Printers that offer mail fulfilment services need to be aware of what’s happening in the industry and adapt as necessary. That doesn’t just mean bringing in a new printer, but understanding what changes are coming from customers and how their behaviours are changing.
As the UK’s leading independent supplier of postal mail preparation equipment for over 25 years, AMS Mailing Systems have listed the top 6 postal direct mail trends occurring in 2020.
Trend 1. The Growth of Hyper Personalisation
Hyper personalisation is the evolution of personalisation, it differentiates from standard personalisation as it is more advanced. Insight driven marketing such as using data analytics, buying behaviour, website browsing history and mobile app behaviour (to name just a few) can provide mail recipients with a highly personalised direct mail experience.
For hyper personalisation to be done well, having the right variable digital printers and software are essential. This allows companies to tailor each and every direct mail on a one-to-one basis. Companies that require copy, offers, and even images to be altered, based on each person in their list can easily have their requirement met using a direct mail printing company geared up for this growth.
Trend 2. More Focus on Speed-to-Market Printing
Effective mail preparation processes and the time it takes for mail to land on recipients doorsteps can really help to increase businesses response rates and build brand recognition.
Speed-to-market in a world where consumers are now accustomed to interacting with brands nearly in real-time across multiple channels can be challenging for direct mail printers, especially as postal mail will never be as instant as online marketing. Not having the right tools for customer demands and failure to adapt is one of the biggest mistakes a business can make.
For example, to send out unwrapped mail such as glossy brochures and folded leaflets, an envelope and cover sheet is not required. This means printing, addressing and mailing can be processed quickly. However, if mailers need to secure this type of mail, ensuring the contents is kept intact, a tabbing machine is required (this adds small paper tabs to the unwrapped mail). Without a tabbing machine, the mail process could be severely delayed as tabs would need to be applied by hand.
Trend 3. More Environmentally Conscious Consumers
There are many ways printers are making their direct mail more environmentally friendly. As well as using paper sourced from sustainable forests or recycled paper, the latest trend is to wrap direct mail in compostable film rather than recyclable film. Compostable film is not only 100% environmentally friendly but it appeals to consumers, improves brand awareness and provides a competitive advantage against other materials that are not so sustainable.
An additional benefit once the wrap has been composted is that it returns vital nutrients to the soil, it also has the benefit of improving soil structure, reducing the risk of floods. With this in mind it’s no wonder three-quarters of shoppers across Europe prefer to buy from companies that use environmentally friendly packaging (according to a 2018 research from leading data provider IRI). That’s already a significant amount of customers and the figure is only likely to increase as younger generations are educated in an era of increased environmental awareness.
This highly sought after environmentally friendly way of mailing is continuing to grow and this will only become more valuable in the future as it is in everyone’s interests.
Trend 4. Customer Acquisition through Partially Addressed Mail
Partially addressed mail targets potential customers by using postcode data rather than personal data. This new way of targeting prospects is GDPR compliant and is mostly used by Government, TV / Broadband, Utilities and Property advertisers.
According to a survey by the JICMAIL (Joint Industry Committee for Mail), mail addressed to Householder or Occupier prompts a commercial action in 26% of recipients compared to 31% of direct mail and 10% of door drops.
AMS’s range of addressing and data printers are an ideal option for this type of mail, offering outstanding speed, performance and value for money.
Trend 5. An Emphasis on Building Customer Loyalty
Loyal customers contribute some of the highest amounts of revenue to businesses, so no wonder long-term brand building continues to be a focus in 2020 and companies continue to find new ways to build loyalty.
When using direct mail to build loyalty, companies usually offer personal discounts, sales and loyalty schemes. For this to be done well and clear, accurate data printing is essential – the variable information printed on a mailing is arguably as important as its contents.
New research also shows that 52% of loyal customers will join a loyalty program and one way businesses can improve loyalty is by mailing membership cards. AMS supply card attaching systems and software for this type of direct mail which enables the printing, attaching, folding, inserting and sealing to be done in the same process.
Trend 6. Focus on Consumer Privacy and GDPR
Repeated privacy faux-pas and security breaches by some big online brands lead to the release of their customer details in 2019. This has highlighted to consumers that their data isn’t as safe as they may have once thought. According to a report from Quadrangle, 70% of UK consumers are uncomfortable with how brands use their data.
In 2020 we’ll see a further focus on trust as businesses recognise that they need to respect the privacy of consumers and ensure that they are authentic. Communications that consumers perceive as untrustworthy are likely to be ignored – while GDPR means that companies could face damaging fines or reputational damage for inappropriate targeting.
Industry research shows that direct mail is still widely considered to be both a highly trustworthy and authoritative method of engagement with 87% of consumers regarding it as believable. As companies deal with more data across more channels, protecting personal information according to these regulations will remain a priority.
Direct mail still plays a vibrant, innovative part in businesses marketing strategies. Personalisation, data management and cutting-edge technologies like production inkjet printing will continue to shape the evolution of direct mail, allowing printers to meet the ever growing demands of their customers.
Printers that don’t respond to these direct mail changes brought about by innovation are likely to miss out on opportunities. However, those willing to experiment and push the limits will be well-positioned for success, not just in 2020, but for many years to come.