Every year, people say that direct mail is dead. Every year, direct mail proves them wrong by being one of the most successful non-web-based marketing tactics out there. That may change one day, but for now, it’s as true in 2016 as it was in 1916, and as it may be in another 100 years.
How does direct mail stay on top? By sticking to tried-and-tested methods and by putting just a little bit of a fresh, interesting spin on printed marketing materials and tactics. Here are the top trends to watch in direct mail this year:
One of the sneakiest trends out there is applying a soft-touch finish to the paper your direct mail pieces are printed on, giving the paper a smooth, pleasantly tactile appeal. When added to great graphics and killer copy, this varnish makes your pieces pleasant to hold and subconsciously makes prospects more likely to hold onto it (and read your message). Literally your marketing, at their fingertips!
Go Big or Go Home
As more marketers turn to direct mail (yes, really, even massive corporations still make direct mail a marketing strategy must), it’s becoming more important than ever to stand out. Smart companies are turning to oversized pieces to stand out from the crowd.
Increase in Loyalty Programs
More and more companies are targeting their direct mail to existing customers, sending them rewards, discounts and coupons to encourage future sales. If you have an existing customer database, this is one of the single most rewarding direct mail tactics out there.
Luxury Brand Marketing
If you thought direct mail was all about fast food coupons and drugstore flyers, think again. Luxury brands, from high-end developers to top-tier travel companies and more are increasingly turning to direct mail. Their pieces tend to reflect their brand perfectly, be printed impeccably and be carefully targeted. Like the brands, the key to this type of marketing is exclusivity, so if you are marketing a high-end product or service, be sure to narrow your target audience accordingly.
Reply Forms Are History
As the lines blur between direct mail and online marketing, reply forms are rapidly being replaced with landing page URLs or sales email addresses. That’s good news for two reasons: first, customers tend not to want to wait for mail services these days, and email or web makes turnaround faster; second, you’re saving space on your printed marketing materials that can be used to improve your message or cut costs.
The fact is, the rumors of direct mail’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and as long as we still have addresses and mailboxes, there will be value in targeting prospects literally where they live. While you’re planning your strategy for this year, consider these trends and choose the ones that are most likely to work for your business.