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May 2009
Print in the Mix

Use of Direct Mail Works for Retailers

Every two years since 1997, Vertis Communications has conducted a survey to determine the trends and changes in consumer readership and use of retail direct marketing. The latest (2008) findings show that consumers have become more receptive to direct mail to seek information and obtain the best value—proving that direct mail is an effective medium for retailers to connect with customers.

Some of the survey findings:

Three of four participants (76 percent) state they read direct mail received from retailers. Women, ages 35-49, are the heaviest readers (86 percent), while men, ages 50+, are the lightest readers (65 percent). Readership of retail direct mail has increased among women of all age groups. The largest increase in retail direct mail readership for both men and women is in the 35-49 age groups.

Group / 2003 / 2009

Men 18-34 — 65% / 67%
Men 35-49 — 64% / 77%
Men 50+ — 68% / 65%

Women 18-34 — 76% / 79%
Women 35-49 — 70% / 86%
Women 50+ — 75% / 78%

Retail direct mail messages that participants say they have responded to:

Message / Total Adults
Coupons — 71%
Buy one, get one free — 71%
Single item discount — 63%
Percent off — 59%
Gift card — 52%
Everyday lowest price — 37%
Grand opening — 36%
Gift with purchase 34%
Consumer tips — 29%
Loyalty card offer — 26%
Event invitation — 23%
None of these — 8%

Reasons why direct mail participants open direct mail pieces:

Reason /  Total Adults
Arrival timing of the piece coincided with need for the service/product — 67%
Consumer’s name on the front of the envelope — 66%
The package looks interesting — 60%
A special offer or discount — 54%
The package looks important — 52%
Feel something in the package — 51%
A free gift or token inside — 42%
Dated material enclosed — 35%
None of these — 5%

To read this fast fact and additional print market research studies, go to Print in the Mix is a free and easily accessible clearinghouse of research on print media effectiveness, published by the Printing Industry Center at RIT and made possible by a grant from The Print Council (
Two promotions have been announced at Baltimore-based Vertis Communications. Jeff Pritchett has been named vice president of finance and treasurer. David Glogoff has been promoted to chief legal officer and will also serve as secretary for Vertis’ board of directors.



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