By Erwin Busselot, Director Business Innovation & Solutions, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe

Traditional direct mail continues to play a valuable role in customer communications, and in fact often acts as a vital link to digital engagement.

So says Keypoint Intelligence’s 2023 direct marketing communications primary research. It found business respondents appreciate the efficacy of direct mail and its enduring appeal among consumers.

The study to better understand how businesses’ direct marketing practices are changing over time also recognised that printed and digital communications can be combined for better engagement and an improved experience. It reported a strong majority of respondents (83%) always or frequently include a call to action with their printed direct mail to pull the recipient into a digital experience.

Consumers are also likely to be more engaged by an experience that is joined-up, consistent and leads somewhere. They want a combination of physical and digital channels too. In fact a YouGov survey found that 85% of British millennials and 82% of Gen Z preferred a blend of digital and physical channels.

It is now more important than ever for businesses and brands to enhance their marketing with cross media campaigns, while also developing a clearly targeted omnichannel strategy to capture consumers’ attention. This could also include working with professional influencers and expanding social media marketing.

Mail that can integrate seamlessly with digital channels as part of the customer journey achieves results – JICMAIL in Great Britain found that 70% of recipients have interacted online after receiving mail.

So, to get the best return for their budget and develop the most compelling campaign, businesses and brands will benefit by focusing on ways to better integrate media channels to share well considered, engaging and impactful communications.

Keypoint Intelligence highlighted three ways to achieve this:

1 Choose the best channel(s).

This is something that Royal Mail Marketreach highlighted when it identified the eight marketing trends every marketer needs to know in 2023. It said marketers and their agencies need to develop an optimised media model to best reach the audiences they want to influence. This means evaluating the unique role that each channel, from TV to email to direct mail, might play and understanding how they can reinforce and amplify each other.

2 Using customer data to personalise the message.

The more accurate the data about potential audiences and their behaviour that feeds into planning the more robust it will be. Ultimately preferences change and differ from one customer to the next. Getting this right increases positive customer experience and encourages continued loyalty. This is where businesses and brands should focus on knowing their audience and their individual needs. This enables them to deliver the right communications, in the right format, at the right time, and with the right frequency.

3 Maintain consistency across all channels.

Accurate data can also help ensure the correct information is applied across all channels while versatile software can create uniform content that can be shared on all media.

Also helping blend the on and offline worlds are printed QR codes. Following their wide use during the pandemic, QR codes and Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities are increasingly being employed to navigate between physical and online channels for a more seamless customer journey.

Eye catching colour saturated and data rich communications that support an omnichannel approach can be produced on Ricoh high speed inkjet and sheetfed digital printing technologies. They include the Ricoh Pro™ VC70000e continuous feed inkjet press, the latest generation Ricoh Pro™ C9500 colour sheetfed press and the soon to be market available Ricoh Pro™ Z75 B2 sheetfed inkjet press.

The easy to use FusionPro VDP Solutions suite of tools enables the simple design and production of personalised communications. While the ability to intelligently manage accurate data is powered by software such as /data.mill Data Cleansing Solution. It automatically interrogates and corrects data inaccuracies quickly and simply.

There are many ways printed communications can adapt to ensure they are a powerful tool in today’s changing marketing world.


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