2021 Direct Mail Marketing Trends

Direct Mail Marketing Trends

A new year brings new trends in direct mail marketing. At Aspen Automotive, we aim to keep you ahead of the marketing curve, which is why we’ve created this guide to the 2021 direct mail marketing trends.Curious to learn more about what you can expect this year? Keep reading!

1). Expect More Personalization

Direct Mail Marketing Trends

Personalization was always one thing that sets direct mail apart from digital marketing. It was always easier to fine tune physical mail based on geo-location, credit score, and other demographic categories that could lead to higher returns on investment (ROIs).

In 2021, it’s expected that personalization will no longer be a suggestion and will become more of a necessity with direct mail marketing. It’s recommended that instead of mass printing the same mailer, it’s better to customize each mailer to the recipient.

2). Promotional Discounts at the Post Office

If you haven’t already started experimenting with merging your direct mail with other channels, now’s the time to do so. It’s said that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is offering a 2 percent discount for mailers that incorporate new and emerging marketing technologies.1

Types of emerging marketing that these promotions apply to include:

  • Personalized Color Transpromo
  • Emerging and Advanced Technology
  • Informed Delivery®
  • Mobile Shopping

These promotions are run throughout the year, so you’ll want to stay current on each month’s promotional period.

3). Think Outside the Box: Overcome Screen Fatigue

Direct Mail Marketing Trends

With many individuals moving to a work-from-home environment in 2020, many are in need of offline engagement to overcome screen fatigue. Your dealership should think of ways to use direct mail marketing to get individuals away from their screens.

Think of physical ways you can market to them, like participatory campaigns. At-home test drives or mobile service appointments are a great way to send out direct mail campaigns that will get individuals away from their screens and physically interacting with your dealership.

4). Incorporate Sensory Experiences

With a discount on tactile, sensory, and interactive engagement through USPS from February through July, now’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate sensory experiences into your direct mail marketing campaign. This type of marketing uses as many of the five senses as possible with the goal of encouraging longer physical interaction with your mailer.

Some ways you can achieve this are through:

  • Post-it notes
  • Magnets
  • Pens

Now’s also the perfect time to experiment with different colors, types of paper, and ink types.

5). Double Down on Data Solutions

Direct Mail Marketing Trends

There’s a chance that 2020 altered your marketing list. There was a positive trend in car buying throughout most of 2020, leading experts to believe that people who may have previously taken public transportation or used ride shares decided to purchase a vehicle to limit their exposure to other people.2

With more people looking for vehicles and in need of service, now’s the perfect time to double down on data solutions to fine tune your marketing list. You may see that there are now more car owners within a certain radius of your dealership, or more first-time car buyers who need extra help with the necessary steps to keep their vehicle healthy for longer.

6). Shorter Direct Mail

Whether because of printing costs or to make viewing your mailer easier than ever, trends show a decrease in both word count and included pages for direct mailers.

Average number of words per mailer:

  • Postcards (2000/2021): 313/199 words per mailer3
  • Letter (2000/2021): 1,538/550 words per mailer3

One cause for this decrease is because of marketers thinking outside the box and coming up with new ways to present information without words. The use of images, graphics, and icons is a great way to visually represent the information you want to share without taking up extra space.

After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Let the images on your mailer say more with less.

7). Use of Interactive Mail

Direct Mail Marketing Trends

Just because you’re creating a direct mail campaign doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate digital elements into your mailer. The use of QR codes is predicted to increase for 2021.

QR codes are a way for recipients to scan a custom box with their smartphone. Typically, this code will send them to a custom website that touches more on the information included on the mailer.

Another way you can incorporate interactive direct mail into your campaign is through a loyalty program. Chances are, these programs will encourage your customers to make return trips to your dealership, so they can receive additional goodies that are exclusive to loyalty program members.

8). Triggered Direct Mail

One direct mail component you’ll want to incorporate in your direct mail campaign, according to trends, is triggered direct mail.

As the name suggests, this type of mail is automatically generated and sent to a recipient when a certain action is taken. For example, if a website visitor clicks to learn more about a particular model in your inventory, this could ignite a chain of events.

Perhaps this sends the potential buyer a list of features offered with the model they selected. Maybe this sends an alert to generate a pre-approval form based on their data. Either way, when a visitor performs a certain action on your website, it automatically triggers a direct mailer that correlates with the action.

9). Increased Response Rates

With more people spending time at home due to COVID-19, the response rate for direct mail increased in 2020. In 2021, marketing experts predict these response rates will continue to rise.

