What should I expect with direct mail fulfilment?

We have previously touched on direct mail fulfilment, but it’s becoming ever more pressing as direct mailing becomes a popular marketing medium. The GDPR has only served to enhance the popularity of the marketing channel – particularly with fewer unknowns with traditional mailing. While your message and design are critical to appealing to your consumers, you must also consider mail fulfilment. If you want your prospects to open your campaign, it’s got to look darn good for them to do that…

Direct mail fulfilment: the basics

Marketing campaign fulfilment is of major importance when working with a mailing house. Direct mail fulfilment refers to a key stage in the production of your campaign – preparing your marketing message for delivery. Essentially, a fulfilment house will take your campaign and convert the design into mailing items.

Between that first idea, and the final step to engaging with the customer – marketing campaign fulfilment can encourage responses and boost ROI. There are many different steps, outlined below, but all are designed to ensure the mailing process is smooth and effective.

What can be fulfilled?

When it comes to direct mail fulfilment, a variety of mailing types are included. A fulfilment house can fulfil brochures, catalogues, letters and magazines, using various envelopes and even polywrapping to further encourage responses. However, when reaching out to a mailing house regarding direct mail fulfilment services – you must have an understanding of your target audience. Are you reaching out to high-value consumers? If so, a luxe-style campaign will boost responses, particularly if they believe a lot of time and effort has gone into creating the unique piece.

Preparing for mail fulfilment

Your mailing house will ensure your campaign is ready for direct mail fulfilment, but there are several things you can do to help.

Clean data 

Before contacting a mailing house or several direct mail companies regarding your campaign objectives, ensure your prospect data is clean and accurate. Doing so avoids any potential costs that can arise from targeting houses where your prospects no longer live or even data duplication. If your data is up-to-date, the mailing companies can place the addressee information directly onto the campaign via variable data printing.

Similarly, discuss the required materials for the campaign and the end goal of the design. Doing so will enable the mailing house to ensure availability for the particular envelope, polywrapping etc.

The different stages

All mailing companies will have various steps in place for marketing campaign fulfilment, but the procedure may vary depending on the project and the particular requirements. For instance, transactional mail is likely to have fewer steps than dimensional mail boasting various printing finishes. However, common parts of the mail fulfilment process include: 

Automated envelope inserting

Automated envelope inserting machines are ideal for high-volume direct mailing – especially as they substantially reduce labour costs. Envelope inserting machines help save money on envelope and postage costs, capable of inserting letters, leaflets, brochures and high-security documents. 

Automated collation

This automated process with a mailing house refers to feeding multiple inserts into an envelope to ensure an engaging mailshot campaign. These inserts could include the likes of product samples, newsletters, ‘thank you’ letters, applications and more; all designed to boost responses and engage with prospects. Again, this is a mailing company process that substantially reduces costs. 

Automated folding

Automated folding can determine the cost of your marketing campaign, so it’s critical you communicate with the mailing house in regards to your objectives. The automated folding machines ensure the folds for your direct mail marketing campaign are positioned correctly, and is able to fit into the smallest envelope – thus reducing your postage costs. 


Polywrapping is a brilliant option for those sending out brochures, magazines and catalogues. Essentially, polywrapping ensures the protection of your direct mailing, while still detailing your marketing message to prospects. The mail fulfilment process is achieved through the aid of a polywrapping machines and is often used by those looking for robust enclosing. Polywrapping is also a direct mail service that appears more professional than an envelope at first glance – best suited for high-value customers – and can hold multiple inserts at one time.

More information on polywrapping can be found here


Bundling, packing and packaging is another part of the process for a fulfilment house and ensures your mailing campaign is ready for the consumers. This stage requires extreme planning and management to ensure all mailing is included.

It’s also important to note that, where possible, direct mail companies will attempt to automate the mail fulfilment process. Doing so reduces costs for your company, ensures the campaign is produced quickly and efficiently and is cheaper than hand fulfilment. However, there are times where your marketing campaign may need to be hand fulfilled – such as lower volume, dimensional mail pieces.

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