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Commentary & Analysis

What Do These 5 “Mail Trends” Tell Us?

These five mail trends from DirectMail 2.0 raise interesting questions about how we are (or are not) proving the value of print and the opportunities that are lost when we don’t.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: May 29, 2018

Want to stay on top of the mailing trends for 2018? If so, there is a list of five services you need to offer. This is according to DirectMail 2.0, which noted them in a recent blog post. This was a really interesting list, and here are the five trends and why they caught my eye.

  1. Mail tracking

As print struggles to find its place in the marketing mix, mail tracking offers printers the ability to add value to a channel digital marketers often ignore. There are many benefits to mail tracking, but for me, one of its key roles is increasing response rates by allowing clients to test the timing of their email or mobile follow-ups. Once they have done this testing to see when the second touch is most effective, they can boost responses simply by blasting the email at the right time.

  1. Call tracking

Do you offer call tracking services? I know some printers who do, but not a lot. In this industry, we talk about the need for tracking for ROI, but how often does that tracking include phone calls? Printers often face a significant challenge in getting marketers to see the value of print, so what a shame it would be if a client’s direct mail campaigns are driving phone calls (and results) that are never tracked. Print’s ROI could be much higher than your client realizes because the mail campaign isn’t getting the credit for the results it is actually generating.

  1. Online follow-up

This appears to be another name for retargeting. Someone gets a postcard, goes online, pokes around, then leaves the site without making a purchase. With retargeting, you (or your client) can use cookies to track people who hit their website and then follow up with them across the Google network.

  1. Social media follow-up

This is just like the above, only with the follow-up occurring on social media sites. Someone looks at shoes on the client’s website, doesn't make the purchase, then the next time they log into Facebook or Instagram, they see an ad for the very shoes they were looking at and didn’t buy...at least, not yet.

  1. SocialMatch

DirectMail 2.0 offers a service called SocialMatch that matches available social media profiles to a client’s mailing list so you can “prime the pump” with social media ads before a direct mail piece hits or follow up with social media ads afterwards.

What do all of these trends have in common? Although they are clearly promoting DirectMail 2.0’s services, the trends are important.

  • They emphasize the need to prove the value of print by tracking responses through all available channels.
  • They make print more relevant in a digital world by tying print directly to social media, both on the front and back ends.
  • They make print integral to the success of multichannel campaigns by positioning it as a way to boost results over digital-only campaigns.

If print is going to remain relevant in today’s marketing environment, it’s important to find where and how it fits and be able to track, measure, and quantify the value it brings—something too few marketers actually do. If they don’t track it (or if you don’t track it for them), how are they supposed to know?

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”

 

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