In a recent speech at the National Postal Forum, Megan Brennan, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service, promoted opportunities for the mailing industry to leverage the rapid adoption of digital and mobile technology by today’s consumers.
For the past 5+ years, every consumer trend report has pointed to the fact that sales and marketing communications will continue to converge on mobile devices and away from physical delivery of messages. While many marketers still find value in direct mail for some situations, it’s not surprising that Brennan is advancing the idea that direct mail can serve as a powerful complement to digital marketing campaigns and play a more prominent role in multi-channel marketing efforts. “When we extend that physical experience of mail into a mobile experience, mail delivers much greater value for the sender and receiver,” said Brennan.
Citing the technology advances that enable a piece of mail to launch a website, video, or an interactive experience with technologies like augmented reality and QR codes, the Postmaster General believes white mail can be a powerful tool for marketers to “spark product discovery and draw consumers into the digital ecosystem of their particular brand.”
Brennan also revealed that the Postal Service is developing a daily digital notification of mail to be delivered to customers. The project – known as “real mail notification” – is being piloted in Northern Virginia and enables consumers to use a mobile device to see what’s arriving in their physical mailbox. At TopRight, this brings back teary-eyed memories of the 1998 classic movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan – You’ve Got Mail! According to the Postmaster General, “We’re building this platform to bring physical content onto the same screen as the user’s digital content.” Brennan went on to assert that: ”The potential is enormous for this industry – because it will create a daily bridge from your mailed content to your digital ecosystem.” Brennan and the USPS continue to encourage the mailing industry to build on the “inherent strengths of direct mail”, including the “consistently high return“ (still just 1/2% to 2%!) that marketers gain from their investment in direct mail.
“That’s why the convergence of physical mail and digital experiences is a way of adding strength to strength,” said Brennan. In an unrelated, yet strangely familiar storyline, the Jimmy Hoffa search team cited the painfully obvious benefits of adding cement to shoes.
In her new role as the Postmaster General, Brennan also stated that she is committed to making needed investments in the organization’s infrastructure, workforce and technology. “We’re especially committed to investing taxpayer dollars in innovation to spur growth and profitability in this industry,” said Brennan.
So, what do you think? Is there still a place for direct mail in a mobile-enabled digital marketing world? Let us know your thoughts and as always #StayTopRight.