Print+Promo 2020 State of the Industry Report: Why More Marketers are Turning to Direct Mail
Print+Promo remains committed to providing the best news and resources we can for you during these unprecedented times. For Print+Promo’s 2020 State of the Industry Report, we dug deep to measure print industry health, learn more about the major issues currently affecting the print industry, and find answers to questions, like: Which verticals are poised for growth?
As part of our investigation, we reached out to experts in various market segments: printed forms, labels, promotional products and direct mail. Below is an excerpt from my conversation with Summer Gould, president of Eye/Comm Inc., Santee, Calif. Find out what she had to say about the current state of direct mail, new enhancements and where marketers fall short.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the direct mail sector?
Summer Gould: Things are looking up for direct mail in 2020. Marketers have noticed that a digital-only strategy does not work as well as one that includes direct mail and digital. We expect direct mail campaigns to increase this year. The main problem right now is that Congress refuses to take on postal reform in order to get the post office into a good financial situation. The farther down the rabbit hole they go, the harder it will be to keep postage at a reasonable rate. The higher postage rates go, the less people mail, which ultimately hurts not only mail service providers, but also the post office.
What types of direct mail enhancements are drawing attention in 2020?
SG: There are two that stand out as on the rise this year. The first one is coatings. There are so many different coating options depending on what feel you are going for—from velvet to rubber—you can make your direct mail feel different. The second is endless folds. These pieces are super fun to unfold. As each panel is flipped, a new message appears. Curiosity builds as the folds turn, so people end up going through the folds more than once.
Direct mail has been benefiting from the growing ability to personalize. But with more personalization comes more data, which means commercial and direct mail printers will need to be increasingly aware of data security. What steps need to be taken to ensure that the privacy and integrity of the information these campaigns and brands are generating remains secure?
SG: You must have firewalls and other security measures in place to protect the data. When the data is no longer needed, you should delete it. Do not keep old data files. Limit access to the data to only employees who need it. Change passwords regularly, and monitor access to the files that can be logged for reference later.
Where are marketers falling short?
SG: Direct mail works great with technology. Marketers have been slow to embrace and integrate technology into their direct mail pieces. At its basic, you can use a QR code to be scanned and sent to a web page, but the real integration creates an experience that drives engagement and purchases. Augmented reality is a great way to bring direct mail to life and create a powerful, fun experience. Direct mail no longer needs to be just print on paper—you can make it so much more.
Based on past trends, what are your expectations for the short-term future of direct mail?
SG: This year will be a busy mail season between both election mail and advertising mail. Get the most out of your direct mail with personalization and integration with technology for a unique experience your customers and prospects will respond to.
Please note: News about the novel coronavirus is changing quickly. As we finalized our 2020 Print+Promo State of the Industry Report, there were different statistics compared to when you are reading this, as forecasts did not account for COVID-19’s profound effect on the economy.