34 Predictions for Direct Mail Trends in 2020

By Brianna Valleskey on December 12, 2019

What direct mail trends does 2020 have in store? Continued growth for direct mail marketing as a channel and sending as a strategy, according to the industry leaders we polled. 

Direct mail trends from this year included integrating sending strategies like direct mail and corporate gifting into marketing, sales, and customer engagement, as well as a increase in overall sending: Data from hundreds of Sendoso customers across the globe showed that businesses increased the number of direct mail items sent by 66% year over year in 2018. 

The research also showed that postcards are no longer the most popular item to send. Instead, companies spent more time and money on sending unique items like custom dimensional packages, personalized gifts, handwritten notes, perishables like wine and sweet treats, eGift cards for coffee and lunch, and much more. 

With innovations like Sendoso, which allow businesses to automate and measure the ROI of their sending campaigns, we can expect to see some interesting direct mail trends in 2020. 

Here’s what the experts said: 

Predictions for Direct Mail Trends in 2020

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #1:

“I see direct mail being entrusted at the rep level in 2020 and beyond. Right now it’s very much managed and executed by marketing, but I’m beginning to see marketing teams supply reps with budgets and guidelines and let them manage their own sending programs as part of their outreach/engagement sequences.“

– Max Altschuler (@HackItMax), VP Marketing at Outreach.io

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #2: 

“Direct mail will continue to grow as a channel and a means to create a personalized experience at scale. Moving forward, more and more teams like customer success, people operations, and sales will leverage direct mail to reach the audience they want in a unique way. This is just the beginning.” 

– Mariza Mendelez (@marizaemelendez), Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing at Lever 

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #3: 

“Direct mail made major inroads in B2B enterprise marketing in 2017-19 mostly via ABM. In 2020, direct mail will go mainstream in B2B. Meaning more utility in broader demand generation tactics, more investment in swag, technology, and people, i.e. ’direct mail marketing manager’ titles will become a thing.”

– Brad Zomick (@Brad_Zee), VP of Demand Generation at Degreed

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #4: 

“I predict direct mail will 10X in importance for sales and marketing professionals as it cuts through the clutter of emails/social media. I count on it to connect with high-value prospects and build brand awareness with my biggest clients.”

– George Leith (@geoleith), CRO at Vendasta 

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #5: 

“Companies will look to consolidate prospect gifting and employee branded gifting into one program to drive brand synergy.“ 

– Sydney Sloan (@sydsloan), CMO at SalesLoft

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #6: 

“As leading-edge marketers soon learn and can effectively measure the value of direct mail & gifting, we will see a resurgence of this tactic largely via account-based marketing (ABM) tactics that drive effective relationship development with prospects & customers.”

– Matthew Langie, CMO at XANT (@XANT_AI)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #7: 

“History repeats itself. In a modern era where executives are constantly inundated with emails, calls and social spam, direct mailers will make the difference to return to the sales roots of relationship building and personalization.“

– Frank Pinder, Chief Innovation Officer at InsideOut (@InsideOutLab)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #8: 

“Marketing will start to influence the use of direct mail, gifting and swag management organization-wide. Marketers that are already doing this for their sales, customer and human resources teams will now be able to demonstrate the value of the programs they have championed and start to make these programmatic across the organization via modern methods such as sending platforms and integrations into key systems.”

– Dan Frohnen (@DanielFrohnen), CMO at Sendoso

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #9: 

“Gifts will get more sustainable.”

– Jennifer Dimas (@jenpwkboxer), CMO at Gigster

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #10 

“Personalized gifts will enable companies to break through the noise and stand out with customers and prospects.”

Cody Ward (@CodyMWard), Sr. Director of Demand & Marketing Operations at Integrate

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #11

“2020 will see direct mail grow from strength to strength. Cutting through the ‘digital noise’ and using new and innovative ways to engage with your customers and prospects will be key in the coming year. Those companies that really let their imagination go and deliver personalized and contextualized messaging will see their investment rewarded.” 

– Declan Mulkeen (@DeclanMulkeen), CMO at Strategic IC

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #12: 

“Direct mail will be a tool used more and more in the world of prospecting. It’s an unexpected touch that people appreciate. Direct mail works well in tandem with more conventional outreach (cold calls, emails, LinkedIn, events, etc).”

– Matthew Kelly, Head of Sales Development – Americas at Dynamic Yield (@DynamicYield)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #13: 

“More companies will start doing fully integrated campaigns that include direct mail instead of just using it as a tactic. This will involve incorporating things like triggered sends into every day work streams.”

– Sara Schonfeld (@sarajschonfeld), Sr. Marketing Strategist at Cornerstone OnDemand

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #14: 

“That we’ll double our responses now that we have Sendoso!”

– Amanda Collette, Sr. Marketing Manager at Workhuman (@Workhuman)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #15: 

“I have a feeling that it’s going to become a standard of most enterprise sales teams in all industries!”

