WASHINGTON DC – Until the Internet arrived and, after that, until mobile communication arrived, the U.S. Postal Service profited by pushing direct mail as an advertising medium. As the alternatives gained widespread acceptance among consumers, however, a substantial number of advertisers – including those in the real estate business – concluded the web and smartphones had already passed the Postal Service by.
Not so fast, its Domestic Products Vice President Gary Reblin said Monday (Dec. 10, 2012).
Direct mail that leverages technology like QR (quick response) codes and personalized web addresses is proving to be a powerful advertising tool. A mail-mobile combination connects with buyers “on a deeper and more personal level,” Reblin claimed.
Direct mail includes postal carrier-delivered postcards, brochures, fliers, and letters. It’s long been “lauded for its ability to provide consumers with personalized and tangible information about products, promotions and sales,” he said.
Add to the mix what Reblin described as “augmented reality technology,” like personalized QRs or web addresses that identify the recipient-user by name and tailor an offer for them, and results indicate enhanced mail can drive increased numbers of consumers online for either more information or to make buying decisions. Personalizing a pitch in a mail-mobile duo “tells recipients (the seller) knows who they are and what they want,” he contended.
Of possible interest to real estate brokers and agents may be image recognition, a new technology that Reblin predicted was “gaining traction.” It allows consumers with smartphones to scan a picture – one of a house in a listings brochure, for instance – into software that immediately connects to mobile features. If buyers want a home like one they see, even if that address is no longer on the market, image recognition may be able to connect to a listing that looks almost like, if not identical to, the desired property.
Although consumers are becoming more familiar with mail-mobile technology, Reblin still recommends advertisers devote some portion of direct mail pieces to consumer tips on downloading apps and barcode readers. “Customers will appreciate the information,” he said, “and the effort will help build brand loyalty.”
This article was cross-posted to Polley Associates’ “Your Real Estate Career” blog
Photo from Google Images