Is this the future of direct mail?



I stumbled across a fascinating article by Henry DeVries over at Forbes, How A Direct Mail Secret Could 10X Your Response Rate.

As part of their direct mail campaign, instead of sending letters to prospective customers, a company sent mini-tablets!

Imagine opening what seems to be an ordinary piece of mail and pulling out a small tablet contained within a card stock frame.  

The tablets were preloaded with videos which played as soon as the card stock cover was lifted -- like a far more advanced musical birthday card.

If sending a neat gadget like this doesn’t catch the recipient’s eye and scream ‘premium,’ I don’t know what will.

People could even ship the tablet back to the company if they didn’t want what was being sold and it could be reused for the next mailing.

DeVries doesn’t mention it, but I wonder if customers were able to buy the product on offer using the tablet itself. Wouldn’t that be cool?

While it’s truly amazing we’ve reached the point where it’s possible to send thousands of people incredible pieces of technology, this tablet technique probably isn’t the right strategy for just about every fundraising organization. 

This campaign was launched by a for-profit company to target top-tier customers.

Right now, I think tablet mailers would be too expensive and could appear wasteful for a nonprofit organization. Those funds would probably be better spent mailing a larger quantity of conventional direct mail packages or put directly towards an organization’s mission.

However, it’s possible this mini-tablet campaign could indicate what’s to come for all direct mail as technology becomes more cost effective. 

Then again, traditional mail is still used by practically everyone, despite experts predicting its demise for decades. And direct mail in its current form is as vibrant and alive as ever.

I guess we’ll just need to wait and see. But it’s an exciting time to witness so much potential innovation.