Change is constant and so is the ever-evolving face of direct mail.
Originally hand-addressed letters, now a printing powerhouse, and in the future a beacon in the digital soup. We’re looking at the past, present and future of direct mail and making some predictions that only you can make come true.
The Past – History of Direct Mail
Direct mail has been a mainstay of marketing and advertising and it comes with a rich history of innovative and forward-thinking concepts. The very nature of direct mail was innovation when first introduced over a century ago. It provided a means of getting the attention of home and business owners who’d already reached saturation point with advertising featured in publications. While we’ve come a long way since the “Dear Homeowner” letters and keys to motor vehicles in sweepstakes, the idea of addressing prospects personally hasn’t changed. And the personal touch then as now has a much high rate of response than its competitors.
The Present – 21st Century Direct Mail
Direct mail is a sophisticated way to speak directly to your customers with information they’ve supplied or from what you’ve gleaned from their purchase behavior. And it’s fast, effective and direct. Digital printing has enabled greater levels of personalisation, including custom artwork, copy and entirely different propositions for individual recipients. And now as we our digital age alters the technology that produces our print material, we can merge the two for responsive campaigns. We can even test campaigns electronically to know what kind of response to expect and how to tweak it if needed. And that’s how direct mail is one of the most effective forms of marketing today.
The Future of Direct Mail
Direct mail has fascinated generations and it will continue to capture the imaginations of many more. The future looks bright for one of history’s most favoured marketing media; and it will continue to evolve with the marketplace. In the future you can expect more dynamic interaction with direct mail; a greater and more powerful way to communicate with your customers. You’ll be able to provide direct-to-door responses similar to Amazon Prime Now, meaning that when your customer receives your mailer, they can act upon it immediately and receive a close-to-immediate response. It might be hard to imagine, but if you send them an offer in the post, they can order directly from you to deliver within an hour.
Or perhaps in the future offers will be even more customised. With big data and an increased willingness to share information with trusted organisations, this data can be pooled and direct mail sent according to various triggers. Viewing something online and signed into a particular shopping network’s account? Send your prospect customised direct mail catalogues that cater to their specific interests.
And if you already know their preferences from previous contact send them a mailer that interacts with their Wi-Fi and can then order your product with ease. The technology already exists to do this, it’s just a matter of time before it reaches a critical mass and the cost effectiveness of such initiatives makes it possible to be revolutionary with direct mail.
You as marketeers will shape the future, so direct mail is in your hands. Being adaptable to change, creative and prepared to try out new concepts and technology will keep you and your business at the forefront of direct mail marketing.
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