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Going New-School with Old-School: Why Brands Are Innovating with Direct Mail

Innovating with Direct Mail
By Ethan Bukowiec July 31, 2018 No Comments

While innovation is nothing new for Digital Marketing – it’s simply a necessity due to the sheer volume and saturation of online and mobile advertising sent to consumers on a daily basis – Direct Marketing is ripe to experience high-impact returns by applying innovative strategies and tactics to Direct Mail investments.

Direct Mail has the distinct advantage of being able to capture consumers’ attention in ways Digital Media can’t because it is delivered right to the home and accessed by the consumer while they are primed to review the contents of their mailbox. So, what are some innovative methods your enterprise organization should implement to improve customers’ in-home experience?

Let’s get into specific innovative strategies you can deploy.

Re-Engage Customers with Digitally Reactive Direct Mail

Sometimes a friendly reminder is all it takes to spur a customer/prospect to engage or buy. For instance, a successful Digital/email marketing strategy to increase buyer activity is to set automated reminders of an abandoned shopping cart or list.

The success rate of this strategy drops when all forms of communication are sent digitally. Customers receive about 7 emails per week from the same advertiser, so, after a while they end up deleting emails without even opening them.

That success rate can improve, though, when organizations follow up on digital offers and interactions via Direct Mail. For example, tire retailer Continental launched Digitally Reactive Direct Mail to re-engage lapsed customers and boost sales. Its strategy was to deliver personalized deals based on historic transactional data and the stores customers visited most frequently. As a result, one specific retailer experienced a 20% increase in inspection bookings within 12 days of Digitally Reactive Direct Mail being sent.

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Create an Interactive In-Home Experience

Many see Direct Mail as static, ink-on-paper advertising that allows little room for delivering creative, interactive customer experiences. Contrary to that belief, savvy enterprise marketers and brands are leveraging advances such as Near-field communication (NFC) chips, video mailers and Augmented Reality (AR) to surprise audiences and motivate them to engage.

Embedding NFC chips in print materials allows marketers to expand the amount of information being shared as well as the interaction consumers have with it. Marketers can update the content an NFC chip is being linked to at any time, making campaigns more flexible and easily adapted based on personalization data.

NFC chips are also equipped with geolocation capabilities that let customers communicate their location with an organization once they tap their mobile phone or smart device on an NFC-enabled tag.

Outfitting mail with video increases recipients’ understanding of a product or service by 74% and 48% of people retain video-enabled Direct Mail for future reference. Enterprises in all industries are utilizing video mailers to educate and excite consumers about new products, provide education on investment strategies and run brief demos.

Augmented Reality (AR) enhances Direct Mail by providing customers enriching interactive experiences. AR provides simple implementation and can be easily adopted by consumers because all it requires is a smartphone or tablet.

Using data you’ve collected based on customers’ interactions with your brand, you can deliver them an experience that proves you pay extremely close attention to their interests, needs and pain points. Combining AR and personalization, Direct Marketers give prospective buyers an opportunity to visualize their purchase and further entice them to buy.

Building Community with Multi-Purpose Packaging & Social Media

Why not turn mail packaging that would otherwise be thrown away or recycled into an envelope or package that, when cut out and put together, can be built into a fun object like an animal or vehicle. This strategy makes your brand memorable and leaves customers anticipating what innovative delivery method they may receive next.

You can take this tactic one step further and build community by aligning interactive packaging with an online or social media campaign.

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division put this in play with its “Smile with Lay’s” campaign. For a limited time, Lay’s chip bags showcased 40 different smiles from actual Lay’s customers from across the country. For each purchase of one of the uniquely-designed bags, Lay’s made a donation to Operation Smile, a charity that helps young people in need of surgery to correct cleft conditions. The brand was able to increase purchase activity by incentivizing customers to go online and order a bag of chips printed with their own smile. In addition, the Lay’s created community by having customers share their support of the “Smile with Lay’s” campaign by sharing images with their bags using the #SmileWithLays hashtag.

While it’s not revenue, Lay’s ultimately donated $1 million to Operation Smile due to the success of the campaign.

Adopting Enterprise Direct Marketing Technology

The most crucial element of developing innovative Direct Mail campaigns is the implementation of a centralized Direct Marketing platform that leverages automation, digital dashboards and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline workflows and create personalized, data-driven content. If you’re going to invest in more cutting-edge strategies, you need cutting-edge technology capabilities.

Transforming processes and tools allow marketers to easily create and version a wide variety of Direct Mail communications at scale, leading to the delivery of more personalized offers and content to customers and prospects. Integrations with marketing technology infrastructure and data sources allow Direct Marketing teams to create and distribute a variety of content based on customer behavior and attributes.

Results from KleerMail’s own Direct Marketing Survey reveal that organizations leveraging marketing technologies for improved automation reported Average Cycle Times (ACT) that were 70% shorter than less tech-savvy peers. In addition, technology-equipped Direct Marketing organizations experience 50-60% reduction in costs related to Direct Mail content creation, production and distribution, and up to 1.3X increase in content engagement.

Looking for direct use cases of brands implementing these innovative strategies? You can find them in LLamas, LEDs & AR.

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