The days of getting our information solely from the mailbox are long behind us. You've probably noticed that your mailbox is a little less stuffed than in past years. Instead, we are constantly bombarded by marketing efforts coming from many channels and various angles. We are barraged via social media, web, print, TV, mobile and more almost constantly. So, where does direct mail fit in?

Some marketers have dropped direct mail due to cost concerns and the assumption that direct mail is a lost cause. But that's far from the case. Direct mail is still a great way to get your message across. You can still segment your target market (which is made even easier as technology evolves and we clean up our data). And you can use direct mail to augment and enhance your other marketing efforts. Why make your marketing message merely visual- or audio-based when you can incorporate the tangible into it and get something into the physical hands of your audience?

In fact, direct mail should go beyond the tactile experience of a postcard (though even a postcard still has its place in today's marketing strategies). Direct mail can utilize everything from QR codes that compel the consumer to watch a video to a flash drive that the consumer receives with a special file on it, or a small sample of your product. With all of today's technology and the ability to market via multiple channels, it's vital to think outside the box and design a direct mail piece that not only furthers your brand and message, but enriches the experience and makes sense, not only from an ROI standpoint on your end, but from the standpoint of the receiver - your target market.

Because with multi-channel marketing, you are taking advantage of the various ways to get your message through to your audience, and you should not forget the importance of timing. Your efforts should be coordinated to reflect that critical timing and to help the next "touch." An email can give the consumer the heads up that an important piece of mail is arriving soon. Your social media platform can remind consumers that they should have received their piece of direct mail and that they have a limited time to take advantage of the call to action. Or the direct mail piece can remind the consumer of a timely offer that is taking place online. It should all fit together like puzzle pieces.

It is also imperative that the messages be consistent in content and branding. Just because you want your direct mail to be creative and exciting doesn't mean this is the opportunity to take a complete left turn from your current marketing plans. Instead of being compelling, your direct mail piece may just leave your audience scratching their heads if you divert from the messages of your recent campaign.

Direct mail certainly has its place in a multi-channel world. In fact, leaving direct mail out of your multi-channel marketing strategy would be short-sighted. You may be missing out on making some massive impact if you fail to incorporate direct mail into the mix.

John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially, an online marketing company including Social Media. They provide marketing consulting and delivery services. Created in 2010, Grow Socially, Inc ( helps companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company's needs. 

In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. Foley serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments.