Insights from Polaris Direct

What’s in Your Mailbox? Part 1: Looking Back at the Hottest Direct Mail Trends

With a new year underway, Polaris Direct is on a continued mission to find new and better ways to serve our direct marketing customers. We find that looking at past trends is a great way to learn how to improve in the future, so we saved some of our favorite pieces of mail over the […]

With a new year underway, Polaris Direct is on a continued mission to find new and better ways to serve our direct marketing customers. We find that looking at past trends is a great way to learn how to improve in the future, so we saved some of our favorite pieces of mail over the last year, so we could analyze and report on our findings to you.

Hottest Direct Mail Trends of 2018
Here’s a summary of what we found to be some of the hottest direct mail trends of 2018:

1. Good things come in unique packages.

Why send a great direct mail offer in a plain white envelope? Nothing says “boring” like a white envelope with an unfamiliar return address or company name. In 2018, we saw all kinds of fun flair being added to direct mail envelopes.

Over the last year, we saw more teaser copy on envelopes and vibrant imagery covering what would otherwise be plain white space. We noticed an increased use of silver and gold metallics in particular. In addition to bright, eye-catching background colors and graphics, we also saw envelopes with full-color bleeds, for a more powerful effect. Metallic inks were used frequently to highlight the teaser copy as well.

Many brands were also playing around with unique textures. Some envelopes came with raised text, while others came with a soft touch coating, making it hard to throw these extravagant direct mail campaigns away. As a whole, the envelope has become a bigger part of the direct mail package and provides an additional canvas for creating an impact on the recipient.

2. Who says all postcards must look the same?

The standard postcard isn’t likely to stand out in your mailbox any longer. Postcards typically come in a standard shape and size, but what’s so special about that?

In 2018, we saw postcards come in a variety of sizes and shapes. For example, longer rectangles, oversized postcards, and even ones with die-cuts were found in our mailbox last year.

Many postcards also came with lift and reveal features to make them a little more enticing. One thing’s for sure — 2018 postcards were anything but ordinary.

3. Who says direct mail campaigns can’t be fun?

Maybe that’s what direct mail has been missing in the past — a little bit of fun. We’ve seen a lot more fun in our mailbox this past year. Letters and inserts have featured unique and dynamic fold patterns, making the whole experience of opening each piece of the package exciting and engaging.

In addition to lift and reveal features, we also saw special offer cards and coupons affixed to letters, postcards, and self-mailers. Some were held on with clean release or easy-to-peel “glue”, while others could be popped out or cut out of the page. No matter how these cards are included, they sure make it more interactive and fun to open the mail!

4. Hurry! These offers end today! Limited! Special!

Limited time offers are hard to resist. A long tested call-to-action, limited time offers continue to show up in the mail because they work! Whether it’s soon to expire, or limited to the first 50 recipients to redeem them, these offers generate response. What’s more enticing than knowing you’re competing for the best deal?

5. Get more bang for your buck with self-mailers.

Getting the intended recipient’s attention is the most important part of your campaign, but who says you can’t kill two birds with one stone? When done right, adding self-mailers to your campaign can help spread your message even further. Be sure your self-mailer stands out by using powerful imagery and personalization to help minimize the risk of getting lost in the shuffle.

6. Personalization is the new black.

And last, but not least, we saw significantly higher levels of personalization in mailings this past year. Not only were brands addressing recipients by name, but they also used personalized imagery, as well as dynamic content, to offer relevant messaging to each individual. Gone are the days of addressing the “current resident” at his address.

Want to know what to expect in 2019? Read What’s in Your Mailbox? Part 2: Direct Mail Trend Predictions for 2019. In the meantime, visit our blog, follow us on social media, and remember to check back regularly for new insights.

Need help marketing your products or services? Polaris Direct offers direct mail, print, and strategic marketing services to help your business get in front of the right audience. Contact us today to learn more.


About the author: Lisa Leslie is a Copywriter for Polaris Direct, a nationally acclaimed high-volume direct marketing services company in Hooksett, NH. A skilled writer and creative thinker, Lisa works to uncover authentic and inspiring brand stories to create content that drives customer engagement. Throughout her professional career, she has filled a variety of roles, ranging from marketing administration and project management to digital marketing consulting and content development. In each role, Lisa has remained committed to helping brands tell their stories in ways that capture audiences and encourage customer loyalty. Her intuitive listening skills, broad experience, and talent for writing make her a unique and valuable asset to the Polaris Direct team.