Direct Mail: The Future of Mail Is Here
You may have seen the term O-to-O (Offline-to-Online) to describe the relationship. In fact, the more accurate description is O-to-O-to-O—where the life cycle of the customer engagement can start in either galaxy, online or offline, be directed to the alternate, and then pulled back to the original touchpoint.
Think of an email where a response generates a catalog to be mailed which then guides the consumer back online to place an order. Alternatively, think of a catalog mailed to consumers that encourages them to place an order online, which then causes products to be shipped through the mail.
Why is this important? Because it provides multiple touchpoints to cement the customer relationship where at least one is tangible.
Make Direct Mail That Sizzles
Take a step back from the theory and look at your own mailbox. It is likely that you will find everything from letters that look like they were mass produced to incredibly slick brochureware using the full power of data-driven marketing. Some may have come to your mailbox because marketers bought a list of contact details, while others may have come in response to your inquiries online, in a store or over the phone. Remember, this is happening to your customers and prospects just as it is happening to you.
For the teams who have created, printed and delivered these pieces to your mailbox, the goal is to get you to take an action they hope will result in a sale.
As the recipient, you may be asking for more than a sales pitch to open your wallet. You want to be engaged, intrigued and rewarded. Normally the marketing team has to sort this out on their own, but new programs from the USPS in 2013 offer marketers the chance to be rewarded with postage discounts for using new technologies to engage customers through the mail.
Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, McGrew works with InfoTrends customers and its clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet, and toner. Co-author of eight industry books, editor of "A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge," and regular writer in the industry trade press, McGrew won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for her dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and LinkedIn.