The National Postal Forum completed its victory lap in Indianapolis last week, providing inspiration and tools to achieve direct mail success. In her keynote address, Postmaster General Megan Brennan reminded attendees, “digital can’t do it alone.” She encouraged marketers to create mail that adds value by delivering exceptional customer experiences. She also observed, “Mail’s proven power is driving consumers to act.” Picking up a theme from last year’s NPF, she called mail “the ultimate closer,” adding that mail works most effectively when it is targeted, relevant, and engages the senses.
Brennan especially encouraged marketers to take advantage of the fact that physical and digital communications working together results in an “amplified effect,” producing stronger results than either medium could achieve by itself. She encouraged marketers to look at cutting-edge technologies such as near-field communications (NFC) and voice commands for smart speakers as the next opportunities to drive a “data-driven, customer-centric approach” to creating integrated mail campaigns.
Informed Delivery’s Big Goals for 2020 Outlined at the National Postal Forum
Both Brennan and Chief Customer and Marketing Officer Jakki Krage Strako highlighted Informed Delivery (ID) as a mail-centric way of combining physical and digital channels to enhance customer experience and drive robust response. They noted that ID now has more than 16.4 million subscribers and is adding 500,000 additional subscribers each week. The Postal Service has a goal of having 40 million subscribers by the end of 2020.
Strako noted that 41 percent of ID users tell the Postal Service they aren’t the “CEO of the mail” in their household—a term used to refer to the person responsible for retrieving, sorting, and distributing the mail received by the household each day. One advantage of ID is it allows marketers to bypass the CEO, who may or may not share all relevant mail with household members—think of the spouse who might not share a golf catalog with their partner despite the partner’s “urgent need” for a new driver. When subscribed to ID, the partner receives their own digital impression of the mailpiece and can purchase that urgently needed driver through links in their ID, despite attempts by the CEO of the mail to “divert” the physical mailpiece.
Data-Driven Solutions for a Data-Driven World
In her general session, Strako led presentations of how integrated, dynamic mail, positioned at the intersection of physical and digital, can help drive connection in the digital age. She also said the Postal Service is launching a “mail repositioning campaign” to be sure marketers understand the importance of mail to the success of their marketing efforts. She stated the repositioning campaign will highlight the effectiveness of combining physical and digital messaging and offer “dynamic, journey-based, data-driven solutions.”
Strako noted that customer experience has become a significant differentiator for brands and 70 percent of consumers believe mail is more personal than digital channels. Presenters emphasized how physical mail can provide the personal touch and human connection we are all looking for in a high-tech world. Presenter Kate MacNevin, global CEO of MRM/McCann, observed that despite all our new technological marketing tools, brands still need to move consumers along a customer journey by growing meaningful relationships. She said they can do that by “taking with an intent to give” (building trust), noting that 78 percent of Americans trust companies that use data to personalize their experience, but 64 percent feel brands have lost touch with the human experience.
Want to learn more about how you can use direct mail as a tactile and authentic means of bringing human connection to your marketing campaigns? Contact me here.
Closing note: Our compliments to the National Association of Letter Carriers for conducting its 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive this past Saturday. We appreciate your support for the less fortunate in our communities.
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