Top 10 Trends in Direct Mail Marketing

By: Genesis Direct Staff


Direct mail is a relevant part of an effective marketing strategy. The digital marketing media landscape is saturated and consumers are bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis. These advertisements all compete for attention and limit the potential return on investment for marketers looking to make a sale.


Direct mail techniques are changing rapidly and have resulted in some interesting trends that are evolving more and more. These trends are strongly interlinked with technology and offer businesses interesting ways to both retain and acquire new customers.


Trend 1: Unique Offer Codes to Retain Customers

Sending out a unique coupon code is a great way of bringing in customers who may have lost touch with your business. Consumers feel more valued when a company makes the effort to mail them a unique offer. For example, if you notice that a customer hasn’t made a purchase recently, you can send them a personalized code for a discount on their next purchase along with a message that you miss them. This code can then be tracked to understand its effectiveness and allow you to gain insight into your audience. These codes can be used for B2B and B2C campaigns. In today’s busy world a customer simply has other things on their mind and may appreciate the reminder to purchase something from you.  This type of personalized retention marketing is very powerful!


Trend 2: QR Codes and URLs

QR Codes and URLs have been around a while, and as the digital landscape grows, featuring QR codes and URLs in your direct mail campaigns can be effective. A customer can scan the QR code with their smartphone to  open a customized landing page. These QR Codes can lead to different pages depending on the stage of the sales cycle. While this targeting might not always be possible for all products, offering unique QR Codes for high-ticket items such as cars, homes, and cruises, based on where the consumer is in the sales cycle, can offer tremendous benefits.


Trend 3: Metric Generating Direct Mail

Direct mail is not intended to be a shotgun approach of delivering lots of mail to unidentified consumers without any understanding of what worked and didn’t work previously. It’s now possible to send out multiple versions of the same direct mail piece with variations in text, imagery, colors and fonts all with separate links to different landing pages, personalizing the piece based on what we know about the consumer. By analyzing what offers, creatives, lists and personalization are generating response, you can measure what direct mail techniques are performing best.


Trend 4: Data Driven Targeting

Businesses can collect a wealth of information about their customers, including buying habits, interests and wish lists. Utilizing this personalized information is extremely powerful for direct mail campaigns as you can deliver relevant and highly targeted offers based on consumer data. Send consumers different types of mail pieces, test key elements of the offer, creative and lists, by engaging in one-to-one marketing based on the personalization from the data. This approach is critical as it’s more relevant and more targeted than a generic one-size-fits-all direct mail piece. Much of the data that businesses collect goes unused, using this personalized data is key.


Trend 5: Smaller but Targeted Campaigns

Direct mail can be effective with the use of smaller-audience segments. This means that there will be less focus on large-scale mailers that have no impact on individuals in a segment that won’t find the offer relevant or considered as likely buyers. This is good news for both consumers and advertisers alike. For the consumer, the offers and advertisements they receive will be more important to them individually, while businesses will realize increased response and interest, making their sales cycle more efficient.


Trend 6: Direct Mail for Retention

Direct mail plays a significant role  in creating loyalty and retention for your current customer base.  Greater profits can be realized in retaining consumers and members through small gestures of appreciation or rewards that companies can deploy easily and quickly through a direct mail campaign. The focus on retention-based direct mail marketing creates lifetime value of existing customers. While customer acquisition will always play a key role in direct mail, it’s just as important to communicate with existing customers.


Trend 7: Augmented Reality

Augmented reality can be integrated into a direct mail campaign through a link or by scanning a code that takes the consumer to a view of physical real-world environments where elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. For businesses that have a need to show consumers how things work, this is a perfect solution. An example of this is for apps like Pokémon Go.


Trend 8: Fun Fold

Fun folds are a creative way of grabbing attention through direct mail. Taking a typical direct mail piece and adding multiple layers of folds, in different sizes, allowing the recipient to play with and manipulate the piece in different ways, similar to an origami piece. The fun-folded mail piece will likely have a longer shelf life.


Trend 9: Dimensional Mail

While standard letters, flyers, coupons and brochures are very effective, truly eye-catching and unique direct mail formats are becoming increasingly popular. Die cutting shapes, textures, premium paper stocks with special treatments like pearlized or metallic finishes and vibrant colors play a major role in capturing consumers’ attention.


Trend 10: Using Video for High Value Customers

For high price point items, you can integrate video in your mail campaigns. This allows for a personalized sales pitch through the mailbox. While this technology is young, it’s an important way of following up on leads which may require creative methods to grab attention.


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