DIRECT MARKETING : New ways to engage

There are many aspects that make up good direct marketing campaign, starting with great planning, and using data and analytics to ensure you’re reaching the right people with the right message. You need attention-grabbing creative, because direct marketing is the only medium that lets you get to all senses and fully interact with your audience. And, more than ever, you have to consider multi-channel environment – addressed mail, email, mobile, web, and the potential of digital technologies such as quick response (QR) and augmented reality (AR).

Creative trends
There are some great things happening in both the online and offline worlds of direct marketing.
Today’s print production capabilities are pretty spectacular and free the way for imaginations to run wild. Add little fun to things with interactivity in the form of specially coated messages that require body heat or the application of liquid to reveal messages. Quick response and augmented reality technologies also open up world of possibility and I think we’ll see more of these capabilities incorporated into direct marketing in the near future. For example, the US Postal Service uses augmented reality to help customers find the right-sized packaging for the items they want to send by inviting them to use webcam to experience virtual box simulator.

Data and insights
Data and insights are less sexy but it’s one of the big trends we’ve been noticing – the care, attention and amount of effort that organisations are putting into their data and analytics. It’s fabulous to see this positioned high on direct marketers’ agendas because it’s extremely customer-focused, ensuring you’re communicating with the right customers via the right channels with the right messages, and it’s also an efficient use of marketing budget.
New Zealand Post has been getting so many inquiries for in-depth analytics to provide what the industry calls “rich customer insights”, that it’s developed an entire new data segmentation model, Genius™, to meet demand.

Measuring
Measuring has always been an important part of DM and we’re noticing trend here to more robust monitoring, measurement and analysis of results often being incorporated into planning for additional DM. It’s now being treated more as long-term communication plan rather than series of one-off, unrelated campaigns.

Multi-channel
Addressed direct mail is traditional and still extremely effective way to reach customers, however DM specialists are finding innovative ways to take direct mail in new directions, particularly integrating with the digital world.
In New Zealand, we’re seeing the direct and digital environments coming together in various ways. We’ll be seeing more direct marketing campaigns including print integrated with other mediums such as outdoor advertising, that will direct customers to visit personalised URLs to receive targeted information, meant specifically for them. Yes, it’s an overused word but it really is about ‘integration’.

Sustainability
With environmental friendliness high on many of our personal and work agendas, DM-ers are definitely thinking about their responsibilities in sustainability. For direct mail in particular, there has been an increase in the use of sustainable materials (paper and inks) and biodegradable material. great example was biodegradable pen which the customer used to sign form and could then plant in soil and watch it grow into plant.

Fiona Woolley is manager – market engagement for New Zealand Post Targeted Communications.

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