The “Trends and Future of Direct Mail Through 2020” study identifies verticals using direct mail, utilization of new technologies including variable data printing, QR codes, URLs, augmented reality, 3D and more. The study also delves into changes in manufacturing technology, the role of ‘big data’ and supply chain needs. Additionally, the research explores end-user (brand owner) perspectives on: direct mail vs. other marketing media, response rates, and generational reach differences; drivers for utilizing direct mail including cost, quality, timing; and, other newly identified drivers.
According to the PRIMIR study findings, the majority of printers anticipate growth in their direct mail volume over the next few years, and also digital print volume to increase driven by innovations in color and inkjet. Key market trends they noted were: digital color printing, targeting and personalization, industry consolidation, and multi-channel communication. Among the toughest challenges they identified were: price pressure, postage cost increases, and the level of investment required to remain competitive. On the upside, they viewed personalization, postage expertise, and greater automation as their best business opportunities. Interestingly, providers project that non-print services will account for nearly half of their revenue in three years.
Although more direct marketing dollars are being funneled to online and mobile channels, companies remain highly committed to direct mail. They insist direct mail is one of their most effective channels and, for most, direct mail maintains a prominent share of their direct marketing budget. While mailers are just beginning to wrap their arms around integrated marketing, using more digital channels, their use of digital media has not negatively impacted their view or use of direct mail.
Direct mail has experienced growth over the past two years, a trend expected to continue in the years ahead as the print industry continues to evolve. However, printing firms will continue to face unique new challenges. Postal expertise will be the primary value-add for solidifying a printer’s role in effectively implementing customers’ direct mail campaigns.