direct-mail-trends-2022A new year is right around the corner. Whether you’ve locked in your budget and kicked off Q1 projects or still have decisions to make, read these direct mail trends for 2022 to get the most from your marketing dollars. 

Cost will be a more significant factor

With two price hikes in 2021 and another expected next summer, it will be more important than ever to build direct mail pieces that are both economical and profitable. Marketing teams will be asked to monitor ROI and keep a sharp eye on production costs in a leaner economy.  While there’s potential to cut costs by limiting specialty techniques, making economical paper choices, or adjusting your design, one area often gets overlooked. How much of your direct mail gets classified as Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) because you’re using old or incomplete data? Taking the time to perform some list hygiene can save you from paying for duplicate pieces or mailers that won’t ever make it to a consumer. This cost-consciousness combined with new printing capabilities will drive companies to phase out mass mail blasts in favor of targeted, personalized campaigns.

Plan for longer deliveries

Along with their 2021 pricing and service changes, the Postal Service adjusted delivery times. First-class mail can now take up to five days for delivery. In 2022, we see speed optimization becoming a more important selling point throughout the industry as companies look for ways to offset the service downgrade.

Invite customers back

No matter where you live, the pandemic has affected local brick-and-mortar retail. Targeted direct mail will play a huge role in bringing customers back. So many small businesses have suffered economic hardships that forced them to shut their doors over the past year. It’s a great time to let your customers know that you’re here to welcome them back with targeted offers and promotions.  This shift isn’t just for B2C. We’ve seen an increase in B2B direct mail, from sales collateral to “surprise and delight” gift boxes to stay top of mind. As in-person meetings and events start to come back to life, we still see much much smaller crowds than pre-pandemic times. In 2022 businesses will have to continue to pivot and adapt. Many companies have completely changed their culture to fit a more flexible lifestyle. Even if it’s no longer possible to get all the decision-makers in one room, look to B2B direct mail to make a physical connection. 

QR codes are back (again)

QR codes have been the black sheep of marketing. But direct mail trends show that their usage is way up. Consider QR code menus. Unthinkable just 18 months ago, but now almost everywhere. In 2022, QR codes may actually get the respect that they deserve. With ROI more important than ever, they allow you to overcome one of the biggest challenges of direct mail: tracking conversions. While email, social, and other digital channels can include tracked links, URLs on direct mail are far less likely to be manually typed.  However, QR codes and the automatic readers that most of us have on our smartphones solve that problem. Your direct mail recipients can access your site or a special offer just by scanning the code with their phone, enabling you to track conversions directly. 

Automate your direct mail touches

If you ever take advantage of the “free ice cream on your birthday” emails or the “your warranty is about to expire” warnings, you understand how effective automatic triggers in digital marketing can be. Direct mail can provide that same level of automation, allowing you to send mail pieces in response to customer purchases, significant dates like birthdays and anniversaries, and other big moments in a customer life cycle.  In 2022, explore ways to make your direct mail tactics mimic some of the digital techniques we take for granted now. The right message sent at the right time is precious as consumers take action to protect themselves from being mined online. Variable printing data and pixel-to-postal technologies can give marketers the ability to “program” a personalized mail piece triggered by behavior, keeping consumers engaged through the buyer journey. 2021 direct marketing study found that 75% of consumers are overwhelmed by their daily digital ad exposure. Persistent ads can make them decide to walk away from entire brands altogether. But these direct mail trends, paired with your digital marketing campaigns, can help make your campaigns unstoppable. 

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