Direct Mail Success: Rethinking the 40-40-20 Rule

For many, many years experts have preached that the secret to direct mail success lay in following the revered “40-40-20 Rule”: 40 percent of a direct mailing’s success is dependent upon the list; 40 percent of the success comes from the offer; and 20 percent of the success is due to the creative. Does that old axiom still hold true in the digital age, or has it gone the way of the fax machine and the 22-cent stamp? From our perspective, the logic of the 40-40-20 Rule is still sound. But if you’re using direct mail to market your business,

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  • Shelley Sweeney

    In the end, the key to successful direct marketing has always been personalization. Each and every one of the components listed in this article can directly relate to relevancy: target your list; offer your end-user something you know they want or need; apply your creativity, but make it “click”; and give an accessible action. A well-designed, creative, innovative piece can drive a connection between a brand and a consumer, increasing their loyalty and possibly gaining new ambassadors. So, apply these components, make it personalized, connect with consumers on a unique level and your message will stand out amongst the clutter. – Shelley Sweeney, VP/GM Service Bureau/Direct Mail Sectors, Xerox