the individual consumer. Dietz says, “The ability to combine actionable data inputs and dynamic 4 color digital technology allows marketers to leverage direct mail to create a unique 1:1 experience.” 

Consumer influence

Creating Emotional Connections 

Harvard Professor, Gerald Zaltman, says that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. To create emotional connections, direct mail campaigns must be rooted in a deep understanding of the target audience. You must know who you are trying to reach before you write anything. Market research and customer insights are essential in developing resonating copy that strikes a chord with recipients. By identifying the pain points, aspirations, and motivations of the target market, marketers can tailor their messaging to elicit specific emotional responses and respond positively to the call to action. Here comes the advantage of variable data printing again. 

Let’s think of the example of life insurance. A consumer cares about his or her family and wants them to be financially stable in the event of their passing. This is partially an emotion-based decision. Direct mailers can appeal to that desire not to leave behind familial financial strains. How a marketer appeals to that desire in the copy affects the consumer’s reaction.  

Leveraging Emotional Triggers 

Different emotions can be leveraged strategically in direct mail campaigns to achieve specific goals. For instance, a sense of urgency can be invoked through time-limited offers or exclusive discounts. Fear of missing out can drive recipients to take immediate action, ensuring a higher response rate. On the other hand, appeals to happiness, joy, or nostalgia can create positive associations with a brand or product, fostering long-term loyalty. By aligning the emotional tone with the desired outcome, marketers can increase the effectiveness of their direct mail campaigns and drive meaningful results. 

Measuring Success and Iterating 

The effectiveness of direct mail campaigns can be measured through various metrics, such as response rate, conversion rate, or customer lifetime value. By analyzing these metrics, marketers can gauge the impact of their emotional appeals and resonating copy. It is essential to track and evaluate the campaign’s performance to understand what worked and what can be improved upon in future iterations. 

 “Direct mail campaigns should be seen as an iterative process. By learning from data and feedback, we can refine our messaging to better connect with our audience’s emotions and achieve greater success, says Mike Dietz.


Emotions play a crucial role in decision-making, and direct mail has the capacity to evoke those emotions in personalized and tangible ways that digital can’t live up to. Through empathy and understanding of the target audience, marketers can create copy that resonates on a personal level, building strong emotional connections. 

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What Is Zero-Party Data?


Author: Camille Rosa, Senior Marketing Specialist

All marketers know….data is king. And lately there’s been a new type of data sitting on the throne, known as zero-party data. If you don’t closely follow the data landscape, this is likely a new term you’ve heard floating around, unsure of its meaning for marketers. With the state of the market today, zero-party data is a crucial tool that all marketers should become familiar with. 

Changing Consumer Behavior  

It’s no surprise that consumers are becoming more concerned about their data and how it’s being used. With fears of data breaches or invasive data tracking, consumers are more wary than ever of how their data is collected.  

At the same time, consumers want a personalized shopping experience – one that makes product recommendations based on their interests and doesn’t just blindly advertise to them. Can consumers have the best of both worlds – data privacy and a personalized advertising experience?  

This is where zero-party data enters the chat.  

What Is Zero-Party Data? 

Zero-Party data is relatively new to the data scene. Forrester Research coined the term in 2018, defining it as “data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a business.” It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal contexts, and data on how an individual wants to be recognized by the brand.” 

Instead of relying on tracking consumers, zero-party data allows consumers to voluntarily offer personal data to a brand. In exchange, consumers are expecting their freely given information to improve their shopping experience.  

Let’s go over some examples of questions brands might ask to gather zero-party data: 

  • “Tell us about your most recent shopping experience with us.” 
  • “How much does sustainability impact your purchasing decisions?” 
  • “What problem does this product/service help you solve?” 
  • “What are some of your hobbies?” 
  • “Do you prefer one email per week or one every two weeks?” 

How do brands capture the answers to these questions? 

  • Pop-up windows  
  • Opt-in forms 
  • Social media prompt questions 
  • User profiles 
  • Polls, quizzes, and surveys 


How Does Zero-Party Data Fit into the Data Landscape? 

Zero-Party Data – This type of data is voluntarily given by the consumer and thus requires no inference or analysis to determine its meaning.  

First-Party Data – This type of data comes from consumer information such as tracked website activity, purchase history, or contact information to make educated assumptions about the consumer’s interests. First-party data is a highly accurate source, but still requires analysis, unlike zero-party data. 

Second-Party Data – This type of data is another company’s first-party data that is received via some type of partnership. The same type of information as first-party data is collected, but it’s not directly from the first source. 

Third-Party Data – This type of data is bought from an outside source that is not the original collector. 


Zero-party data


Death of Third-Party Cookies 

As consumer data tracking has become more regulated and privacy concerns have grown, third-party cookies have become phased out by several companies, including Firefox and Safari. Google is set to have them fully phased out by 2024. 

What does this mean for marketers? Privacy will remain a concern for consumers. Now is the time to begin collecting data in other consent-based methods, such as zero-party data. 

Using Zero-Party Data in Your Marketing  

One sure-fire way to grow revenue is to show consumers products and services that are tailored to their interests. It’s a no brainer, right? Brands have been doing it for years.  

Not only is zero-party data the way of the future, but it is also more accurate as it comes explicitly from the consumer. When used in combination with first-party data, marketers can gain extremely valuable insights into the desires of consumers, ultimately offering them a better brand experience with less controversial data methods.  

Now is the time to do an audit of how you are collecting your data and how you’re making the data work for you.  

Learn more about our data services and how we provide prospect leads by utilizing multiple data sources and generating predictive models here. 


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