It’s already estimated that direct mail response rates are five to nine times higher than other forms of advertising, so direct mail is the way to go.

To put this statistic into perspective, the average response rate for prospect lists was 4.9 percent in 2020.4 With this number expected to stay the same, if not continue to rise, you can expect more responses to your mailers in 2021.

10). More Use of Informed Delivery®

Direct Mail Marketing Trends

Touching more on the use of digital marketing with your direct mailer, you can expect to see more consumers taking advantage of Informed Delivery® in 2021.

For those who don’t know, Informed Delivery® is a way for recipients to preview their mail using their smartphone. This lets them get a better understanding of what they can expect in the mail each day, even when they’re away on vacation.

Since Informed Delivery® can only generate a preview of the front and back of a standard letter-sized mailer, you may want to adjust your design accordingly. Make sure any important information is visible with your mailer.

Due to this trend, you may want to focus more on the use of postcards—since no information is hidden—rather than envelopes, which can conceal information.

How Aspen Automotive Can Help

Now that you have a better idea of the 2021 direct mail marketing trends, you may be unsure which trend to incorporate first. Luckily, our team is here to help.

Not only have our marketing experts compiled this list of expected trends, they’re also eager to help you get the most out of your next campaign. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry and successes with over 10,000 dealerships of all sizes, we’re eager to help you plan and manage a successful direct mail campaign.

One thing that sets our team apart from others is that we’ll remain by your side throughout the entirety of the campaign. From the moment you’re ready to start a campaign, until you’re ready to track results, we’re here to help.

Let’s take a closer look at all the ways we can help!

Data Solutions

Direct mail marketing trendsYou have the perfect idea for your next direct mail campaign. Now, you need to ensure the right people view your mailer. Think about it: you don’t want to send a mailer advertising a new vehicle to someone who just purchased a car. In addition, you don’t want to send a loyalty mailer to a prospective shopper.

Our team can assist with data solutions, so you get the most out of your campaign.

We have access to several automotive data solution programs, such as:

  • Aspen SureDrive Data: Used to identify the specific make, model, and year of vehicle an individual drives, as well as that person’s purchase data and type—like whether they bought or leased their car.
  • Real Time Credit Score Data: Used to get the most updated credit score from several credible sources, such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  • Autoproval: Used to send pre-approved financing information to individuals with a selected credit score range.

By using our automotive data solutions, you can rest assured the right people are viewing your mailer.


Direct mail marketing trendsNow that you know your mailer will land in the hands of the right people, it’s time to work with our award-winning design team to create a mailer that’ll stand out from everything else in the mailbox.

All of our mailers are completely customizable, so they can match the look and feel of your dealership, which helps build better brand awareness. Our in-house design team will combine their expertise and creativity to decide on format and negative space with your dealership ideas to make a unique mailer you’ll feel good about.

Our design team can also help determine if specialty mailers—such as interactive and sensory pieces—will be beneficial for your campaign.


Direct mail market trendsThe final step before your mailers are sent to the targeted recipients is printing, sealing, and stamping. All this and more can be completed at our in-house production studio. Our studio consists of all the equipment needed to not only print your mailer, but to get it ready for the post office too.

Having an in-house production studio is beneficial for several reasons, including:

  • High-quality assurance
  • Fast turnarounds
  • Time-saving and added convenience

Most print jobs have a turnaround time of 72 hours after receiving design approval. This means that you’re likely to reap the benefits of your campaign sooner than if production was done elsewhere.

Get Help with Your 2021 Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns

With so many new trends to look forward to in 2021, let the automotive marketing experts at Aspen Automotive incorporate these trends into your direct mail campaigns this year. Partner with us and see the results.

Ready to get started? Simply give us a call or send us an email today!

  1. https://www.mailing.com/blog/direct-mail-trends-guide/#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20the%20promotions%20will,Personalized%20Color%20Transpromo
  2. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/08/millennials-are-buying-covid-cars/615325/
  3. https://www.whosmailingwhat.com/blog/direct-mail-trends-2021/#:~:text=Coordinated%20online%20%26%20offline%20advertising,is%20a%20multi%2Dpronged%20approach
  4. https://www.fundera.com/resources/direct-mail-statistics#:~:text=that%20interest%20them.-,Direct%20mail%20open%20rates%20can%20reach%20up%20to%2090%25.,lists%20was%204.9%25%20last%20year