Direct Marketing Trends

Just as technology changed the way we communicate with friends and family, it continues to create new trends in Direct Marketing. When used correctly, these techniques will positively impact your campaign results.

Quick Response (QR) Codes

QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes (black-and-white pixel squares) that can be scanned and read by smart phones. And, they’re a bonanza for marketers. QR codes allow you to interact directly with your customers and prospects at anytime and anyplace

Smartphone enabled QR Codes are added to direct mail pieces, advertisements, billboards (on train and subway platforms), product labels, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, business cards, collateral material, coffee mugs, and even t-shirts.

Depending on how QRs are set up, a number of things can happen when they’re scanned. For example, prospects can get exclusive content, product demonstrations, video testimonials, and FAQs; be directed to a landing page from a direct mail piece or advertisement; get slideshows or sweepstakes entries; and register for free prizes and coupons.

What’s more, you can capture contact information: phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be added instantly to your contact list. You can even track repeat visitors, when and where your code was accessed, and what type of phone was used.

Adding Google Catalogs for iPads

iTunes describes iPad catalogs as, “A new, rich, and engaging way to interact with all your favorite catalogs.”

Users can flip through pages, save products, and create collages that can be shared with friends.

While some companies are doing away with print catalogs altogether, most are cutting back on print, and adding the digital versions. With increases in postage and printing costs, this is a great way to decrease marketing expenses, and increase ROI.

Sensory Direct Mailers

More marketers are integrating smell, touch, taste, sound, and even video into their mailers. Referred to as sensory appeal, this technique is significantly increasing response rates.

Sensory Direct Mailers are successful because when the senses are involved, the message is more memorable. Take, for example, smell. When aroma is used in a direct mail piece it can have a big impact. Why?

  1. 75 percent of our emotions are generated by what we smell, and
  2. The Sense of Smell Institute reports that people recall smells with 65 percent accuracy after a year. Visual recall drops to around 50% after three months.

Engage the Nose

Your prospects and customers can sample your product’s fragrance when you add scented coatings, papers, and scratch-and-sniff labels to mailers and ads. But, don’t feel that this method is only for those who sell fragrances.

A smell can be used to evoke an image or memory. According to the book Sensory Marketing by Bertil Hulten, scents can be an important component of a firm’s sensory marketing because scents have a close connection to our memory and well-being. Just imagine the smell of freshly brewed coffee. What are the memories associated with that smell? How does the smell of a new car make you feel? What about fresh-cut grass?

Michael Solomon states in his book, Sensory Marketing: Smells Like Profits, that ad companies spend about $80 million per year on scent marketing, and the Scent Marketing Institute estimates that number will reach more than $500 million by 2016.

Add Video

Instead of directing Direct Mail recipients to a website to watch a video, companies are now embedding a wafer-thin video player directly onto a mailer. This hot new technology, called video in print, allows your company to speak off line, directly, and immediately to your prospects. They can be used in a number of ways: to explain complex benefits, give a product demonstration, and use emotion to communicate brand messaging, to name just a few.

Involve the Taste Buds

Forget about sending out expensive samples. Flavor strips are an effective and economical way to allow your prospects to taste your product.

Connect through Touch

There are a number of clever ways to use touch. You can raise the print of an image or section of text; use paper with different textures; or even use other materials, like fabrics.

Dimensional Mailers

According to the 2010 Response Rate Report, Dimensional Mail gets the highest response rate of any direct response medium: 5.72 percent from current customers, and 3.59 percent from prospects.

The Direct Marketing Association defines Dimensional Mail as mail that’s more than .75 inches thick. It can be a box, tube, or any unusual shape that’s effective in peaking curiosity, and, more important, getting it opened.


Martin Lindstrom, Brand Sense

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