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! 

NEMOA Spring Summit Takeaways: 4 Trends to Watch in 2021

Author: Krista Black, Group Account Director

I had the pleasure of participating in the NEMOA (National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America) Spring Summit last week. As you can imagine, attending a trade show looks a little different these days, with visiting booths, attending seminars and networking all done virtually. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the event was run and how impactful the content was even though it was presented under different conditions. I found myself wondering if trade shows might maintain some of this new approach in the future even when a higher level of normalcy returns – a hybrid model where attendees could choose to participate in-person or online – or a combination of the two.

This thread of the “new normal” went beyond how the conference was run. It was woven into much of the content – the trends and predictions for our industry for the year ahead – predictions of a permanent shift in consumers’ behaviors as well as strategies to reach them.

Here are a few of my favorite COVID-inspired trends to watch from the 2021 NEMOA Spring Summit:

1. Resurgence of Mail

While mail volumes declined during the beginning of the pandemic, over 2/3 of Americans continue to collect their mail EVERY. DAY. Additionally, 77% of Americans indicate that they have a high interest in receiving mail and 50% of Millennials surveyed see mail as being more important than it was three years ago1. Meanwhile, packages from online shopping orders were delivered to doorsteps in record numbers, training us to check the doorstep and the mailbox more than ever before to retrieve them. As more and more brands re-enter the mail channel, they can benefit from these newly formed routines.

2. Test and Learn Mindset

In these times of rapidly changing consumer behavior, marketers must be nimble in terms of channel strategy, target, offers, and creative. A test and learn mindset is more critical than ever and will continue to remain imperative to helping marketers determine what’s working, what’s not, and what changes need to be made.

3. Rise of Social Commerce2

Consumers are buying directly from digital ads on social platforms at incredible rates, helping fuel a 33% year-over-year increase in ecommerce sales2. Thanks to Elizabeth Drori, Chief Marketing Officer at Sperry, for introducing me to the phrase, “thumb-stopping content” when describing how to capture attention and engage your audience when designing social content. Thumb-stopping content has lured me in many times; I’ve purchased everything from snacks to socks while scrolling through Instagram. But of course, social ads are only one piece of the puzzle – by aligning social ad strategy together with mail, we can fuel increased interaction and purchase behavior beyond what either channel can do alone. In the future, these channels will continue to become more interwoven.

4. Getting Real with Your Audience

The pandemic forced many brands to share their story differently during Covid shutdowns when travel, photo shoots, and large-scale productions were brought to a grinding halt. The silver lining? Many brands found new ways to connect with their audience, often leveraging user generated content to deliver an authentic brand message. With the shiny veneer of high production brand assets removed from the equation, smart brands were able to connect with audiences in new and more “real” way and “humanize” their brands.

Our team invites the opportunity to connect with you to strategize on these trends and to talk through your direct marketing strategies now and into the future. Reach out to us to schedule a time to chat.


1Engaging with Customers in the Time of COVID, United States Postal Service

2How you succeed in an environment of rapid consumer behavior change, Oracle

Bio: Krista is our Group Account Director and brings over 15 years of marketing and agency experience. She and her husband have two children. Krista enjoys volunteering as a manager for her daughters’ dance teams, spending time with family, and watching reality TV.