Digital marketing is a testament to Marc Andreessen’s famous observation that “software is eating the world.” Without question, digital marketing has made great advances over the past ten years and continues on its path to dominate the marketing industry. In fact, marketing has already been so transformed that a key person within modern a marketing organization is the CMT: Chief Marketing Technologist and considerably more attention is been paid to the “marketing technology stack” thanks to keen industry observers like Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec.com.
The advance of digital marketing has led to a palpable divide within the broader marketing industry that can be readily seen at conferences. Attendees at digital marketing conferences tend to be from a younger generation that has been immersed in the digital world from birth. These people are tech-savvy, fast-paced, and used to constant change as software updates and technology advances move them forward. Many have moved from company to company within relatively short periods of time. Most know little about direct mail and many see it as costly, irrelevant and an antiquated form of marketing.
Attendees at direct mail conferences tend to be from an older generation whose lives have also consisted of incredible technological change but at an earlier point in time. They watched as the world moved from analog to digital and their experiences have been more physical in many ways. Their younger years were more regimented and included rituals like opening a real mail box every day when arriving home from work. They moved around less frequently and the majority of their careers have been with one or two marketing companies. Faced with the digital marketing advances, many have needed to work harder to be perceived as relevant.
The divide is about to disappear forever.
The Impact of Innovation
With its new Informed Delivery™ service, the USPS® is changing the very nature of direct mail to inherently include a digital component. This will change what it means when we talk about a direct mail campaign and it will also impact digital marketing. In the near future, digital marketers will not be able to ignore direct mail any longer because competitors will leverage Informed Delivery’s replacement and ride-along images plus the social or web URL’s available to them to drive greater campaign effectiveness. For years now, direct mail providers have been asked “What can you do to help me with my digital marketing campaign?” Soon, digital marketers will be asked “What can you do to help me with my direct mail campaign?”
Informed Delivery from the USPS® is a game-changer. It's unique because it's an integrated digital-physical platform that allows marketers to develop an authentic, humanized, physical connection with consumers.
New Opportunities for Digital Marketers
Compelling opportunities will come as Informed Delivery™ adoption increases. With an email open rate of 75% within two hours of receipt of the daily Informed Delivery™ email, digital marketing is being brought to a new frontier – direct mail.
Because of Informed Delivery™, digital marketers who embrace direct mail will have the opportunity to realize first mover and early adopter advantages which include:
- Market differentiation and the distinction of offering a comprehensive digital-physical solution.
- The reputation of being a unique brand strategy competency center.
- The ability to influence theUSPS® and shape the development of future USPS® digital initiatives.
More About Informed Delivery™
Following two years of testing and development, the USPS® launched Informed Delivery™. Now, businesses and organizations of any size sending direct mail pieces via 1st Class Mail® or Standard Mail® can also submit two images and a web link to the USPS® to be included in email that consumers sign-up to receive on a daily basis. Emails are sent to recipients every morning.
The Informed Delivery™ service delivers a well-organized page that lets users scroll and view an image of physical mail soon to be delivered to their residence. To ensure maximum email deliverability, the content displays images of the first 10 pieces only. However, if more is physical mail is actually being delivered; subscribers can click a link that takes them to a private and personal Informed Delivery™ dashboard to view everything.
The default image of mailing pieces provided by the USPS® is a grayscale photograph of the address side taken during automated mail processing. However, businesses and organizations can supplement and even replace this grayscale image with full color images that do not even have to be from the physical mail piece. In addition, organizations can submit a URL to any website, landing page or social site. The content becomes part of the Informed Delivery™ email and dashboard. This combination of the direct mail piece and Informed Delivery™ content comprises the “Embedded Coordinated Campaign.”