Determining Your Target Market in Direct Mail


Determining-Your-Target-Market-in-Direct-MailTargeted marketing is just as important in direct mail as it is in online marketing. Spending more time on the front end of your campaign increases the likelihood of its success down the road. In the ever-used marketing analogy, it is better to throw a few darts and get really close to the target than to throw a bunch and end up all over the board. Determining your target market is a matter of knowing your product or service intimately and matching that up with the demands of the marketplace.

The Product or Service

Understanding your product or service means knowing what problem is being solved by your company. Let’s say your company specializes in creating rubber band bracelets that have been stamped with different company logos or messages. Your company’s goal is to provide groups with statement pieces. Ultimately, you want people to start talking and become engaged in social causes because of your product. Write the goal of your product or service in your own words rather than relying on a mission statement.


When you answer the question regarding the market in this example, it is easy to say, “Everyone can benefit from having access to our product.” While this is true, it is impossible to market effectively to everyone. Instead, the demographic that you will most likely receive the most profit or ROI from are non-profits and schools, which both us catch phrases and meaningful script to spread their message and bring people together.

Other demographic considerations that may be integral to determining your target market include the following.


  • Age group
  • Gender
  • Wealth
  • Ethnicity
  • Lifestyle
  • location


  • Business type
  • Its consumer market
  • Industry
  • Location

In the example of the rubber band bracelets, a marketers may have narrowed down their direct mail market to local nonprofits or nonprofits in a certain industry. They may choose to include schools in the same or a different campaign.

The important thing to remember when you start to narrow down your demographic is that market research should justify your reasoning. Use past analytics and evaluators for market demand to create your list, not estimations and guesses. The market may change over the course of a company’s life, too, so it’s good to reevaluate the market on a regular basis to determine the adoption rate, new markets, and lagging markets.

Timing and Flexibility

Sometimes, it’s better to stop marketing to certain groups in favor of a new direction. The answer for target market also varies by region. Two companies who have the same product or service may market to entirely different market subgroups based on location. Timing also matters. Look at the research for the best times to send email campaigns vs. direct mail campaigns for the best day of the week to send mailings. If your product/service is impacted by different times of year, a mail campaign directly before that time will impact the success rate.

By sending out a direct mail campaign to a small, but targeted group, a company saves time and money by pushing a product or service towards those who are most likely to want or need it. Direct mail that is irrelevant to recipients often gets thrown away without a second glance, but target mailings improve brand recognition and lead to higher sales rates.

Direct Mail Best Practices