intelligent mail barcode
Think you’re being more effective by switching from traditional to digital media? Especially in the 18–34-year-old demographic? Think again! A study from ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting, suggests that 1:1 printing may be more effective even among this coveted age group.
A study titled “Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice,” ICOM surveyed over 2500 U.S. and 2200 Canadian households. It found that consumers overwhelmingly preferred to learn about marketing offers via print media than online sources.
While we might expect this from older consumers, this survey targeted 18–34-year-olds. In every category surveyed (with the exception of travel), these younger, more tech-savvy consumers overwhelmingly preferred print over online media for marketing communications.
Why? One reason is trust. According to the survey, 36% of U.S. respondents across all age groups trust the mail more than email. In a previous edition of the survey, 19% said online information “can’t be trusted.” This time, the percentage increased to 25%.
By contrast, the intentional, highly targeted use of personalization in print is non-intrusive and the relevance is clear.
|Type of Offer||Prefer Mail||Prefer Online|
Source: “Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice” (ICOM)
It took an ad campaign to sell Americans on its value
From Time.com – By Josh Sanburn @joshsanburnJuly 01, 20130
1963 was a momentous year in America: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington and, somewhat less heralded by all but the most fervent postal historians, the ZIP code was introduced.
Since its founding in 1775, the post office relied on hand sorting based on local addresses to get mail where it was supposed to go. A piece of mail often went through 10 postal workers before making it to its recipient. But by the 1940s, the then-named Post Office Department realized its sorting system was not keeping pace with the growing population of the country it served.
In 1943, as a way to streamline mail sorting for the biggest American cities, the post office began placing one and two digit numbers between the city and the state to help clerks wade through the increasing volume of mail, which was then around 20 million pieces per year.
By the early 1960s, the post-war population boom and continued western growth led to even greater use of the postal service. Mail volume doubled between 1943 and 1962, putting further pressure on the post office to sort mail efficiently. On July 1, 1963, on the recommendation of an internal advisory board, the post office introduced the Zone Improvement Plan Code, which divided the entire country into coded delivery areas. The first two or three numbers told carriers to which states mail was being sent. More populous regions like New York were given five digit numbers starting with 10-14, for example, whereas less populous areas like Montana received five-digit numbers. These new ZIP codes helped the post office better pinpoint where mail was headed while allowing it to expand machine-based sorting systems that could quickly read digits. But many Americans were reluctant to adopt the new system.
“People were concerned they were being turned into numbers,” says Jennifer Lynch, a U.S. Postal Service historian. “They thought it was depersonalizing them.”
To get people on board, the post office began an extensive marketing campaign centered around Mr. ZIP, a friendly looking cartoon mail carrier. A folk group called The Swingin’ Six sang about ZIP Code usage in a lengthy public service announcement video. “Put ZIP in your mail” ran in magazines across the country, including TIME, while a series of short TV ads showed postal workers drowning in a sea of letters and used slogans like “Only you can put ZIP in your postal system.”
Evidently the ads were persuasive. In 1966, three years after ZIP Codes were introduced, 50% of Americans said they used ZIP Codes. By 1969, 83% said they did, according to a 1969 study conducted by Roper Research Associates.
In 1983, the post office expanded the ZIP Code to nine digits to identify which side of the street the mail was being delivered to, as well as particular office buildings. Today, ZIP codes are translated into “automation-readable barcodes” that are placed on pieces of mail when sorted and contain 31 digits of information that tell the post office everything from whether it was presorted, if the mail is first-class or a periodical, and even which business sent it. It also allows the U.S.P.S. to track virtually every letter and package around the country.
The post office estimates that increased efficiencies for both large mailers and the postal service itself add almost $10 billion of value to the U.S. economy a year.
Today, 50 years after the ZIP code debuted, the postal service’s Office of the Inspector General is recommending that they be linked to digital geographic information systems based on latitude and longitude to further increase delivery accuracy. This time, however, Mr. ZIP will stay in retirement.
One of the topics we are hearing a lot about these days is drip marketing. Drip marketing is the practice of conveying your message by sending gentle marketing touches over time rather than trying to hit your customers or prospects with a single offer all at once. Especially when paired with cross-media marketing, the results can knock it out of the park.
Here’s how it works.
One marketer wanted to increase sales to affluent customers, so working closely with its print production and marketing partners, it devised a three-step, cross-channel marketing campaign that would build name recognition, develop trust, and bring in sales.
In its first phase, the company sent an eye-catching, high-gloss trifold mailer that would grab attention inside the mailbox. Once recipients opened the mailer, they were greeted with name personalization, highly relevant text, and a personalized URL that allowed them to enter an email address and download a free, high-value white paper, as well as fill out an optional survey giving the marketer more insight into their individual needs.
The second mailing went only to people who did not respond to the first. This phase capitalized upon the name recognition built by the initial contact, but the styling of the mailer was tweaked to differentiate the two. Like the first mailing, the piece included a personalized URL that allowed recipients to download a white paper and fill out an optional survey.
After the second mailing, the marketer was swamped with responses — so much so that the third mailing was delayed for several weeks so that the response team could keep up.
In the third phase, the names of those who responded to the first two mailings were removed from the list. For this mailer, the marketer used an invitation-style A7 envelope with full-color brochure insert, personalized note, and personalized URL. To sweeten the pot, respondents were offered the chance to win a sporting package or high-end coffee brewing system.
The results? The company exceeded its sales goals by 400% and achieved more than 1400% ROI!
What made this program such a success? This marketer understood that, especially when mailing to a new list and prospect base, sometimes it takes more than one contact to build name recognition and trust. Each piece builds upon the next, and in the end, you gain results not possible with a single marketing touch.
Want to tap into the power of drip marketing to reach new customers and cross-sell to existing ones? Give us call, 215.464.0111 OR EMAIL LFormica@fmidm.com.