In Direct Mail, Repetition Rocks

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Repeat after me: repetition appeals to all of us.

direct mail repetition
Since the 1960s, study after study has shown that we all prefer things we have already experienced. That’s why 90 percent of the music we listen to is music we’ve already heard. Or why we appreciate a piece of art more the second or third time we see it. Or, why we order the beef burrito at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Repetition builds relationships, trust and familiarity. And it is key to effective direct mail marketing.

Safety in numbers

The power of repetition is why I would tell a client with the budget for a 10,000-piece mailing not to mail one piece to 10,000 households. One touch simply is not enough. Instead, I would advise the client to do three different mailings to the same 3,333 households.

More than a first impression

One mailing is like meeting someone for two minutes at a cocktail party. Do you even remember their name? Three mailings is like meeting someone at a party, at a business meeting and then bumping into them at the grocery store. Not only do you remember their face and name, you know a little bit about them and their life.

In it for the long haul

It can be interesting to measure the effectiveness of one large mailing against three mailings to a smaller list. Don’t just look at response rates, however. Look at total sales. Chances are good that as you build a relationship and trust through repeated mailings, you are also building multiple sales and developing a loyal customer base. Chances are, you are making more sales to the person who has received three mailings from you compared the person who received one. You should also look at how much those repeat customers end up spending with you.


Bill Nichols

August 24, 2015

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