Time for direct marketing to get in touch with reality

touch screen

Sensory marketing makes sense

There is one thing that direct mail can do that no other channel can: activate all five of your senses. Touch. Taste. Smell. Vision. Hearing. All can be stimulated at the same time. Clients with the right kinds of products (exotic perfumes, confections and holidays for example), need to invest more in creating greater sensory impact with select (smaller) high value target segments. Royal Mail last tried this angle back in 2007 but never really put its foot on the gas by advertising to clients. I ran training sessions for agency account teams who were, at the time, perhaps too young to push the idea to clients. Mail needs to be established as a premium product far removed from the junk mail and door drop qualities of yesteryear. Grab some super brands and create test cases that blow people and sales targets away. At the Royal Mail’s Market Reach centre in central London you will find amazing examples of highly creative direct mail. The one’s that interest me most are those that appeal to the senses.

The next evolution of sensory direct mail

I think the other key element that could breath new life into direct mail is the addition of digital elements: embedded chips that activate your phone or carry redeemable elements that only activate when you visit the local shop associated with the mailing – think personalised shop experiences activated by the mailing pack. What about flexible video screens as thin as paper that only activate when removed from the darkness of the envelope or upon human contact. Paper that connects with wifi through your phone or loads music content from a flash drive the size of a microdot into your headphones. I love the idea of a mail pack that comes alive when the target picks it up or becomes an active screen when touched. Mail plays less of role than it used to but that doesn’t mean it cannot be awesome in the right context.

Use touch and imagination to connect at a deeper level

Think of the captivating soundscapes you could create. Think of the evocative smell-driven memories you could stimulate. Think of working all five senses at the same time. What about a mail pack only your fingerprint or DNA could open. Biotech mail packs. Now there’s a thought. What about a mail pack that won’t open unless you are in the right place or frame of mind. Now you’re talking. I have seen amazing 3D images animated into existence on tablets and mobile phones and I can think of innumerable way to get sensory mail and digital to work together. It just needs a client or two to make the touchy-feely connection with the customers a priority. Our senses are primary drivers of our emotions and emotions make connections that sell.