By Cassandra Balentine
Part three of three
A tried and true method for marketing, direct mail continues to evolve.
In the next few years, Angelo Anagnostopolous, VP of postal, GrayHair, sees the method moving towards highly targeted and tightly coordinated with other channels. “Due to its effectiveness, it is not going away any time soon,” he states.
William Longua, senior director, Digital Print Group, Quadient, expects direct mail to be thriving five years from now. “Volumes will fluctuate and slowly decline, but this is a resilient medium that provides value, profit, and revenue consistency for direct mailers across the country.”
Margaret Curry, national manager, major accounts and strategic alliances, RISO, Inc., sees more personalization of messaging expressed in words and embellishments, as well as an increased role of artificial intelligence (AI).
Brad Kugler, CEO, DirectMail 2.0, says the future of direct mail is pretty much automated with a high degree of AI decision making in terms of targeting, timing, and even creative, with some “real fancy stuff” specialized by verticals. “Probably the big ones first like real estate, automotive, and finance. They are the ones who will be able to pick up the check and help pay and finance some of this new tech.”
Thomas Schnettler, business development, and Randy Hardy, representative, North America, locr GmbH, say direct mail will follow the trend of highly personalized and targeted direct mail. “As plenty of information is widely accessible online, printed advertising needs unexpected and innovative elements and personalized, relevant approaches.”
“Data usage for additional personalization and more effective targeting will continue,” agrees Lance Martin, VP, marketing, MBO America & Komori America, adding that embellishment options and the machinery used to provide the effect, will continue to grow in an effort to provide direct mail that can effectively engage the ever-distracted target audience.
“Direct mail will continue to rise in the coming years for promotional and advertising purposes as consumers tire of email and SMS overload. We will also see a growing use of virtual reality and holograms to drive consumer engagement through mail that is tied to digital,” adds Kenneth Tucker, senior manager, marketing business development, Ricoh USA Inc.
Clint Seckman, president, Parkland Direct, envisions direct mail becoming smarter and more targeted as organizations continue to leverage data to improve their marketing efforts. “With advances in technology, direct mail can be highly personalized and relevant to resonate with customers. As screen fatigue becomes increasingly prevalent, direct mail will become a more valuable way for organizations to introduce their brand or build trust with current customers. Direct mail provides a tangible and tactile experience that digital advertising simply cannot replicate, and customers are likely to appreciate the effort put into creating a physical piece that they can hold and interact with.” However, direct mail should not be seen as a competitor to digital as it will continue to be a fantastic driver to that. Seckman adds that organizations can use direct mail pieces to drive traffic to their websites, social media pages, or other digital channels. “Currently direct mail is a powerful way to encourage customers to engage with businesses online and I only see that growing over the next several years.”
He sees direct mail playing an important role in the marketing mix for organizations moving into the future. “As direct mail becomes more targeted and creative it will be able to create more meaningful connections with customers and drive business results.”
David Yost, general manager, InfoSeal, points out that successful mailers will transition over the next several years to products that are efficient with labor and have high response rates. “As people are less confident trusting electronic marketing, traditional mail will continue to be a viable marketing approach. Products like Pressure Seal 24-inch double nested inserts and window in roll applications will continue to become a larger percentage of this mail because of being kind to the environment, eliminating wasteful envelopes, effective use of labor, and supports the continuous fed ink jet environment.”
Shatus believes that direct mail will continue to have an important function in marketing and customer communications, especially when it comes to personalization, testing and optimization, and integration with digital channels, and sustainability.
“Sustainability is a growing concern for many consumers, and businesses that prioritize sustainability in their direct mail campaigns may be able to differentiate themselves from competitors. This could include using sustainable printing and mailing practices, as well as incorporating messaging around sustainability into the direct mail piece,” shares Shatus.
Jul2023, DPS Magazine