New Trends in Direct Mail Coming on Strong in 2017

More Ways You Can Bring Your Message Home

Direct mail print should remain a staple in your targeted marketing mix for 2017.  In fact, there’s evidence that its effect is on the upswing.  As your print communications partner, EarthColor is ready to work with you to maximize and deliver your message in the most exciting, cost-effective ways now available or on the horizon.

According to the latest consumer survey conducted by InfoTrends, direct mail is still the most effective tool to attract, engage and retain customers, build brand awareness, increase sales, measure effectiveness, and deliver results.  In fact, a third of U.S. consumers reported they read direct mail more than e-mail marketing, and another 34% read them both with equal frequency.  Added together, that’s a powerful statistic.

As one song goes, “everything old is new again.”  Product marketers are taking a fresh look at direct mail and integrating creative digital marketing techniques to get their messages out.  Media and marketing associations like Forbes, Publishing Executive, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), and Target Marketing have all reported on new DM trends for 2017 and beyond.

Personalization.  Another amazing statistic: 84% of consumers say they open DM pieces that have their names printed on them, not just on the address label, but also their first names in the body of the text.  Here’s where digital technology, like programmatic marketing that captures online consumer activity and other data, combines with variable printing techniques to deliver a personal message within days of an online product search.

Integrated Print/Digital Messaging.  DM pieces can be designed to connect directly with mobile devices and desktop landing pages via QRCs (quick response codes) and PURLs (personal URL addresses) imprinted on a mailer. Consumers have only to use their cell phone scanner to make the connection to access a coupon or enter a sweepstakes.

Augmented Reality.  Last year, the mobile-generated Pokèmon Go game created a virtual reality buzz.  Now direct mail campaigns are experimenting with developing interactive experiences for consumers.  Forbes reported on a mailer with an animated cartoon that launched with a scan of the art with a cell phone and then directed the user to the brand’s website.

Video and Audio Mailers.  Really.  The technology is here and in play to incorporate an audio and/or AV-player and screen in a DM mailer to increase engagement.  The video or audio plays as soon as the mailer is opened or a button is pushed.  A little costly, perhaps, but the impact is priceless for some campaigns.

Creative, 3-D Mailers.  Marketers have experimented in the past with unique delivery mechanisms for direct mail, usually for limited or one-off promotions.  Today, provided budgets allow, DM pieces can get very creative, way beyond the typical envelope or postcard mailing to utilize mailing tubes, boxes and 3-D mailers.  One company experimented with a “message in a bottle” promotion consisting of a plastic bottle with a note inside inviting the target to buy a product. Work with your print and mail partners to be sure that the mailer design meets USPS guidelines.

Creative Pop-Ups and Endless Folding Pieces.  Set your designer loose to create a fun mailing piece that will not only grab consumer attention and but initiate participation. Multiple origami-like folds can be very engaging and build curiosity for the product.

Of course, basic direct mail marketing rules still apply. You still need a vetted up-to-date mailing list, creative market-specific content, well-designed mailers, and a strong call-to-action to make your DM campaign a success.  But as we learn to combine the best of digital technology with dynamic direct mail print, your DM campaigns will be winners.

The direct mail trends described here are just a few of the topics under discussion by people in the direct marketing community.  As new technologies emerge and the partnership between direct mail print and digital marketing continues to strengthen, EarthColor will continue to keep you in the loop.  If you have questions or need help, please give our in-house experts a call.


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