SOI Direct Mail: Building Stronger Connections on Paper
In the mid 1880s, when pioneers were just beginning to test the concept of direct mail, the French journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote‚ "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," which roughly translates to "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
This proverb seems appropriate as we think about the future of our industry. So often we focus on the changes: the technologies, the regulations, the market demands. Yet these changes do not affect reality on a deeper level. Consumers long for a connection. They want to be reached, recognized and understood. And no other medium can get in front of a consumer with the reliability and impact of a tangible mail piece.
Ten years from now, our industry will be different—and yes, the pace of change will only accelerate. However, as you consider the seven-point forecast below, chances are you will recognize yourself. If one thing is constant, it's that leaders in the print and mail industry will take advantage of every tool possible to deliver the most dynamic, most welcome, most personal communications.
Direct mailers will excel in these seven areas over the next 10 years:
1. Data-driven print. Offset printing and pre-printed stock will fade as the print and mail processes become even more integrated. Each mail piece will start as a plain piece of white paper, and every component, from the envelope to the letter and insert, will be digitally printed and assembled as part of a single in-line operation. Software advancements will make it possible to optimize space, automatically making real-time decisions on page count and page layout based on the recipients' potential ROI.
Some production houses have already invested in these capabilities, but in the years ahead everyone will need to become experts at monetizing data and intelligence.