Direct mail’s new dawn

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By Eiji Ota

During the pandemic, brands turned to direct mail as a way to target customers in their own homes

Direct mail has been around for as long as most of us can remember, but this marketing channel has gained renewed relevance in the post-pandemic era. During the pandemic, brands turned to direct mail as a way to target customers in their own homes. A number of brands’ direct mail campaigns really delivered the goods, from Sky using door drops to entice ex-customers to renew their TV subscription services, to furniture retail giant IKEA encouraging loyalty club members to opt in for more timely offers and local deals. In these cases, direct mail demonstrated its ability to deliver business outcomes that matter – whether that’s through more engagement, registrations, leads or sales.

This increase in demand is continuing to create new commercial opportunities for print service providers (PSPs), and direct mail will continue to grow over the next couple of years[1]. That’s why it’s crucial to be having conversations with customers about how to boost the effectiveness of their direct mail to maximise their return on investment (ROI).

Here are three ways to make a compelling case for printed direct mail:

  • Direct mail can be used at multiple touchpoints – What is your customer trying to achieve with direct mail? At which points along the buying journey does it make sense to target consumers with this medium, if other online communication is also used? Direct mail can be used at the start, middle or end of a buyer’s journey – or across all three points. In the example mentioned above, Sky used direct mail to re-engage with ex-customers, so effectively restarting a buyer journey. IKEA used different touchpoints for long-standing customers only.
  • Take the production pain away by automatically triggering direct mail – Many brands still aren’t sure how to link offline and online communications’ activity to demonstrate campaign ROI. Integrating marketing automation solutions, such as HubSpot or Salesforce, can have a positive impact, ensuring that consumers are targeted as soon as they have shown interest – to drive a sale, or, in the case of IKEA, only targeting its most loyal customers. And there are now workflow software tools available, such as Quadient Inspire and OL Connect that take specific data sets and trigger print production automatically.
  • Test for increased ROI – and be more sustainable at the same time – Suggest using digital print on demand for segmented testing to gauge effectiveness with specific age groups or areas of interest. Trialling different creatives and messages to see which achieves the best response from individual audience segments allows the brand owner to tweak their campaign for maximum impact. And this approach reduces waste, so it stands to become more prevalent as brands look to adopt environmentally sustainable marketing practices.

Dire awn is here and it’s time to champion the advantages of personalised digital print to cut through with consumers and solve a whole range of business challenges for brands. But, as Keypoint Intelligence states, these applications “cannot grow if they are not sold as a strategic communication and marketing enabler versus a printed product based on specs and price”[2]. By bringing expert insights to your customer conversations around direct mail and nurturing a more collaborative discussion around effectiveness and impact, you’ll deliver a better return on their marketing investment, solidifying and even increasing their commitment to print and stimulating future growth for your business.

About Canon Central and North Africa:
Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) is a division within Canon Middle East FZ LLC (CME), a subsidiary of Canon Europe. The formation of CCNA in 2015 was a strategic step that aimed to enhance Canon’s business within the Africa region – by strengthening Canon’s in-country presence and focus. CCNA also demonstrates Canon’s commitment to operating closer to its customers and meeting their demands in the rapidly evolving African market.

Canon has been represented in the African continent for more than 15 years through distributors and partners that have successfully built a solid customer base in the region. CCNA ensures the provision of high quality, technologically advanced products that meet the requirements of Africa’s rapidly evolving marketplace. With over 100 employees, CCNA manages sales and marketing activities across 44 countries in Africa.

Canon’s corporate philosophy is Kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’. CCNA pursues sustainable business growth, focusing on reducing its own environmental impact and supporting customers to reduce theirs using Canon’s products, solutions and services. At Canon, we are pioneers, constantly redefining the world of imaging for the greater good. Through our technology and our spirit of innovation, we push the bounds of what is possible – helping us to see our world in ways we never have before. We help bring creativity to life, one image at a time. Because when we can see our world, we can transform it for the better.