“Cutting edge technology makes mail more powerful than ever!”

This is the new USPS tagline promoting advancements in printing and mobile technology that can make direct mail more personal and tactile than ever. In yesterday’s article, I highlighted a few major ways that mobile technology and direct mail can work in tandem to make your message MUCH greater than the sum of its parts. Today, I'm sharing some examples of how print technology can really make an impact.

Print

Tactile – A core feature of the USPS booklet from the US Postal Forum was texture – from sandpaper or runner UV finishing to metal mid-tones to soft-touch aqueous finishing. Every piece in the book carried some additional weight beyond just the message, all to make the medium memorable! Additionally, how a piece is cut or folded lends mail a certain staying power that is unrivaled by digital technology. The USPS presentation involved what is called an infinity fold (above). Once mail becomes something people want to share, it takes on a new life.

Printed booklets

Variable – Highlighted with a bold picture of a chameleon, a main topic was variable data printing – allowing for deep personalization to every recipient. Print technology can allow for virtually limitless variables printed onto any marketing piece or statement, whether targeted based on demographics or previous behavior. Modern print allows for personalization far beyond a simple {{First Name}} field, as images, color treatments, copy adjustments and mobile technology integration can turn each mailpiece into something as unique as a snowflake. Also mentioned was integrating personalized URL (pURL) landing pages, and even creating custom printed catalogs, automatically generated from user interests.

Lenticular and Die-Cut print– Another cool example I saw from another promotional package I received was the use of lenticular print (right) to give a sort of 3D appeal to a flat mail piece. I actually took home the “Super Mario Bros." version of this piece and the look of excitement on my son's face showed me that print has staying power, regardless of how hooked a generation seems to their iPhones. Another sampling in the same lot were die-cut pieces, many with interactive elements, or mounted on foam board. These pieces begged to be handled and shown off.

Data & Analytics

Modeling & Analytics – You know who your customers are, so now it’s time to find more that look like them. What makes direct marketing “direct” is the use of data. No more wasted dollars on prospects that are unlikely to convert. Direct mail is so effective because it can not only model what your ideal audience is from data you already have, but it can also track a wide range of interactions and make your marketing smarter along the way.

Test & Learn - Which incentive worked best? What font treatment and color scheme brought the highest response rate? Are when your mailings hitting impacting your customer service hours? Testing your mail can tell you a lot about how to improve your business. There are hundreds of questions that test & learn methodologies can answer, and data-based segmentation and profiling strategies can make sure your message resonates before it even goes out the door!

The DMA forecasts that for every dollar you spend on direct mail, it will come back twelvefold in ROI. Add digital, and you’ve got a homerun!

Make sure to read part 1 of this blog here.