What is the future for direct mail?

What is the future for direct mail?

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he DMA last debated the future of direct marketing in Feb 2012. Here at Baker Goodchild we think two years later is a good time to wipe down the crystal ball and look again at the future of Direct Mail.

Much of the DMA debate centred on the rise of technology and particularly social media when looking to the future of direct marketing. One consensus was that Direct Mail was alive and kicking – but evolving too. Here are our thoughts on some possible development in the future.

1. Greater Personalisation

The ability to personalise printed mailshots has of course developed in leaps and bounds thanks to digital printing. We feel that this will continue in a number of ways.
• It will be possible for increasingly sophisticated amounts of personalised data to be included in any printed item
• Sophisticated levels of personalised printing will be achieved with home office level printers
• 3D printing will play a small but significant role in creating personalised items

2. 3D Printing

It is overhyped at the moment but it seems likely that as the technology improves and costs to market decline then 3D printing will play an increasing role in a number of mail campaigns – and personally we can’t wait to see the results. 3D printing can help create unique campaigns.

3. 2D Printing

2D printing still has a long way to develop technology-wise as well and it will become easier for marketers to print cost-effectively on a wider range of materials and substrates to create some truly inspired mailshots.

4. More technology

Augmented reality, barcodes, QR codes and the rest are at the beginning of their functionality and public acceptance. The apps and software to download the information contained in these codes is widely available but how the public accesses this information is still lagging behind, but catch up we consumers certainly will and within the next generation some of this methods (although not all of the technologies) will be second nature.

5. O-to-O-to-O

The concept comes from respected marketer Pat McGrew and is a development of the accepted term O-to-O (Offline to online). Pat sees the relationship as much more circular and that seems correct. Clients may come across your organisation via a printed mailing item that drives them to a website, but they may come across a Facebook page or online ad that allows them to receive a printed catalogue. The quality of printed marketing material is often seen as a brand differential for many organisations. Check out the magazines and catalogues in Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose etc – they contain the same information as the website but offer a different experiential for their customer base.

Baker Goodchild looked into the future – and it certainly seems bright for the Direct Mail sector as technological advances combine with changing consumer behaviour to develop an exciting world of imaginative marketing.

Image Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

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