KNOWLEDGE BASE Direct Mail Marketing In The US

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


Direct Mail Marketing In The US


Direct mail marketing in the US is much less regulated than other types of marketing. However, all general marketing and advertising laws and regulations, federal or state, apply to your direct mail marketing campaigns as well. General advertising laws and regulations can be reviewed on our Advertising Regulations In The United States page.

Federally, the regulations on direct mail marketing generally apply to specific industries or types of marketing content, e.g., prize promotion or contest mailings. Some states have specific legislation regulating direct mail marketing. You should be familiar with and understand all laws and regulations of each state in which you send out direct mail marketing materials.


Truth-in-Advertising Standards:

The Federal Trade Commission Act truth-in-advertising standards apply to direct mail marketing and mail order advertising. The Act requires that:

  • advertising is truthful and non-deceptive;

  • advertisers have evidence to back up their claims; and

  • advertisements not be unfair.

More detailed information about the Federal Trade Commission Act and its applicability can be found on the Advertising Regulations In The United States page.


Mail Preference Service:

The Direct Marketing Association developed the Mail Preference Service in order to help consumers manage the amount of mail they receive. The Mail Preference Service is a voluntary program for both consumers and marketers.


Prize Promotions and Competitions:

The Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act places restrictions and requirements on all prize promotion and competition mailings sent to consumers. Specific details on how the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act applies to prize promotions and competitions can be found on our Prize Promotions And Competitions In The United States page. 


Direct Marketing Association

Federal Trade Commission Act

Mail Preference Service

Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act

KNOWLEDGE BASE Direct Mail Marketing In The US