March 3, 2020

Great article from What They Think about Direct Mail.

Technology + Direct Mail + Consumer Behavior = A Future to Bet On...

Christine Erna explains how direct mail printers can use “enhanced print” technologies to increase engagement, generate new leads, track real-time results, and stay top of mind with customers and prospects.

By Christine Erna.
Published: February 19, 2020.

A Future to Bet On...

The marriage of traditional and modern media with a sprinkle of behavioral science and analytics is a recipe for the future of direct mail marketing. As newer technologies like AI, VR, chatbots, and voice recognition software increasingly enter our everyday connected marketing landscape, one important question begs to be asked: Is there still a place for direct mail?

Without question!

“The Mail Moment” is a real thing with real data and statistics that prove the value of mail. There is less competition in the mailbox than ever before, and savvy direct mail marketers are seizing this valuable “mailbox real estate” to get some amazing results with their campaigns.

A Future to Bet On...

Direct mail has come a long way since the catalogs and postcards of yesteryear. Today’s direct mail, as produced by the thousands of users creating the billions of direct mail marketing pieces, can incorporate technology and video alongside print, and successfully engage its target audience.

The success and resurgence that marketers are experiencing with direct mail marketing is evidenced by the increased response rates and ROI figures their campaigns achieve. Their formula for success includes thinking beyond tradition, integrating technology, making direct mail more experiential and utilizing relevant messaging through variable content. All have a role in contributing to the increased success metrics of the direct mail marketing pieces and campaigns that utilize these elements and tools.

There is a lot of marketing data available to support integration of consumer behavior analytics in seamless combination with both physical and digital workflows. The true power of customer behavior analytics lies in being able to accurately anticipate buyer behavior so that you can make relevant offers at each stage of the customer lifecycle. What better way to do this than a technology-enabled direct mail piece?

Digitally Enhanced Mail is all about adding digital technologies like AR, NFC, video-in-print, buy now, QR, etc., to create captivating experiences that launch people toward your digital properties.

Augmented reality is a hugely engaging medium. It creates a wide range of opportunities to make direct mail interactive.

Near Field Communication (NFC) uses microchip technology. NFC allows recipients to instantaneously engage with your digital content without having to download an app or open a web browser.

Video-In-Print makes you do a double take on an unexpected mail delivery. First impressions are everything, and having the ability to hit “play” on a page is something your consumers will not soon forget.

A Future to Bet On...

Buy Now Technology allows consumers to simply scan digitally enabled mail to drive them to your social media platforms, and thanks to Buy Now Technology, convert them into paying customers.

Redesigned QR Codes can transport your customers to your online store, a product video or a live stream of video content. The new wave of QR codes presents a sleeker look and allows for more branding and messaging within its design. Work a “dotless” QR code into your icon or logo or blend it into your graphics for a powerful physical-to-digital experience.

A Future to Bet On...

Added Value

Research shows that printed collateral continues to be a compelling and successful way to capture the attention of your target audience. However, when coupled with video, it has the capability to not only gain consumers’ attention, but most importantly, hold it. According to Adweek, 76% of companies who have used videos in the past year report a direct business impact. And 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions, according to HubSpot.

Let’s not forget the opportunities the US Postal Service offers with digital engagement: Informed Delivery, Informed Visibility, and the 2020 promotional programs. The best news with these offers is there is no cost to participate. You combine your physical and digital communications and by participating in the promotions, you earn free postage credits. Who doesn’t like free?

Knowing the precise moment when mail is delivered helps marketers coordinate other complementary media—sending an email, social post or search ad to support and enhance the delivery of a physical mail piece.

  • 48% of marketers surveyed in a 2019 USPS Direct Mail Study say Informed Visibility has increased website traffic.

Consumer behavior analytics has begun to emerge—and we are still seeing a lot of growth in this space now.

A Future to Bet On...

Consumer behavior analytics captures full engagement session details—at a much more granular level than web analytics—and allows brands to get alerts when certain behaviors are exhibited, replay sessions, and view heat-maps to gain insight about usability.

Many successful marketers are utilizing these tools and the data they generate and are seeing increased response rates and campaign results by responding to these displayed behaviors. These enhance the marketer’s efforts to drive behavior, get people to notice and remember your brand/product, get them to behave/ respond to certain messages and finally to purchase/pay what we want.

A Future to Bet On...

Testing is a key ingredient to using the data and metrics available from behavior analytics and analyzing the results generated along the spectrum from simple to sophisticated consumer behaviors based on changes to the message, media, or both.

As a result of these new and innovative tools, mail has joined the connected world and is vital for the continued success, resurgence, and growth the direct mail industry has always delivered. Direct mail marketing campaigns have a new cornerstone: Engaging Technology.

This cornerstone allows forward-thinking direct mail marketers to elevate their results, responses and ROI exponentially.

Today there are so many more great industry outlets available to drive engagement. Inviting your clients to learn and explore more and new ways to use mail can only deepen your relationships and reinforce the value you provide.

Each of us has an opportunity to share the valuable information with our clients and support their participation. The goal of the USPS promotions is to promote the use of the mail to organically grow their volumes/business.