– Ned Pruitt (@nedp_eventbrite), Campaign Marketing Specialist at Eventbrite 

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #16:

“As organizations implement advanced technology to corral emails and block ads, high-touch, personalized product information sent via direct mail becomes even more important to create brand awareness and generate new opportunities within buying teams.”

– Colleen Jackson, Marketing Manager for Account-Based Marketing at Anaplan (@anaplan)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #17: 

“I expect more marketers in 2020 will employ a ‘double funnel’ strategy that combines lead-based and account-based funnels. People will also deliver more personalized gifting to their highest-value accounts (ABM-focused sends) while volume programs (demand gen-focused) will leverage automation to 1) identify the right people and timing when they are in market, 2) ensure highly relevant, timely and multi-step follow-up, and 3) prove ROI at every stage of each funnel.”

– Sandra Freeman (@SandraKFreeman), Vice President of ABM and Corporate Marketing at Engagio 

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #18: 

“I think that direct mail is one of the forms of traditional media which will actually see an increase in use in 2020. Many digital marketing channels are becoming so oversaturated with brands that the demand outweighs the supply, causing cost-per-click rates to reach levels unprofitable for many brands. For this reason, many brands are experimenting with traditional forms of media like direct mail, which can be tested at small-scale for low cost.”

– Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs (@Illuminate_Labs)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #19: 

“More llamas and sloths.”

– Meagen Eisenberg (@meisenberg), CMO at TripActions

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #20: 

“Gifts are going to be increasingly tailored to the recipient. The days of generic cookie boxes are numbered.”

– Jack Schuth, Marketing Business Operations at Anaplan (@anaplan)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #21: 

“We’ll see more synchronization of direct mail campaigns with Facebook ads (carousel and video) so they appear before, during and after the direct mail package has arrived … for multiple touches of the same theme.”

– Josh C. Manheimer (@JCMANHEIMER1), Direct Mail Copywriter/Creative Director at J.C. Manheimer & Company 

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #22: 

“It will only become more prevalent. That being said, we will need to figure out creative ways to break through the noise given that more people are catching on to direct mail.”

– Sarah Tosh (@S_Harbison), Sr. Director of ABM at Sigstr

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #23: 

“It’s only going to grow; and across many different industries, verticals and geographies.”

– Lars Nilsson (@LarsNilsson65), CEO of SalesSource

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #24: 

“It’s going more personal and more quality over quantity. Direct mail is on an upswing again after years of underuse, especially for certain roles and industries. Like most channels, those who employ a highly relevant and high-quality approach will stand out.”

– Amy Holtzman (@AHoltzman), SVP of Marketing at AlphaSense

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #25

“We are going to expand our direct mail campaigns on a global scale this upcoming year. We are excited to build very specific messaging in partnership with our direct mailers that match our target audiences.”

– Alex Cox, Global Marketing Campaigns & Frame Marketing Lead at Nutanix (@nutanix)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #26: 

“With the continuing focus on ABM, this will only become more important.”

– Annette Obermeier, VP of Marketing at Smartling (@smartling) 

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #27: 

“Direct mail will be more personalized and creative than ever. It will be an essential step in bringing coveted leads to sales communication.”

– Nikki Raber, Digital Strategist at Integrate (@integrate)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #28: 

“Direct mail is a great way to engage but marketers will start to look for ways to extend that engagement beyond opening the box. The best way I’ve seen this done is a simple CTA offering premium hand-picked content for that account. Creating a dedicated stream of personalized content shows your company can service the buyer and ensure for them that there’s more than presents that await as a customer.“

– Randy Frisch (@randyfrisch), CMO at Uberflip

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #29: 

“We have seen the likes of cakes, canvases, and bobbleheads with the recipient’s likeness on them… I see this going even bigger in 2020!”

– Peter Tarrant, ABM Manager at Tipalti (@tipalti)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #30: 

“I predict that sales leaders will make time slots to brainstorm with marketing and with their reps on the right gifts and mail for customers and future customers. The day of bulk swag is (hopefully) done. Give people what they want, which will create less waste and more meaning.”

– Lori Richardson (@scoremoresales), CEO at Score More Sales

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #31: 

“We’ll see gender-neutral and sustainable items.”

– Katie Dunn, Event Marketing Manager at RollWorks (@rollworks)

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #32: 

“2020 will be the year trade show swag begins a slow death and a sudden rebirth. Spearheaded by Salesforce banning swag giveaways at Dreamforce 2020, conference organizers and attendees will be forced to rethink event marketing strategies. In the wake of a swag-less Dreamforce, marketers will turn to tools that allow for sending swag before and after tradeshows, rather than during.”

– Nick Casale (@nicklcasale), Sales Manager at Sendoso

Direct Mail Trends 2020 Prediction #33: 

“Thoughtful, creative items will return 10X the results of branded stock items.”

– Rex Biberston, Co-founder and COO of The Sales Developers (@SalesDevelopers)

Thanks for checking out these predictions for direct mail trends in 2020! Want to learn how you can start sending and shape the direct mail trends of 2020? Schedule time with one of our sending experts by clicking here or the image below.

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