Success with Direct Mail Marketing: The 40/40/20 Rule Explained

Everyone knows the importance of the ability of a direct mail piece to capture attention. Postcards, brochures, flyers, or any other mailing service must first be appealing to make consumers glance at the piece and then interesting to encourage them to keep reading. Ed Mayer, an international direct mail and marketing expert in the early to mid-1900s, presented  the 40/40/20 rule.  Implement this law into your direct mail marketing campaign for the success you need to meet your company goals.

What is the 40/40/20 rule?
This guideline divides the development of a direct mail piece into sections.  The first 40% involves your audience, the second 40% relates to your offer, and the last 20% has to do with other elements that go into a marketing piece.

40% - audience
The reason that your audience is such a large consideration is because a postcard or flyer must appeal to their lifestyle to capture their attention.  Tailoring your entire message to your audience will bring you greater results in your direct mail campaign.  Before beginning any kind of design, f first define your target audience and then make sure that your mail list matches the audience description.

40% - offer
The offer is on what a consumer bases their decision of whether or not to keep reading.  A well defined, intriguing offer should be written for your audience and should include a unique incentive.  A discount, rebate, or bonus with a time limit moves your customers to action.

20% - other elements
This is where the actual design, format, and printing elements come into play.  Choose whether a postcard or brochure would be best for presenting your message, and then decide on colors, font, images, and write your copy.  Every design choice that you make should follow from the audience and the offer.  When it comes to printing, the paper type, gloss, and other print considerations should be carefully decided so that the entire direct mail piece looks professional. 

Direct mail marketing can be an effective way to grow your customer base and to build awareness of your company brand.  Just be sure to get the most out of your campaign by a following the 40/40/20 rule.


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