News flash: direct mail can grow and achieve new heights as a marketing channel. It's easy to assume that direct mail will go the way of the dinosaurs and die out. But direct mail will be around until the very day that postal service stops. In fact, as it evolves, many marketers find that the response rates go up as direct mail becomes a way to connect with customers in a more personal manner. Especially when marketers are implementing the right strategies and practices, they will find that new technologies will help direct mail thrive as a premium marketing channel.
As the digital world grows, it gets to a point where more and more consumers ignore all the various communications. When consumers are bombarded with messages on their phones, tablets and computers, eyes start to glaze over and ears tend to tune out. Marketers need a way to grab the attention of their target market and incorporating direct mail does just that.
In fact, marketers will need to take advantage of advancing technology and use it to create direct mail pieces that function as more than just a piece of paper or words and graphics. Compelling copy and slick pictures are great, but when you can add in something a little above and beyond that, then you really take the whole direct mail experience to another level.
For example, augmented reality can be tied into a direct mail campaign and really make an impression on the audience. We're not talking virtual reality goggles and headsets here. Augmented reality is a way to utilize digital technology to enrich a real-world experience. Taking digital information and laying it over a video feed (think about those televised football games where you can easily see the bright yellow first-down line) is augmented reality. With direct mail, you can encourage your audience to sit in front of their webcam and hold up the direct mail piece to see what happens. Maybe they will win a contest. Maybe they will reveal a very special offer. The only limit is your creativity (and your budget).
Advancing technology also means that lists can be made to be more segmented and "clean." Every marketer knows that a bad list can torpedo a good marketing campaign. So making sure the data collected is correct and on point is huge to the success of any campaign. So this allows for better targeted mailings and also for more personalized messages. In the future, direct mail will be key in breaking through the barrier of message bombardment. It will be targeted and on-point, with personalized and creative copy that falls in step with advancing technology. It will be a means of bridging the gap between personalized tangible marketing materials and other non-physical points of contact. It will help create a seamless multi-touch campaign that is not intrusive but compelling and brand-building, all the while embracing technology as it advances.
About John Foley, Jr. John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially, an online marketing company including Social Media. They provide marketing consulting and delivery services. Created in 2010, Grow Socially, Inc (www.GrowSocially.com) helps companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company's needs. In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. Foley serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments.