Direct Mail Is Evolving–Are Marketers?

Direct mail has been called a lot of things, but one thing marketers can’t say is that it doesn’t adapt to change.

On the contrary, Structural Graphics, a Connecticut-based marketing and design shop, has done plenty to demonstrate how easily it can combine its print resources with today’s technology; ultimately growing businesses with an interest in brand awareness, lead generation, retention, and loyalty.

The real question is, are marketers changing just as easily? While you ponder on that…

Structural Graphics has made a name for itself through amazing paper design and marketing services. Their campaigns have served many renown businesses like Victoria Secret, Marc Jacobs, Volkswagen and American Express.

 

What they’ve managed to pull off quite well is a healthy integration between brilliant paper design and technology.

 

“Ultimately, we want to be the driving force to technology. You can create a website, but you still need to drive them there. Sending them something in print is a great way to do that,” says Structural Graphics’ Director of Marketing, Heather Ertel.

 

Technology in Direct Mail

The web drivers that design shops like Structural Graphics employ lead customers to personalized digital content direct from print and promotional pieces. The exchange creates customer interaction, which holds more weight in memory and meaning to the consumer and the brand.

 

There are several types of web drivers out there; web keys (they look like small thumb drives), quick response and augmented reality codes (QR & AR codes), and personalized URLS are a few that have adapted print marketing to its digital counterpart.

 

How do these devices work?

Web keys look like flash drives, but unlike flash drives, they have little room for data. They serve only as a guide that connects to the user’s web browser and directs them to a personalized URL.

 

QR codes look a lot like UPC barcodes, but hold much more information (like links and geo-data). Users access the content stored in the codes through smartphones, which have free software applications that scan and interpret the data.

 

QR codes generally direct users to a website. There are several online QR generators that can easily and quickly create a code based on a URL. These codes can then be incorporated into the design of a print piece.

 

AR Codes work similarly to a QR code except that they don’t direct users to a landing page; instead, the content appears as a live graphic or multimedia that simulates the activity happening in the print piece. For example, a print promotion for a knee device could include  an AR code that shows a three dimensional demonstration of the medical device in action.

 

Personalized URLs are trackable URLs that have the recipients name in the web address and direct them to a custom webpage, authenticating the information for that recipient.

 

So what does this mean?

As interest in letterpress and paper design resurges, marketers can confidently integrate print marketing into their digital strategies. These measurable integrated campaigns can help  grow a business’ customer base and promote products and services. They also give marketers a chance to showcase their business’ design and marketing creativity.

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