Political Direct Mail Isn't the Dinosaur in the Room

Political Direct Mail

Political Direct Mail Isn't the Dinosaur in the Room

Not long ago, I was at a happy hour and someone asked me what I did. I ran through my usual, "I do political direct mail and online advertising for progressives," and the response I got was incredulity (always fun when one's livelihood inspires that kind of reaction): "Snail mail? Does that even work anymore?" So without further ado, I give you a defense of political direct mail.

Checking the mail is still a daily ritual for many Americans. While a lot of younger Americans are both transient and more attentive to the world of online communications, there’s a whole generation of people who still pay attention to their mailboxes. It just so happens that older Americans also tend to be more consistent, frequent voters – these are people you want in your corner come Election Day, and political direct mail gives you a good shot at catching their attention.

Mail may seem banal, but it actually has the potential to stand out from the crowd. Even if you’re targeting a universe that checks their mailboxes and reads at least some of their mail, there’s no guarantee that your campaign mail will get any real time or attention from a voter. First, I’d point out that there’s never a guarantee that people will take the time to consume your message, no matter the medium. That said, if you put time into creating something that looks inviting, something that steps outside the traditional mail box (get it?!), I guarantee that your political direct mail will do its job and do it well.  How can I guarantee that?

Political direct mail has been scientifically testedit works. Political direct mail isn’t the sexiest medium in the room, but its efficacy is proven and road-tested. There are lots of (somewhat dry) academic studies out there that show political direct mail works (here’s one), and there are campaigns and organizations that run tests that show that campaign mailers can have a statistically significant impact. Get the right message to the right target and you can generally count on a measurable effect. From bumping turnout to persuading voters that re-electing a corrupt incumbent is a bad idea, mail can help you reach your vote goal.

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