Explaining Digital Direct Mail and Its Benefits

08 April 2020 / By Mike Gunderson
Explaining Digital Direct Mail and Its Benefits on gundersondirect.com
Reading time: 4 minutes

With digital direct mail, you can make print mail as personalized and targeted as any digital ad or email.

The first known example of direct mail marketing comes from 1000 BC when an affluent Egyptian landowner created an offer and distributed it throughout his local area. There are other examples of merchants carving their prices into stone and distributing them, too, so the method has a long history.

The printing press changed everything. With the ability to turn out quick, physical ads by the thousands, brands could finally get their messages in the hands of a broader customer base. No method of print advertising has been more successful than direct mail. It’s the best way to put physical marketing messages in the hands of your target customers wherever they live

Digital direct mail is the next step in the evolution of this form of marketing. Combing data-driven marketing with the latest printing technology makes it possible to create personalized materials on a mass scale with a single printer.

Here’s what you need to know about digital direct mail and how it can benefit your marketing.

What is digital direct mail?

Digital direct mail involves sending traditional mail pieces created using digital printing technology, altering the workflow and process used to create each piece. While the idea and capability to do variable printing isn’t new, today’s digital printing presses allow variable data to be used in many new ways. It’s becoming more prevalent and changing how marketers approach direct mail.

With digital direct mail, you can make print mail as personalized and targeted as you could a digital ad or email.

Before starting any direct mail campaign, you should gather as much data as possible about the recipients to inform your creative. Addresses and names of potential customers are essential, of course, but digital direct mail allows you to leverage demographic and behavioral information in ways that were once reserved for online marketing, such as customizing images and messaging for each individual recipient.

For example, a direct mail piece advertising trips to Las Vegas could feature different casinos in its art and offers that cater to the specific profile of each recipient.

From there, you enter the information into a spreadsheet and print your marketing material with variable fields that are mapped to specific areas on the design template (whether those are text fields or different images to be used). These variables will be different for each mailpiece and speak directly to individual customers. This allows brands to do things like reference the last purchase a recipient made or a recent website visit.

Direct digital mail also automates this customized printing process, eliminating steps and making the entire job easy for any marketing department.

The old way of doing things

Before digital direct mail came to the forefront, the customization process was far more tedious. Offset printers would create many identical copies of the initial marketing material, leaving blank spaces for personalization.

From there, you’d take the material to a second printer — usually laserjet or inkjet, not too dissimilar to an office printer — which you’d use to add the customized information. But this was an expensive process, and these printers were often limited to adding text information like name and address information. The final product seldom matched the quality of offset lithography.

Digital printing eliminates the second step in this process and allows digitally personalized mail to be created at a universally high print quality, and that can include individualizing both text and images. You print your material once, and it comes out with all your variable information ready to go and looking just as good as the rest of the document.

How digital direct mail saves time and money

Of course, digital direct mail saves printers a lot of time by cutting out the second step in the printing process, which means digital direct mail is affordable for a lot more types of campaigns than the personalization techniques of old.

The process is also much faster than the old way, which may save money (depending on the quantity and quality of what’s being printed) and allows you to get your message to market faster. This is essential if you’re including any kind of behavioral trigger, such as recent website visits.

Starting your campaign

If you’re ready to take your direct mail to the next level, Gunderson Direct is here to assist. We have cutting-edge digital printers and a team of digital printing experts who know how to make sure every aspect of your digital direct mail campaign looks amazing and performs great. We can also help source the data for personalization and handle the digital design process for you. Tell us what you want to accomplish, and we’ll help you make it happen.

Contact us for more information on how Gunderson Direct can help get your digital direct mail campaign off the ground and to learn about our digital printing techniques.

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About The Author

Mike Gunderson

Mike Gunderson is the founder of Gunderson Direct, Inc., a direct marketing agency that helps businesses drive new leads and close more sales through traditional offline channels, especially direct mail.

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