Why I Will NOT Subscribe to AdAge

Email I received this morning – and why it infuriated me…

John Miglautsch

John Miglautsch

I was amazed by an article by Phoebe Bain in Ad Age “Why DTC brands are increasing direct mail marketing”. In my 40 yr + marketing career, the mass-media general ad world has not recognized the power of direct mail (or even acknowledged its existence). After repeated attempts to try to read her work, I got this in my morning email:

I read and cite dozens of marketing publications – AdAge has the tightest paywall – I have not penetrated

Dear Ad Age,

I am very interested in this article but not interested in subscribing to your publication.  You almost never talk about the power of direct mail even though it is a huge industry.  This week, as a panelist for Association of National Advertisers I spoke to the largest advertisers interested in and using mail.  ANA also recently published my article “AI in Direct Mail Marketing.”

Direct Mail is a huge Hidden industry –


So now lets compare mail with other media – just try to find that on the internet –

Mail is almost NEVER included as advertising!

I found a dozen graphics which did NOT include mail –

I found dozens of graphics showing literally everything (including things like local radio and newspapers) but not MAIL. Why? Well at roughly $40 billion, mail would challenge both Internet and TV.

A TVNews publication lists Direct Mail ahead of everything except mobile. If they used Statistica’s $42 billion 2022 Direct Mail would be listed as the NUMBER 1 Advertising Media.


Perhaps its in the way the numbers get played!

Why NO MAIL in Advertising News?

Perhaps it is because mail has long been labeled as ‘junk’? Maybe its because while advertisers pretend to measure everything, they are rarely doing the kind of disciplined testing born in the direct mail industry (see Claude Hopkins work from 100 years ago – http://ScientificAdvertising.com).

Personally, I think it is because agencies are limited in their mail markup – print and postage (by far the largest costs) are often paid directly by the client. Digital on the other hand (unlike even the 17.5% of traditional TV ad placement) has literally no limit to the markup – with layer after layer of intermediation. Dr. Augustine Fou


Even with 25 years of digital ‘puff’ from publications like Ad Age – direct mail is STILL at the top and is not going away.

Just to be completely fair – Ad Age just published that one article on DTC and #DirectMail. Maybe I’ve just missed them… so I searched Google and found all the articles since 1995. How many? 13 in 28 years – and 2 are about its possible due to digital.

No, I won’t be subscribing to Ad Age any time soon, but I’d be happy and honored to help Phoebe Bain in her great work.