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Innovative Mail Technology Presentations Inspired and Educated Marketers at UW Forum

Mon, Oct 02, 2017

I recently attended our 2017 Open House & Forum, which featured two great presenters who spoke about the power of direct mail and the latest innovations in combining technology.  And it made me wonder...How many e-mails did you delete this morning, or any morning for that matter, with only looking at the subject line and sender? How easy was it? Was there much thought behind it?

Every day, our e-mail inbox is flooded with information. Many people may have two or even three e-mail accounts. Now, I would like for you to ask yourself, when is the last time that you threw away a physical, tangible, dynamic piece of mail without even opening it to discovering what is inside? If you are like 86% of Americans, you will pick up the mail and spend an average of 8.4 minutes sorting it at your very first opportunity. Is it not true that many will send a more personal, heartfelt, caring message in the mail rather than an e-mail? Imagine getting an e-mail from Mom of yet another cooking recipe. The subject line reads “Check Out These 10 Delicious Cookie Recipes”. What are the chances that the e-mail is saved? Now, what if Mom sends in the mail a handwritten cookie recipe with one of her famous baking masterpieces? Are you going to throw it away? I doubt it. You may even take that handwritten recipe and proudly display it on your refrigerator for all to see. Oh, the power of mail...

USPS' Irresistible: The Integration of Mail and Technology

On September 12th at our 2017 Open House & Forum, I had the pleasure of witnessing, along with a captivated audience of 80 or so other marketers, Coakley Workman, Manager Mail Innovations of the United States Postal Service, and Stephen Flood, CEO of Universal Wilde, present the very idea that mail is not dead, but is very much alive and is combining the latest innovations in data and mobile technology and what it can mean for marketers. 

As Stephen explained, "mail is the only channel that lets the marketer touch 100% of the target audience with a particular offer".  He also expressed the importance of brand recall; and that physical mail is 70% higher in brand recall than digital because it is easier to understand and remember. Coakley, through a variety of graphics, audience participation and videos showed how we all still respond well to mail. In fact, it is leading to purchasing decisions.  40% of consumers regularly make purchases because of the direct mail they’ve received. He also showed the audience many ways in which Irresistible Technology can be Integrated with Mailing Solutions to enhance the targeted consumer’s experience.

Coakley explained how new advancements in technology such as augmented reality, near field communication and QR code evolution are highlights of what marketers can incorporate into their direct mail piece. Let's explore three of these innovations in mail. For more information and examples regarding USPS Irresistible Mail, visit irresistiblemail.com.

1) Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Technology

Forbes projects that in 2020 the AR/VR market will reach $150 Billion. Eventually, marketers might be able to use AR/VR to create in-store experiences while the consumer is shopping at home. As Coakley stated "this virtual reality allows you to engage your customers with a simulating sensory journey that puts your brand front and center".

2) Near Field Communication (NFC) 
NFC is continuing to grow to allow mobile payment technologies become more and more commonplace. NFC is the "invisible bridge between your mail piece and the digital world. Embedded wireless NFC microchips empower your mail pieces with short-range radio waves that activate in the presence of an NFC-capable mobile phone. With a tap or a wave of their smartphone, and without ever downloading an app, your customers can seamlessly connect to your brand online."   
3) Quick Response (QR) Codes  
QR codes are also advancing, as they are no longer the stale boxy black and white bar codes, now they are even full color photo QR codes. In his presentation, Coakley showed technology integration that allowed a reader to use their smartphone to directly play an advertisement while scanning the physical mail piece. One of these examples included a piggy bank in which the reader could assemble a piggy bank from the direct mail piece (in this case a paper pig bank), scan the QR code and provide instant digital access to an app that links to a bank account where money saved by children could gain interest.
"Scanning a QR code with a smartphone can transport your customers into infinite digital spaces like your online store, or to an app, or even to a live stream of video content. The new generation of QR codes are designed to be sleek and unobtrusive. Frame your icon or logo with a dot-less QR code, or blend a visual QR code directly into your images to create mail that delivers high impact in both the physical and digital worlds." said Coakley.

So I'll leave you with this quote which impresses upon the impact that mail can have in your marketing spend, particularly when it is accompanied by new technologies which use all of the senses to provide quality marketing campaigns.

"Anything you print you can mail. Consumers value the 'Mail Moment': picking up, sorting and reading the mail; leverage this and it will add value to your marketing spend"              - Coakley Workman, USPS

Universal Wilde is a leading full-service provider of data-driven, technology-enabled marketing communications solutions. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for more news and insights.


Categories: marketing, direct mail, print marketing, direct mail conversions, Postal Service, Universal Wilde News, print industry, statistics






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