The perennial power of the printed word

May 2017


importance of direct mail general election

The perennial power of the printed word

Yet another general election approaches, and there’s one thing that all parties agree upon: the importance of direct mail and doordrop media. While many electioneering approaches have come and gone, from pledge cards to the infamous ‘Edstone’, you can bet your bottom dollar direct mail and doordrop media will play a role in the 2017 General Election campaign.

Why? Because direct mail and doordrop media are incredibly effective. In the 2015 General Election the Conservatives targeted just 200,000 people in one hundred marginal constituencies using data-modelling which enabled them to engage and influence voters who were undecided. Similar strategies were used in the 2016 EU Referendum - in conjunction with their online campaigns, Vote Leave printed and delivered over ten million leaflets to the homes of undecided voters in the final few days before 23rd June, a move which many believe was influential in the outcome.

How is direct marketing still so effective? With the proliferation of digital marketing mediums, the average person is now exposed to thousands of ads every single day. Of course, most of this messaging is simply forgotten and ignored. The sheer quantity of advertising means that consumers have developed banner blindness or downloaded sophisticated adblockers ensuring that a lot of targeted digital content is deflected. Direct mail and doordrops are far more difficult to ignore. The immediate physical presence means that it has to be engaged with and considered. Studies over the last few years have shown that people internalise printed material far more profoundly than they do digital content.

Although digital advertising spend has grown, its downside is that organisations with very large advertising budgets appear to be willing to accept that a lot of their digital ad spending will be wasted. However, ambitious marketers with a specific consumer base in mind should consider the impact and that direct mail and doordrops can offer when planned together; meaning that their budgets work harder to deliver highly effective campaigns.

If you know your audience and the specific messaging that you want to communicate in your leaflet, catalogue or customer newsletter, here are some key benefits:

Direct Mail

  • It’s far less transient than all other forms of communication and is likely to be re-read and passed on rather than discarded. Your target audience can read through the material in their own time and at their own pace.
  • Seeing their name physically printed has been proven to strongly appeal to consumers.
  • It allows you to specify the exact demographic and geography of your campaign.
  • It provides accurate measurable results. You know how many pieces have been distributed, how often, and at what cost. From this you know your exact ROI and response rate to your campaign.


Doordrop Media

  • It’s highly targeted.
  • It has a national reach.
  • Consumers are able to engage with it on their terms at home.
  • Profiling and targeting make it a cost-effective media choice, reducing wastage while yielding high recall and brand familiarity.
  • It can be integrated into other multi-media campaigns and helps to drive acquisition by enabling advertisers to reach the right people with the right offer at the right time.
  • It can deepen brand engagement through the inclusion of samples, recipes, trackable coupons or other relevant offers encouraging people to trial your products.
  • It’s versatile, it can take multiple formats from bespoke die-cut, to premium stock to stand-out design.


At Whistl, we collect, sort, and process 26% of all the UK's mail with flexible and reliable solutions. We’re also the market leader in doordrop media and audience targeting services.

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