The role of direct mail in digital communications strategy

We believe that businesses should combine direct mail and email for the most effective communications strategy.

Digital communication strategies have been at the forefront for an increasing number of businesses since the mid-noughties. Communication strategies are being driven by digital and systems are changing, with traditional interactions replaced by device-based processes.

IOS for business is now used within many sectors from nursing to finance and maintenance. Paper form filling is being replaced by digital forms, completed and sent in real time, saving paper, time and money. Mailroom activities have reduced with the increase in digital communications continuing to drive mail volumes down or out altogether.

Businesses should be mindful of the potential pitfalls of using digital only. Any commercial organisation contacting consumers need to be aware of changes in data protection and opt-in requirements coming in May next year. The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) will be increasing resources to audit and penalise companies who do not comply with the updated laws concerning email communications.

The changes mean that businesses will need to add new information regarding email opt-in permissions and allow a reasonable timeline for re-permission: this applies to all business communication by email with heavy fines for companies that do not comply with the new laws.

All is not lost and the intention isn’t ‘scare tactics’, a balance can be achieved by combining the physical touch of direct mail, there are less prohibitive laws, albeit with responsible disciplines in place, for mail. Printed mail can drive people to your online content and continue to develop your message, encouraging the recipient to engage with you or your offers.

Mailrooms can embrace the changes with communications being delivered either physically by mail or digitally by email through the same communications hub – the mailroom. Significant advances in communications delivery software, from the likes of XMpie, allow more automation, with print and email workflow systems delivering both media types through the same means. Both channels can work together to deliver your message, successfully driving customers to online content and encouraging further engagement.

The Direct Marketing Association and Royal Mail’s MarketReach are good sources of information relating to making your mail work better for you in both physical and digital spaces.


Nigel Copp, CEO of KPM Group. 

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