Papyrus Plus: The Evolution of Direct Mail
The Rise of Digital
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the impact of computers on society would harm direct mail. However, the truth is completely different. Even early computers allowed marketers to collect and analyze data faster and more deeply than ever before. This let them target specific audiences with more relevant products, reducing waste and boosting efficiency.
This trend went from strength to strength. One of direct mail's greatest strengths is its personal nature. Emails can be deleted with the press of a button, audio/visual adverts can be ignored, but a letter is something tangible that you can hold in your hand.
When it's got your name on it, this sense of connection increases and the development of variable data printing (VDP) allows thousands of direct mails to be produced, each personalized to the recipient without slowing the printing process. Marketers are at a point now where print can even emulate handwriting, giving the impression of signatures and adding to the personality and character of the communication.
What Does the Future Hold?
So where does direct mail stand today? Consumers are increasingly protective of their privacy online, and the data required for a large-scale direct mail campaign can sometimes be at odds with that. Similarly, with the population becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, questions are raised about the waste of paper that comes with sending out mass communications like this. In short, does it still work?
In the digital age, direct mail has to play to its strengths but is by no means "dying." The personal touch of receiving a letter, even one that's clearly sent en masse, can't be overstated. So, as much personalization as your audience will accept and feel comfortable with (remember, you don't want to creep them out) is key.
Similarly, you've got to make sure there's something in it for the mail recipient if they open your letter. Big chain supermarkets get fantastic results by including coupons in their mailings, tailored to customers' spending habits to provide an immediate incentive to engage with their products. Which again is backed up by statistics showing that 62% of people like to receive offers via direct mail. Using direct mail to complement your existing advertising and social media campaigns can add a tangible, "real world" element to your current efforts.