Despite the growth in digital media, direct mail continues its growth (up 2.7% in 2014 according to Direct Marketing News) and remains the bedrock of strong multichannel marketing programs. At the same time, direct mail is changing. What can we expect this coming year?
- More interactivity. Mobile lifestyles are changing the way consumers interact with brands. This means increased adoption of QR Codes, augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR), and image recognition technologies that allow people to scan a code, image, or logo in order to access mobile content. Did you know that, according to Pew Research, 19% of Americans rely partially or entirely on their smartphones for accessing online services and information? This is either because they do not have high-speed access at home or because they have few other options. Incorporating a print-to-mobile strategy in your direct mail campaigns is more important than ever.
- More tracking. Mail is becoming smarter. Not just in its relevance through personalization and segmentation, but also in its timing. The U.S. Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) enables mailers to track where their mail is in the postal system and the exact day it arrives at its destination. This provides marketers with incredible power and control over their channel integration and drop windows. EarthColor was the first print and mail house in New Jersey to be certified for the Full-Service IMb, and with our experience, you can be sure the mail will be delivered on the day you need it.
- More eye-catching. In a world of electronic alternatives, direct mail is an investment. Smart marketers are making the most of it. By using techniques such as dimensional mail, metallic effects, and tactile sensations (our Scodix Sensecan create raised dimensional effects up to 250 microns), our customers are creating memorable experiences that stand out in the mailbox and in the minds of their customers to increase response rates.
- Better together. Direct mail is increasingly combined with email, mobile, and other channels. Why? Because it works. In fact, did you know that 44% of marketers surveyed by Econsultancy cited multichannel marketing as an essential skill for marketers? We’ll provide reporting and coordinate with your other suppliers, such as email and mobile, so that your multichannel campaigns work seamlessly. We’ll track the exact date of mail delivery through IMb, for example, and deliver that information back to your email and mobile suppliers so you can trigger reminders or alerts based on the exact date of mail delivery.
- Growing our forests. Did you know that 60% of the forests in the United States are commercially owned? If land owners weren’t able to use these forests to produce revenue through the harvesting of trees for forest products like paper, folding cartons, and corrugated, those forests would risk being sold off for agriculture or development. By investing in paper-based communications, you help to preserve our nation’s forested lands.
This doesn’t exhaust the trends in direct mail for 2016, of course. What do you think? What do you see as the most important direct mail trends for 2016?