Technology to transform direct mail in 2018


Direct mail is one of the more traditional forms of marketing - one that had been put to bed but has now been resurrected. In the digital age, direct mail is experiencing a boom, with even the world’s biggest social media platform, Facebook, turning to the advertising technique. In 2018, consumers expect more from brands and, subsequently, their marketing campaigns. Their digital footprint reveals their buying habits, wants, needs and even the photos they take, and companies need to produce innovative ads to hold onto their existing customer base, while expanding their reach. Washington Direct Mail, a leading direct mailing house in the UK, are revealing the trends they are witnessing change the face of the industry permanently.

According to recent studies, more than 269 billion emails are sent daily. The chances of your marketing campaigns getting lost in the sea of spam is only set to increase as we rely more on technology. However, compared to that statistic, direct mail is said to be kept in the house for 17 days, with 87% of consumers trusting messages within direct mailing, and only 48% trusting what is said in emails.

With the rise in companies turning to direct mail, the technological advances and developments in the industry are staggering.

Multi-Channel Integration

Multi-channel integration refers to the combination of the primary forms of marketing: digital and direct mail. While they both drive results on their own, we are seeing more examples of companies integrating the advertising methods. The synergistic advantages of doing so are almost unlimited, with recent surveys demonstrating a 118% lift in response rates for those adopting multi-channel integration. By utilising the technology of digital and direct mail and coordinating your message, you can hold onto your existing consumer base but further expand your reach.

Multi-channel integration can be achieved via a number of methods. For example, QR codes can be incorporated into the design of your mailing. The prospects can then scan the QR code to reach a targeted landing page, taking them to exclusive discounts and offers (their call-to-action). Alternatively, instead of placing a QR code on the direct mail, you can highlight a specific URL, encouraging them to visit for discounts. From those URLs, or even QR code, you can track the amount of visits the landing page received, thus measuring the success of your campaign and whether to replicate it in the future. However, a call-to-action is crucial to the marketing campaign, as your consumers need a reason to visit your site. Without promising them an offer, for example, why should they do your company a favour?

Programmatic Mail

For those in the direct mail industry, programmatic mail is the current buzzword. Programmatic mail provides companies with the power to transform online activity into hyper-personalised mail. For example, if a consumer was to browse your website, place something in their cart but abandon the cart at the last minute, you would, most likely, send an email reminding them to complete the purchase. While this may have sufficed several years ago, it doesn’t today. The email could get lost in your consumer’s inbox, or they may even delete it altogether. However, it’s difficult to ignore direct mail addressed to you and delivered through your front door. At some point, the consumer will pick up that piece of direct mail and this is where you stand out and utilise the power of images and call-to-action, with only a three second window to grab their attention.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and direct mail are two methods of advertising thought to never cross, but the trends are spelling the rise of augmented reality - and direct mail is following suit. Pokemon Go were the pioneers and Ikea have recently launched an AR app, allowing users to place furniture in the room and ‘try before they buy’. Adding a QR code to your direct mail is a method of incorporating AR to your direct mailing. Once they scan the code, a particular logo illustration or video comes to life.

Dimensional Mailers

Dimensional mailers should be considered by all brands looking to build interaction with their consumers. Dimensional mailers are exactly what you would expect: direct mail outside the envelope. Smart are a fantastic example, sending out cardboard helmets to consumers, encouraging them to construct a recyclable helmet. Dimensional mailing actively increased their web traffic and social media shares, proving direct mail can still increase engagement and, subsequently, revenue.

You must also note the importance of personalised direct mail when producing any form of direct mail. Personalised data is easily obtainable - from your historic customer database or to purchase online - and you should actively utilise this technology. If you do not target the correct consumers, or have an idea how to do so, you are wasting staff labour and, effectively, throwing away money.


All direct mail formats heavily rely on clean and accurate data, and you should already be prioritising the GDPR legislation when collecting customer data. If you do not, you face fines of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of your global turnover. You may have to amend how you collect data, but following these legislations enables you to build trust and transparency with your prospects.

Direct mail is strongly recommended to stand out from your competitors and engage with consumers. With the technological developments, these trends enable you to produce creative marketing campaigns to improve revenue.

Jason Sullock, Marketing Manager, Washington Direct Mail
Image Credit: Washington Direct Mail