Quick Comparison: Every Door Direct Mail® vs. Mailing Lists
Posted On Apr 14, 2014 in Every Door Direct Mail by Chris Barr

The Pros and Cons of Every Door Direct Mail®EDDM or Mailing List
Every Door Direct Mail® is a simplified and affordable direct mail service offered by the USPS® that empowers advertisers with a more cost-efficient way to saturate local neighborhoods and ZIP Codes.

EDDM® pieces deliver as "solo mail" into each targeted mailbox without being stuffed into a magazine or envelope containing offers from other advertisers. For widespread local mailing campaigns, no other form of advertising delivers more visibility at such a low cost.

Pros:

  • Low-Cost Direct Mail Solution
  • Mail Over-Sized Flyers & Postcards for Less
  • Easily Target Entire Postal Routes and ZIP Codes
  • Target Routes and ZIP Codes by Demographic (ie: Income, Age, Etc)
  • Discounted Flat-Rate Postage -- No Hidden Feeds or Extra Charges
  • Target, Create, and Launch Campaigns Online -- in 10 Minutes or Less
  • Reduce Costs, Reduce Paperwork, and Reduce Trips to Post Office®
  • Ideal for Small Business Owners, Local Organizations, and Geo-Specific Campaigns

Cons:

  • Non-personalized (Uses Local Postal Customer as "Name")
  • Envelope (Letter) Mailings Not Permitted
  • Requires Mail Delivery to "Every Residential Mailbox" in Target Areas
  • Wider Delivery Window -- Can Not Choose Exact Day of Mail Delivery
  • No "Business Only" Mail Option

The Pros and Cons of Mailing Lists
Standard direct mail, using a purchased mailing list or in-house database, is an effective way to send personalized and highly-targeted direct mail campaigns. It is also the most efficient way to deliver B2B (business to business) direct mail offers. While very effective for certain types of direct mail campaigns (ie: New Movers, High-End Services, etc), list-based direct mail campaigns are often difficult to coordinate, manage, and budget for due to the large number of variables inherent to the method. Additionally, list-based campaign cost more and are not guaranteed to produce better results than other methods.

Pros:

  • Highly-Targeted and Personalized
  • Mail Letters, Flyers, Postcards and More
  • Mail to In-House Database or Purchased Prospect List
  • Mail B2C or B2B Campaigns
  • Target Using Immense Variety of Demographic Selections
  • May Provided Higher Response Rates (Not Guaranteed)
  • More Precise "In Home" Delivery Date Targeting

Cons:

  • Substantially Higher Costs Across the Board
  • Does Not Guarantee Better ROI
  • Requires Extensive Coordination and Management
  • Higher Postage Rates
  • Less Efficient for Saturation Mailers
  • Requires More Lead Time to Product, Prep, and Deliver
  • Personalization May "Scare Off" or Upset Certain Recipients

So there you have it -- a quick pros/cons summary of EDDM® and list-based direct mail methods.

In my experience, both formats are highly-effective when used correctly. In fact, most businesses use EDDM® for new customer acquisition purposes, while using list-based mailers for customer retention efforts.

If your products, services, or events have mass appeal -- EDDM® is almost always the best choice. However, to keep your current customers engaged and re-sell them, using personalized or targeted mailing list methods can be more effective.

Think about it, if you are a current customer with a business, it is "expected" that you receive personalized mail offers. On the flip side, when you receive personalized (especially hyper-personalized) mailers from businesses that you are not a current customer with -- it may be perceived as a negative (especially in the digital age of constant privacy concerns).

As with most forms of advertising, each method has powerful pros and cons and should be tested systematically to determine the best short/long-term ROI strategy.