Direct mail stronger than social media?

The Danish ARoS Art Museum announced via Print Power that their direct mail campaign to their registered members (people under 27) was a big success. The museum often uses Facebook to inform their members, the results of the print campaign were decidedly better. According to their research among 200 members, 81% had read the direct mail and 20 people renewed their membership. Read more about the print campaign, which proves that direct mail is an excellent means of reaching younger people, in the press release below.





ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, one of the largest and oldest art museums in Northern Europe, used a spectacular and personalised mailing to engage their younger member’s loyalty.

It has two membership clubs – the ARoS club for all museumgoers and ARoS27, open only to younger members under 27 years of age.

The purpose of the ARoS27 Club is to make art relevant to young people by offering free admission to the Museum as well as exclusive lounges with DJ music, drinks and special exhibitions four Fridays every year.  However with the enormous range of experiences and events offered to young people in Aarhus, competition was fierce.

The museum knew if they could convince members to attend events, they would see the value of their membership and renew the following year.

The Case Study

Given the audience’s youth, e-mail, text messaging and Facebook had been used as the primary channels to communicate with members. However, ARoS wanted to see if, in a world where almost all communications that a young person receives are digital, they would appreciate, and engage with, a physical letter.

A spectacular looking envelope was mailed to the c. 4,000 ARoS27 Club database.  Difficult to ignore on the doormat or confuse for a bill, this was a mailing that demanded to be opened.  Once inside, members found a letter, reminding them of the benefits of their membership, and a leaflet that opened up to a calendar laying down all the member-only, exclusive events.  Beautifully designed, it was hoped that the calendar would be hung on the fridge or tacked on a noticeboard to serve as a reminder throughout the year of events they wouldn’t want to miss, the overall benefits of the museum and ARos27 membership.


The printed calendar left its mark with members.  By acting as a reminder to attend events ARoS believe it helped influenced membership renewal.

As membership renewal was on a yearly cycle, the impact of the mailing on membership uptake was difficult to track. So, in order to get a more immediate reading of the effectiveness of the mailing, the museum employed a research agency to measure, and benchmark, recall and engagement.

200 members were telephoned a week after receiving the mailing.  The results were benchmarked against an average for other direct mail measures in the business to consumer market.

67% of respondents spontaneously recalled receiving the mailing from ARoS – double the average of 32% for the benchmarked packs.

81% of participants who could recall receiving mailing had also read it – compared to a benchmark of 53%. And 70% of participants that could recall receiving the mail had also saved the letter (vs 44% in the benchmarked group).

These high impact mailing translated to an increase in membership.

Standard marketing in the club’s first year had led to a membership renewal rate of 20%.

In the second year, the museum presented an extensive Edvard Munch exhibition.  This special event and standard marketing increased the renewal rate to 34.9%.

The following year, the year of the mailing there were no extraordinary exhibitions yet ARoS managed to obtain a 30% renewal rate, surpassing expectations  
“Our interpretation is that information sent out via digital channels is read as casual and superficial. Therefore, we wanted to show the value of ARoS27 using a mailing that allowed young people to immerse themselves in, and which also exposed and retained our messages with the young”
– Bettina Bach Nielsen, ARoS marketing manager

Case Submitted By: Royal Mail MarketReach
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Rob van den Braak

Printer’s devil (1964), phototypesetter, offsetprinter, teacher of graphic techniques, salesmanager, productmanager, trade journalist, founder of BlokBoek e-zine (2011). But above all husband, father, friend and lover of life in southern Spain (since 2010).

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