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Combining Technology With Your Direct Mail

Posted by Emily Hegland on February 3, 2020

Direct mail marketing has been around a while. In fact, the first time we saw it in its current form was in 1872. The piece was a one-page catalog. Since then, direct mail has evolved into many forms. Even in an age of endlessly evolving technology, direct mail is still works. But technology and direct mail are not mutually exclusive. In fact, new technologies can enhance your direct mail efforts and result in a higher response rate. 

There are a number of ways direct mail can use recent technology to connect with customers and drive better responses. Below three major ways to consider for your next campaign.

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Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is the display of digital content over the user’s view of their actual environment.  For many, their first time seeing this in use was in 2016 with game Pokémon Go. Users walk around their neighborhoods, schools and parks looking to catch a Pokémon. When they found one, they could lift up their phone and looked “through” it. The user would see the Pokémon in the environment. This "augmented reality" allowed players to see fictional creatures in the world around them. 

The use of AR has been growing. To incentivize companies to innovate, USPS has even given discounts on mailing for those who used AR in a mail campaign. Here’s one way AR can be used in direct mail: a home goods retailer send a postcard feature a coupon for 20% off a bookshelf to all of their app users. When a user signs into the app, they can see how the bookshelf will look in their home by superimposing it against their wall. They can see the size and scale of the piece, which makes them more comfortable ordering online and knowing what to expect. Here, direct mail works in tandem with digital efforts to make a sale.

Redesigned QR Codes

QR (Quick Response) codes have evolved from the unadorned little square of the past. The sleek new QR codes available today have added branding and messaging right in the design. The new wave of QR codes are colorful, creative and playful — think bright colors, embedded graphics and creative shapes.

Take a look at this QR code from Allied Pickfords:

This striking piece combines branded colors and imagery into a scannable code. Here, you can use design to motivate readers to interact — seeing something fresh, new and interesting motivates people to take the next step and actually scan to see where it leads.

Variable Data Printing 

Variable data printing allows companies to create mail that is completely personalized to the recipient — all without slowing down the printing process. You can change graphics, images, text and more. That creates a completely personalized experience for the recipient.

For example, you can send a nationwide direct mail campaign for a car rental service. Someone in Chicago may see their own name and an image of a driver navigating downtown Chicago... meanwhile, someone across the country gets a similar piece with their own name and an image of downtown LA instead. Similarly, a car dealership could print different models based on the purchase history of their mailing list. And because it's all digital, there's much more room for customization than traditional pre-print with laser technology. 

J&C has a long history creating direct mail that engages and drives response for our customers. Over our 37 years in the industry, J&C has embraced the evolution of direct mail. If you are looking to discuss different direct mail strategies and tactics, contact J&C today.

And make sure to download the Direct Mail Best Practices eBook by clicking the button below. 

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