“Print is dead.”
“Digital marketing is a fad.”
I often read these proclamations in online articles or industry magazines, and believe they are equal in their foolishness.
Physical and digital communications should be thought of as complimentary, not competing.
As our physical and digital lives become more blurred, successful organizations deliver more potent communications by connecting with their customers via the right method at the right time and the right place.
And when joint physical and digital communications are well crafted, they are more effective. According to InfoTrends, there is a 45% increase in response rates when print is combined with web, email and mobile.
There are several United States Postal Service (USPS) promotions in 2016 that provide mailers with postage savings for implementing emerging technologies to improve the effectiveness of physical and digital communications.
- Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video In Print: This promotion for First-Class™ and Standard Mail® is geared toward the continued advancement of mail as a key part of the omni-channel experience. Mailers can incorporate technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), “Enhanced” Augmented Reality, Video in Print (ViP), Beacon technology, and other developing technologies into their mail to qualify.
- Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Mailpiece Engagement: This Standard Mail only promotion is focused on advancements in print technology as well as the multi-sensory experience of mail. The goal of this promotion is to utilize different textures, folds, sounds and smells to engage the mail recipient. Different inks, papers, folds and technology can be utilized to qualify for the promotion.
(More information on USPS promotions can be found here.)
These technological advancements have enabled mail to become a critical player in the omni-channel equation of reaching customers wherever they are located. Mail is now tracked as closely as packages with the adoption of the USPS Full-Service mail program and the Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb™). This robust tracking data can be used to synchronize direct mail campaigns with digital marketing and telemarketing efforts.
"...technological advancements have enabled mail to become a critical player in the Omni-channel equation of reaching customers wherever they are located."Bruce Gresham
Direct Mail can also be bolstered by the use of contextual location data. Buyer profiles can be developed using mobile analytics, and those profiles can be utilized to develop more meaningful messages to a targeted group of consumers.
So take advantage of new technology and USPS incentives to improve your customer communications. I suspect you will quickly find out why digital and physical are truly better together.
What has your experience been in your use of mail? Has it found a newly valued place in your marketing mix? Follow Bruce on Twitter: @BPGresham