USPS Mail Innovations: 4 Brand Building Strategies
January 15, 2015 Categories: Branding, Customer Engagement, Digital Color, Emerging Technologies, Marketing, Reference Guide, USPS Updates Tags: augmented reality, direct mail, mail innovations, NFC, postal service programs, qr codes, USPS incentives, webkeys
4 Brand-Building Direct Mail Strategies
There are huge ROI benefits to making your direct mail more helpful and engaging. Whether they take the form of greater brand awareness, deeper customer connections, higher response rates, or good old postal discounts. We are going to review some strategies to improve your direct mail marketing campaign. Further, there are a few new USPS mail innovations that can take your direct marketing efforts to new heights.
According to the US Postal Service, there is an effective solution to handle this. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by integrating new and emerging technologies with your traditional printed mail. The USPS has been offering 2% mail-technology discounts. This includes integrations like QR codes, mobile coupons, and click-to-call barcodes. The USPS incentivizing companies for mailpiece creativity is nothing new.
What is new, however, are the emerging technologies that have become part of the conversation since the USPS released its latest list of USPS mail innovations. Firstly, some will be familiar to you. While others may seem implausible, impractical or even impossible. But with a little imagination, it’s easy to envision how these direct mail strategies and postage optimizations might attract attention and elevate your brand.
USPS Mail Optimization Categories and Examples
Currently, there are three categories of USPS mail innovations: Connected Mail, Electronic Mail, and Dimensional Mail. This post introduces the first type and provides a few examples. Subsequent posts will describe and discuss the other two categories.
Now take a moment to slip on your thinking cap. Consider your current marketing goals. What brand-building impact might these innovations might have with your customers and prospects. Invite your creative or marketing team to explore the possibilities with you.
What is Electronic Direct Mail?
The USPS defines this as mail that connects recipients to a digital experience using internet-enabled devices. People also refer to this class of mail as electronic direct mail. Of all the direct mail strategies and USPS mail innovations listed on the USPS Postal Pros, these are the most affordable and widely available. Examples of some new USPS tools include:
- Webkeys--A webkey is a small, secure, preprogrammed USB storage device that can be attached to physical mail. This can include documents like a postcard, brochure or insert. Webkeys can either direct users to a website, microsite, demo or social media destination, or display videos or documents. Companies like using webkeys because they work with or without an internet connection.
- Near Field Communication--This technology is also known as NFC. It turns a mobile device into an informational or promotional conduit. NFC allows for a passive electronic chip or tag to beam radio waves directly to the cell phone or tablet. According to a 2013 Mobile Path to Purchase study, 80% said they would consider using NFC to interact with a poster.
- Augmented Reality (AR)--For example, AR allows users to see and interact with previously static content. QR codes are scanned via a special app, on a mobile device. Like this Lexus print ad example. AR, by design, helps to enhance and extend your print campaign. AR offers a more memorable and engaging experience.
- QR Codes--This now commonly seen barcode consists of squares printed on letters, mailers and other collateral. Scanning the code on a mobile device can send users off to a specially targeted video, landing page or other content. Despite being around for a while, QR codes are still effective.