EDDM vs. Saturation Mailing


I recently received an email that made me fume at its inaccuracy. It was sent to one of our clients regarding an occupant/saturation mailing, and it read: “Just use the EDDM tool and you’ll save $$ in postage.” Of course, we all know this to be completely untrue. EDDM always has higher postage than occupant/saturation mailings – the USPS even has its own specified postage rate since EDDM costs more to process than addressed mail.  In addition, it turns out that there are numerous other costs that people don’t realize about EDDM, so I thought I’d set the record straight.

Higher Costs of EDDM vs. Saturation Mailing
EDDM Postage is Higher: This is a fact. The postal service has a special EDDM rate that is higher than all other forms of Saturation mail. It could be as much as 2.3 cents higher, if EDDM isn’t being delivered to the DDU postal facilities. And even if it is sent to the DDU facilities, it is still .1 cents higher than letter SCF mail or flat DDU mail. Furthermore, since letter-sized saturation mail only needs to go to the Postal SCF for the best postage, EDDM will typically require you to make additional postal deliveries.

EDDM Mails to Bad Addresses: Have you ever wondered why EDDM counts are higher than a normal saturation mailing? It’s because you are sending to records that should have been removed. Vacancies, do not mails, and excessive drops have all been removed from our Occupant file. Every “extra” EDDM address –often as high as 10% of the list– is a waste of postage and printing.

EDDM Does Not Allow Removals: As most of you know, to qualify for Saturation rates you only need to mail to 75% of all addresses in a CRRT or 90% of all Residential addresses, whichever count is lower. So why blanket your mailings to every address? With our Occupant data, we have all sorts of removal options that allow you to optimize your mailing, while maintaining your rates. Here are two great choices below:

  • Nth Sat Filter – This allows you to trim a list to the count you want. For example, if you have 11,748 records and only want to mail to 10,000 of them, you can select to remove certain types of records (trailers, apartments, PO Boxes, businesses), or you can trim by lowest income CRRTs first. This gives you a “smart” way to remove those records.
  • Response Boosters – This amazing new feature allows you to remove households that are among the lowest 4% income in a zip, or households where the minimum age is 80+. By removing these lowest performing records (typically 8% of a file), you will increase your ROI. Response Boosters has been Mailers Haven’s most popular and successful feature ever!

EDDM Has Lower Response Rates: Time and time again I have had new customers come to us because EDDM just performs poorly when compared to normal Saturation mailings. There are several theories to explain this:

  • The postal carrier sometimes packages all EDDM pieces together, so EDDM mailings become less of a standalone mail piece.
  • EDDM mails to extraneous addresses that normal saturation mailings would skip thus reducing the overall results.

With EDDM you do not need to purchase the mailing list, or spend as much time processing the job, whereas with saturation mailings you can save on postage and on wasted mail piece delivery. How does this affect the overall ROI of a mailing?

ROI Calculator:
     Calculate the following costs:
        + The average cost to address a postcard: .004
        + The average cost to purchase a mailing list: .005

     Consider the following savings:
        + Postal Savings will be .001 to 2.3 cents
        + Delivery savings will be .002 to .004, since only SCF is needed for letter saturation mailings.
        + You save 3% to 10% on wasted mail pieces: vacancies, do not mail addresses, and excessive drops (1 to 3 cents)

All of this shows that saturation mailing generally ends up costing less than EDDM overall. Further benefits of saturation include narrowing your list selections on a household level (through Nthing and Response Boosters) and Saturation mailings typically perform better.

THE TAKEAWAY: You will typically get a better ROI with normal Saturation Mailings.

While from a pure numbers standpoint, Saturation Mailings tend to beat out EDDM even with their “free data".  There are other reasons people might prefer to use EDDM (they don’t have the capability to ink-jet address, they can turn EDDM jobs around faster, etc.). But if anything, this article should get those who often use EDDM to think about whether it is always the right choice for their client.
We’ve had some clients switch from straight EDDM mailings over to Saturation jobs WITH Response Boosters, and they have seen great success. Since the ROI is so much better, there often is some room to add extra margins on the job as well.


1.     Switch a client from EDDM to a Saturation mailing and we’ll send you a $5 Starbucks card. Only one per client. Orders as small as $50.

2.     Do you have a client who has had success switching from EDDM to Saturation with Response Boosters? Share your story and we’ll send you a $5 Starbucks card.

Let us know how we can help with your next saturation mailing.

 View A Direct Comparison Study of EDDM vs. Saturation Direct Mail