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Moving Direct Mail Into the Future

It’s been said that the only constant is change, and despite the conventional wisdom, it is certainly true in the world of direct mail marketing. 

By now, you’ve probably seen our recent big news: Who’s Mailing What! is now part of the DirectMail2.0 family! DirectMail2.0 offers an automated omnichannel marketing platform that tracks direct mail performance using 14 different digital technologies. Its goals are pretty simple: to improve your campaign response and performance, and help make better marketing decisions. Campaigns using DM2.0 have been shown to raise response rates by 23–46%.

Our acquisition is about much more than growing Who’s Mailing What! It’s about the future – adding value to your marketing and fundraising efforts through the massive AI and machine learning direct mail database that the company is building: Now set for beta testing in Q3, this new tool will help you figure out how to get the best return from each mail piece. That means: headlines – formats – images – offers – all broken down by industry, seasonality, geography, and other factors. And it fits well with the evolution of the industry – and Who’s Mailing What! – in the last few decades.

The Evolution of Who’s Mailing What!

So I’ve been with Who’s Mailing What! for over 20 years. Over that time, I’ve observed – and been a part of – how it’s provided must-know competitive intelligence about direct mail. What was once a hands-on, time-consuming process has evolved into a more automated, near-real time service that delivers information and insights to our subscribers.

Here’s some history  on that growth:

  • In 1984, the Who’s Mailing What! print newsletter debuted with articles by founder Denny Hatch and listings of cataloged mail for ordering
  • In 2000, the Who’s Mailing What! website launched with mail listings 
  • In 2005, PDFs were added for most mail to be downloaded by subscribers
  • In 2020, performance insights and full text search features were implemented

And now, in 2024, the acquisition means that DirectMail2.0 has the largest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-powered direct mail database in the United States. All to serve our audience better.

We all know that direct mail has come a long way, too. The data and printing tools have improved dramatically. However, successfully executing a campaign that meets your short- and long-term goals still has challenges facing every marketer and fundraiser. Powered by Who’s Mailing What!, promises to help marketers like you figure out what to test, learn from your analysis, and roll out your campaigns.

Final Thoughts

Twenty-plus years of reading mail and writing about it (and producing videos and presentations) gives me a unique and positive perspective on leveraging all the new tech to make it better. Change continues, much of it full of potential. Tracking and attributing performance, optimizing your spending – it’s all so crucial for today’s marketers. We may not know exactly what the future will bring, but I urge you to stay aware, let us know your needs and wants as a marketer, and be open to all the possibilities that change brings.

Direct Mail Evangelist

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