November 13, 2019

How Technology Is Helping to Transform Direct Mail

Contrary to popular belief, direct mail is not going anywhere, at least not in the foreseeable future. In 2017, the household response rate to direct mail was more than 5%. This is the highest response rate reported for direct mail since 2003 – the year the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) started to publish reports on response rates for different marketing channels.

Another interesting statistic present in the 2017 report was that 21% of the recorded responses came from people between the ages of 18 and 21 years. This goes to show that direct mail is still effective for reaching out to younger audiences and that this marketing tool is not going anywhere anytime soon. In many ways, direct mail has made somewhat of a comeback in the past few years and this comeback has been made possible by the advances in technology.

Direct mail has opened up a plethora of new opportunities for today’s marketers. The main purpose of direct marketing is to entice the recipients of the mail into doing the marketer’s desired action i.e. buying a product or service, signing-up, etc. By using new technology, direct marketers can create engaging experiences for the recipients, drive responses from them, and get them to convert into a customer.

So, what are the new technologies that are helping direct marketers in creating engaging experiences for mail recipients? Here are 4 advanced technologies that are changing the game for direct marketers.

1.     Augmented Reality (AR)

Enabling an interactive experience for mail recipients, augmented reality (AR) covers the physical surface of a mailer with digital elements. This adds more connection, movement, and context to the mailer’s efforts. To enable an AR experience, a mailer can trigger a visual prompt which can be activated through the camera of the customer’s tablet or smartphone.

For example, a surf camp based in Australia added an image to direct mails to trigger an AR experience. It also included the instructions to download the app that runs it. As the image was the AR trigger, positioning the smartphone or tablet over it activated the AR experience for the mail recipients. The success of this campaign has encouraged many more businesses and direct marketers to use direct mail for their AR experiences.

2.     Video-In-Print

Do you remember the last time you received an unexpected mail? What was your immediate reaction or response? Did you throw or tear the mail right away or did you read it through to know what was on offer? If you had a good first impression of the mail, then you probably read it all the way through. However, if it failed to make a good impression on you the first time you looked at it, then you would have probably discarded it in the bin without wasting much time.

First impressions are everything when you are trying to catch someone’s attention with your direct mail. Therefore, you must provide your intended mail recipients with something that will keep you in their minds for a few days at least.

One way to make your direct mail memorable for recipients is by using in-print video. As the name suggests, in-print video is video advertising featured in a print format. There are several ways to incorporate in-print video into your direct mail campaigns including embedding a video screen as thin as a paper into a mailer, driving mail recipients to a live stream, or simply using video-enhanced print.

3.     Redesigned QR Codes

You can direct the recipients of your direct mails to a live stream, a video, a product video, or your online store by providing them with a Quick Response (QR) code that they can scan on their smartphone.

Having a sleeker look than previous versions of the same, the latest QR codes make it possible for you to include more messaging and branding within its design. To create a powerful physical-to-digital effect, you can incorporate the QR code into your logo or icon or embed it into your design.

A convenient way to deliver more information to customers quickly, QR codes can help you to accomplish a lot. For example, an online grocery delivery retailer based in Bermuda lets its customers order their favorite grocery items instantly by providing them refrigerator magnets with QR codes. Customers can load items into their online shopping cart for purchase by simply scanning a grocery magnet with the QR code.

4.     Near-Field Communication (NFC)

Recipients of your direct mails can engage almost immediately with your digital content without opening a web browser or downloading an app. This is possible with the use of near-field communication (NFC) in your mails, enabled by microchip technology.

An NFC microchip incorporated into your direct mail will radiate short-range radio waves that interact with a smartphone to trigger the digital experience. Your content will open on the screen of your mail recipients’ NFC-enabled smartphones as soon as they hover their mobile devices over the direct mail with the microchip.

A real-world example of using NFC technology in a direct mail involves a UK-based musician who used NFC microchips to allow fans who received a direct mail message to get access to extended content of her latest album such as videos, lyrics, photos, liner notes, etc. in a bid to better engage with the fan-base.

There you have it—4 new technologies that are helping to transform direct mail. However, this list is not exhaustive and there are many more technologies changing the game for direct marketers and businesses that use direct mails as the main marketing tool. To find out more about these technologies, keep following our page.


by Bobby J Davidson

We love our company and we love what we do.  Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business!  As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management.  We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services.   We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business.