Who Will be Driving the Direct Mail Bus

Most agree that data-driven, personalized print is not only feasible but drives better results than traditional static print communications.  Consequently, for commercial printers, there exists an emerging opportunity for new customers and revenue streams driven by direct mail solutions.

Who will drive the bus?

The key question now will be who will take the lead in informing and attracting customers to direct mail. Will Commercial Printers, Marketing Services Providers, Digital Agencies or Data Management Companies meet with customers and explain the value of direct mail as part of an overall marketing mix? Or, will new decision and supplier models change the way we have traditionally created and marketed direct mail campaigns.

What is opportunity for Direct Mail?

This new opportunity is not being driven by legacy print applications, new sales techniques or traditional marketing.  Savvy marketers and brands are beginning to invest in integrated databases of to improve the relevance of communications. This is being driven by the amount of personalized data available from web, apps, mobile and social media.

Over the last year, we have seen the revenues derived by direct mail actually increase in a relatively flat print market. Direct mail is not going away and will be part of the future multichannel communications mix. Data driven, personalized direct mail remains great complement to digital channels for many products and services. The good direct mail campaigns we see for financial services, insurance, travel, big ticket items and gaming will get even better.

The biggest challenge is harnessing data

The challenge for marketers is how to leverage the immense amount of customer data available. It is disappointing that so few digital and print marketing programs lack the personalization required to generate higher ROI. For instance, consumers often go to potential supplier websites using mobile and apps and never receive a follow up in any form, digital or direct mail. This makes no sense.

The most progressive companies are on it

So far, it is the most progressive companies taking the lead in investing and integrating digital and print media. For instance, Google mails compelling print pieces encouraging small businesses to go to the Web and utilize a discount code to try Google Ads. As more and more companies see the value of better utilizing their data in a multichannel environment, direct mail will naturally be part of the mix.

Going forward, it is very important for all commercial printers to follow this trend carefully and adjust.