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Variable Data Printing & Direct Mail Are Poised for a Renaissance in 2021

Posted by Emily Hegland on February 18, 2021

Direct mail has been a powerful marketing channel for decades.  

But looking ahead... it seems that direct mail is poised for a new renaissance in the 2020s.  

Customers are becoming more wary of digital tracking and privacy on the web... 

And the integration of new media with tangible mail creates a powerful, lucrative marketing opportunity. 

This is especially true when you’re trying to micro-target new customers and build lasting relationships with existing customers 

After allthese innovations simply help do what marketers have always tried to do: get the right offer in front of the right person at the right time

In the ephemeral world of the Internet, direct mail has staying power. Emails may be read in seconds, buried beneath a bursting inbox, or immediately discarded without another thought. But direct mail forces you to touch it, feel it, evaluate it and form a responseIn fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s Response Rate Report, direct mail garners a 37% higher response rate than email.  

Why? Direct mail is a way to get into a customer’s home: a piece of direct mail might sit on a desk or coffee table for days (or longer). Holding, touching and feeling the paper is tangible. It has a more emotional impact than something you see on a computer screen for a few seconds. In that way, it can leave a memorable impression... and inspire action. 

Plus, there’s less competition in a mailbox than an email inbox. According to USPS, the average household receives only two direct mail pieces a day... compared to 157 emails. And 79% of consumers find reading mail more useful than going online when researching products and services. 

Plus, there’s a level of credibility that elevates direct mail above online advertising... and not just with the older generations. The USPS study shows that 82% of Millennials believe printed messages to be more credible than digital. Audiences across the age spectrum respond to direct mail advertising — especially when it’s innovative.  

One major innovation in direct mail is the rise of variable data printing. Different than traditional laser, variable data printing uses data to pull in hyper-personalized copy, offers or images and inserts them onto templates. This creates a singular feel to each piece, as if it were created for one individual person (but printed with the speed and volume of mass distribution).  

Direct mail is even more effective when you combine it with other channels. You can also use variable data printing to add PURLs (personalized URLs). This URL (different for each recipient) takes the customer to a fully personalized landing page, complete with content that seems hand-picked for them. Name, location, demographic information and even psychographic data (like their interests and shopping habits) can be used to generate this page. This level of detail creates a powerful, hyper-personalized experience for the customer across channels. 

And integration with direct mail and technology doesn’t stop there. You can connect online and offline personas in many ways. Marketers can now use technology to turn anonymous web traffic into postal address leads through IP targeting. Or you can use reverse-appends to turn phone numbers and email addresses into postal address leads. You can also tap into your existing list of customers to hyper-segment and target different audiences for win-back, retention, or cross-sell campaigns.  

Furthermore, variable data printing gives you an unparalleled ability to track the performance of your campaignsAdd custom coupon codes and barcodes to track which customers take action. Then, you can apply thdata you gather to build an even more effective and targeted direct mail campaign for your next drop.  

2021 is the perfect time to experiment with variable data printing. It’s accessible yet innovative... and gives your direct mail aedge in a highly competitive marketing landscape.  

With over 36 years in the business of direct mail, J&C is made up of experts in the art and science of customer engagement. If you need help building a fresh direct mail campaign that gets resultscontact J&C today. 

Topics: Data Marketing, Direct Mail

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