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Direct mail is constantly evolving. And innovation can pay off. It can generate higher response rates among your target audience... and it can even get you a discount from USPS.
In 2021, USPS is offering promotions for certain types of marketing mailings that incorporate emerging trends and technology. Here are three of the emerging trends that take advantage of these promotions and boost engagement.
When USPS sorts mail using automation, they also create digital images of every mail piece that goes out. Those images are used for “Informed Delivery” users who get an email showing what they can expect in their mailbox each day. And Informed Delivery users are growing... there are over 30 million in the US currently.
Marketers can create an Informed Delivery “ride-along” image that appears with the mailing image. This can include copy, images, color and links that convert users before they even touch the piece. It’s a clever way to get into people’s mailboxes and inboxes with a single campaign.
Plus, USPS is offering a 2% discount on postage for business mailers who register for the Informed Delivery Promotion and conduct an Informed Delivery interactive campaign on qualifying mail pieces. Here’s an example of an Informed Delivery ride-along image J&C created:
The USPS Tactile Engagement Promotion is another option you utilize this year. It incentivizes engaging your customers’ five senses. Here’s how to do that:
Use Specialty Inks: Add a coating to changes how your mail piece feels in the recipient’s hands... it can really make a difference by standing out from other envelopes in your audience’s mailbox. Conductive inks, for example, can be used to activate an electronic device; you could create a “button” that activates lights, sound chips, or other interactive details. And optically variable ink contains metallic materials that change appearance when viewed from different angles.
Use Specialty Papers: These can evoke emotion through touch and even scent, making your piece memorable. For example, a soft-touch coating can give your package a velvety feel. Or filters and holographic elements can create unique visual details. New developments in paper and stock can elevate your piece and set it apart, creating a sensory experience.
Add Interactive Elements: An exciting pop-up detail, an infinite fold or even a moving part can create an interactive mailing with an element of surprise. If you create a unique, memorable piece, you can increase brand recognition and recall.
Incorporating these sensory experiences can boost your response and generate a discount with USPS. This year, qualifying tactile engagement can get you a 2% postal savings.
Emerging Technology Integration
USPS is also extending discounts for a variety of technology incorporated into direct mail. Here are a few examples.
“Enhanced” Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality (AR) allows you to layer digital graphics over existing surroundings. You can add a visual trigger to your direct mail that customers can activate with their smartphone’s camera. This creates an interactive experience using today’s powerful technology. “Enhanced” AR can also include video animation and 3D interactive graphics... this gives the effect of AR elements interacting with the world around you. To see an example of AR, check out the video at the bottom of this blog.
Near Field Communication (NFC): This is a mail piece embedded with a small chip. The chip can be recognized by any NFC-enabled device (like smartphones or tablets). The recipient can simply put their mobile device near the piece and pick up data — which marketers can direct to a website, video or additional content. It’s seamless because you don’t need to download an app... making it simple to create a multichannel experience.
Integration with Voice Assistants: You can use your direct mail to encourage customers to interact with their voice assistants (Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Home and Nest are becoming more and more popular in households). Instruct them to give their voice assistant a specific command.
Here’s an example of AR in action:
J&C is made up of experts in the art and science of customer engagement. If you need help developing a powerful direct mail campaign using these emerging trends, contact J&C today.