How Digital is Changing Direct Mail


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How Digital is Changing Direct Mail

  1. 1. Sept/Oct 2011How Digital is Changing Direct Mailby Tony Fraga that there is a clear call-to-action in for production. This is typically done each channel of your campaign, AND in InDesign with multiple layersDirect mail is still a fundamental the call-to-action is the same (or very corresponding to major art changesplayer in today’s multi-channel similar) across channels. Your donor/ for specific segments, and all textfundraising world. However, it is prospect should be able to tell within variables included in a mannerimportant to understand how direct 5 seconds of experiencing a mailing, similar to setting up a merge for laser-mail is changing – and that this is a email, text message, website, or personalization in Microsoft Word.good thing for Catholic fundraising. social media promotion, that it is a part of the same campaign that youTraditional direct mail (and by“traditional” I mean “last decade”) have communicated via other media #2 Combine Printing & Mailing channels. Digital printing technologies into a Single Production Processhas primarily been “a single message allow organizations to produce direct With traditional printing you haveto many people,” with small amounts mail campaigns that are both highly separate printing and mailingof personalization, usually limited to personalized and effectively integrated processes. With VDP you can printa personalized salutation and some with other media channels. everything – including the mailingsuggested gifts based on a donor’s information and barcodes – all inprevious giving history. Today’s direct Here are 4 reasons to consider one pass. If you’re doing a lettermail is much more dynamic, thanks converting your traditional direct mail package you may still have someto the advantages of Variable-Data package into a dynamic, digitally- static elements, such as envelopes,Printing (VDP) and other digital produced, highly-personalized, cross- but you can save time and reducetechnologies. You now have the ability media promotion: production costs on personalizedto easily and affordably produce letters, brochures, newsletters, or“many messages to many people.” any sort of self-mailer. And sinceThis means you can develop copyand content that is relevant to each #1 Change Copy and Images on the mailing data is being setup at the Fly one time along with the artwork forspecific segment and pertinent to each With VDP technology you can change the mailpiece, your overall postageindividual constituent. the text, photos, and other full-color costs can be reduced because you are graphics on each individual print processing all segments at one time inWhile gathering more copy and piece. That means that you can send one production run (i.e., your mailingcontent may create a bit more work a very specific message to a unique might qualify for better automationin the initial stages of campaign segment of your donors/prospects, and discounts), instead of doing separateplanning, the benefits of this work completely change that message for a batches for each segment. You are alsoare well worth the extra effort. different sub-set of your constituents – reducing costs by eliminating separateIn today’s multi-media infused all within one postal presort. This can laser-personalization or ink-jetworld, it is more important to send be especially helpful when crafting production processes that are typicallyhighly personalized and relevant different messages to lapsed donors, separate mailshop functions.communications than ever before low-end active donors, mid-level– especially if, in addition to your donors, major donors, and prospectivedirect mail, you are communicating donors. You can essentially change #3 Digital Technology hasacross other channels such as email, Improved Tremendously the entire look and feel of the packageweb, mobile and social media. Any Not too long ago digital printing was to be appropriate for each respectiveworthwhile multi-channel campaign only cost-effective for very small segment of your audience, while stillmust be well integrated. That means quantities and package sizes. Today’s creating a single graphics package
  2. 2. digital printing presses are capable code. QR Codes are 2-dimensional, Direct mail can be used to encourageof printing in much larger formats square barcodes that can hold much your constituents to engage with youand therefore can be cost-effective more information than a traditional via new and increasingly emergingon quantities between 50k – 100k barcode. They are scanned using a media channels. Here is a short listpieces depending on size (some smartphone with a barcode reader of ideas for how to use direct mail todigital presses now have sheet sizes application. They typically take drive multi-channel responses:up to 26 inches wide!) and versions. respondents to view a website, aPrint quality has also improved so video, share contact information, Print personalized QR Codes thatmuch that many people cannot tell calendar events, or anything that can direct constituents to a mobile-the difference between a letter that be hosted on a website. In a recent optimized landing sitehas been printed digital vs. offset. article in Deliver magazine, the U.S.Additionally, paper stocks for digital Postal Service stated, “Many brands Promote “Text-to-Give” or “Text-presses have improved along the same are finding that including a barcode to-Win” campaignslines and some digital presses can on mail increases the response ratenow print on card stock up to 14PT. and helps drive customers to take Use campaign-specific landingThe only disadvantage is that digital immediate action.” sites with Personalized URLspresses cannot print PMS colors – the (PURLs) as the call-to-actionbest they can do is a CMYK match Many organizations are already using(i.e., using 4-color process printing generic QR Codes in their direct Promote your organization’sto match a PMS color as closely mail. But where QR codes can offer Social Media identities (and offeras possible), and certain types of greater benefit (especially for non- an incentive to “like” and “follow”digital presses are much better at profit organizations) is when they you!)this than others. The bottom line is, are personalized to each recipient.if you haven’t taken a look at the Instead of sending a generic QR code Use Intelligent Mail Barcodescost-savings of VDP within the last 6 that takes all constituents to the same with tracking service thatmonths, you may want to check again. generic website, you can use VDP triggers individual emails to your(NOTE: Pricing among vendors can and Personalized URLs (PURLs) constituents when the mail piecevary significantly when it comes to to make unique QR codes for each is scanned at the postal facilityVDP – be sure to compare multiple person. This allows you to track closest to their home (i.e., thedigital printing providers.) responses down to each individual email lets them know to look for person so you can learn more about your package in their mailbox their preferences and behavior in “today or tomorrow”)#4 VDP Direct Mail Drives Online, response to your campaign. In otherMobile and Social Integration words, you can capture the names and [For organizations with localWhen someone uses the words contact information of a much broader audiences] Use VDP to print“digital” and “fundraising” together range of responders – from the most variable maps with turn-by-turnin the same sentence, most people interested donors to the people who are directions from each person’sstart thinking about online fundraising merely browsing and looking for more house to your closest donationtools (websites, social networks, information about your campaign. center, special event, or local, banners, e-blasts, etc.). Butit is important to remember that somuch of online traffic originates Check out DD’s other articlesfrom offline communications. This is and white papers at:arguably the most important reason to,convert your old, static direct mail into or scan the QR Code below.a more dynamic, highly-personalizedpackage. With variable-data printingyou have a wider range of cross-mediatools to incorporate in your direct mailcommunications. Tony Fraga is Director of Client Services atTake QR Codes, for example: just last Direct Development, an NCDC Corporate Partner, specializing in the production ofmonth the U.S. Postal Service gave integrated cross-media campaigns for non-a 3% postage discount for any direct profit organizations.mail campaign that included a QR