Once every four years February gives us an extra day to ponder how direct mail will evolve. We took advantage of our extra time last week to consider how the direct mail landscape will leap into the future by Feb. 29, 2016. We predict four trends that we think will shape our industry:
1. Direct mail will continue its integration into multichannel campaigns
Direct marketers will continue to fuse paper and electronic communications. The mobile revolution shows no signs of stopping. According to the Winterberry Group, adult consumers spent 30% more time interacting with their mobile devices at the end of 2011 (now more than an hour per day) compared to the beginning of last year. QR codes and pURLs are currently two ways to connect paper and electronic communication, but new technology is already looking to replace them. New methods of combining direct mail with online information and social media outlets will continue to enter the market, so direct mail will continue to embrace the digital world.
2. Sophisticated data will allow for even greater relevance
Customers appreciate personalized messages. But they really appreciate relevant messages. It’s been a consistent trend in direct mail over the past few years, but the importance of tailored content and creative design, combined with timing, can never be overstated – your response rates depend on it. Technology is creating a tremendous volume of highly detailed consumer data. Once it’s better harnessed, marketers will be able to target an increasingly fragmented audience with hyper-personalized and relevant messages. This data explosion will also allow trigger programs to be an even more effective direct mail strategy. However, privacy will be a growing concern among consumers. Direct marketers will need to use personalization wisely and not push the boundaries too far, or they may face consumer backlash or increased regulations.
3. Digital printing technology will continue to evolve
As with most things in the electronic world, the quality and speed of digital printing will improve while costs decrease. More direct marketers will be able to embrace personalization as high-volume, full-color digital printing becomes even more affordable. Our customers have had great success using our new Océ ColorStream® 3500 digital press. We believe the future of digital printing has never been brighter.
4. Sophisticated postal strategies will be more important than ever
It’s no secret the Postal Service is struggling. Although Postmaster Donahoe recently laid out his five-year plan, nobody knows exactly how this drama will unfold. However, it’s likely a more streamlined Postal Service will create an even greater need for sophisticated postal strategies that navigate a changing postal stream to achieve cost and delivery objectives. That’s why we’re currently developing a new approach to commingling that we expect will lower postage costs and increase accuracy for managing in-home delivery.
As we look ahead to the next four years, it’s important to navigate change with innovation in mind. What other trends are sure to shape the direct mail industry and impact your marketing strategy?
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