Direct Mail Goes High-Tech Part 3

QR CODES ARE WORKS OF ART

Did you know that every Twitter app has a QR code reader? Introduced by Twitter at the end of 2016, it works for any QR code, not just Twitter account links (like Snapcodes). That means that over 328 million people have a QR scanner in their pockets. In addition, all iPhones running iOS 11 (or later) and most Android phones have native QR code functionality built-in to their cameras.

With the rise of popularity of video as a content marketing format, and personalized customer experiences being at the forefront of every marketers’ campaigns, consumers of all ages seek easier ways to engage with brands and their content. QR codes can connect a consumer to video, registrations, personalized microsites and more from a non-digital medium like direct mail.

Enter the new generation of QR codes—literal works of art. With the ability to custom-design a QR code, branded specifically to your organization, cause, or campaign, you now have a unique and
irresistible gateway between the tangible direct mail and an online experience.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF DIRECT MAIL CATALOGS

B2C direct mail catalogs soared in popularity in 2017, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses. This resurgence is in part because custom catalogs have become more affordable; advanced print and production capabilities have taken the cost and complexity out of tailoring versions; and they are now driven by consumer data gathered through multiple marketing channels, allowing you to target the right customers at the right time with the right content.

According to an article published by USPSDelivers.com, the hottest catalog format trends include: micro-catalogs—a perfect vehicle to feature a specific selection of your products that you want to promote; magalogs—a mix of magazine and catalog that combine product information with editorial content; and minicatalogs. Mailing at approximately the same cost of a standard automated letter, minis can provide up to ten pages to promote products and drive customers to company websites and custom landing pages.

Smaller brands may not have the marketing dollars to conduct such lavish experiments, but there are still a variety of resources that allow them to get creative with direct mail, including print techniques and software solutions that let marketers add elements of interactivity to ink and paper. Platforms that specialize in programmatic IP targeting and increasingly cost-effective ways of tapping into AR/VR interactivity (think Google Cardboard and mobile-first AR apps such as Uncovr) mean that game-changing technologies may be within reach sooner than marketers ever thought possible.

Here’s a scenario from the not-too-distant future: You get home from work and scoop your mail, only to notice a flashy card from one of your favorite online retailers. Curious, you follow the CTA prompt—which promises $ off—and use your mobile device to scan an illustration. You watch as a cartoon animation comes to life on-screen, simultaneously displaying a discount code. At the end of the video, you’re transported to your online shopping cart, where you find yourself staring at the very product you’ve been eyeing online for weeks.

The above hypothetical is far from far-fetched. For marketers, we’re living in a brave new world of technology meeting tangibility, digital and direct mail working in harmony, and the screen and the mailbox synced.