One of the hottest topics in the industry these days is the integration of technology with mail. Print is a fabulous carrier of technology, so it’s a great thing to be talking about. There can be a tremendous upside to using current technologies in your mailings, but that’s not what I feel like writing about.
Hooray for QR codes and PURLs, NFC, VDP, marketing automation and augmented reality! Don’t get me wrong, it’s all really great stuff —stuff that’s been written about in lots of other places. If I wrote about what these technologies are and what they do, I wouldn’t be telling you anything new.
What I’d rather do is ask an important question: Are you ready to leverage technology with mail? You see, it’s one thing to want to be cutting edge or to get excited about doing something new and interesting. It’s hard not to get excited about some of these things. However, what I see a lot is the use of technology without any real strategy or follow-through. For example:
The QR code that doesn’t go to a mobile-friendly site. Very frustrating.
Lame augmented reality. What I mean by this is, if they’re going to go through the effort to download an app and scan a code, it really should be a pretty cool experience. No letdowns allowed.
PURLs without purpose. The point of a PURL is to lead individuals to a sale or to get information from them. Make sure if you send them there, you’re going to get something trackable and beneficial from it. “Traffic” isn’t enough.
Personalization that feels forced, rather than personal. This one is a bit subjective, but I think we’ve all received the personalized mailer that actually feels a bit ridiculous in its desperate plea for our attention. It’s as if the marketer asked themselves, “How can we work the name “Trish” into 18 places so she feels loved and buys our stuff?” Guess what? Not feeling the love. Feeling embarrassed for you instead.
So, my word of advice for everyone is make sure you’re looking at these technologies with strategy in mind. Why are you choosing a particular technology? Is your audience appropriate or likely to use it? How can it help you sell? How can you generate valuable information from using the technology? Can the technology enhance the customer experience in any way? Do you have the time and/or the budget to do it right? Have you tested all of the steps and scenarios that could come up as a result of using the technology? I know it’s a lot to think about, but if you can feel good about the answers to these questions, you’ll be good to go!
Remember: Adding direct mail to a marketing campaign increases return on investment by 20%! If you'd like to learn more about how to integrate mail with technology successfully and see first hand through case studies, please download the Analyzing The Success of a Marketing Campaign.