As one of the oldest forms of marketing, direct mail is still one of the best marketing strategies today. Here are some noteworthy historical facts about direct mailing:
- The earliest concept of direct mail marketing took place in Egypt as far back as 1000 B.C. A landowner advertised on a piece of papyrus – he was offering a gold reward for one of his slaves. This was first found in Thebes and can now be seen in the British Museum.
- The first reference to direct advertising was about the time of the birth of Christ. Found in one of Pliny’s books, according to the translation ‘’we read, with reference to a poet.’’
- Direct mail marketing was slow to develop because not everyone could write at the time; not even the educated few.
- In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press. His creation helped to boost the mass production of direct mail.
- William Caxton is well-known for printing pamphlets. In 1480, he invited the public to order from his Westminster Abbey printing press. His technology helped to improve the printing technique, making it easier to produce direct mail on a larger scale.
- In 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward, the godfather of direct mail, launched a catalogue that consisted of only one page.
By 1888, Aaron Montgomery Ward was taking in $1 million in annual sales.
- Richard Warren Sears created the Sears Catalogue, bringing fine shopping to every rural nook and cranny around the world.
By 1896, the Sears catalogue had over 500 pages.
- In the 1970’s, coloured and bold graphics were manipulated and used to increase sales.
- Even in the 21st century, marketers still use direct mail to really stand out from their competitors. Many innovative retailers and brands still embrace direct mail despite the emergence of other marketing strategies.