As I handed out various samples of printed pieces you immediately saw the heightened reaction as their senses were stimulated. Bright colors, die-cut shapes and scented pieces all created reactions that would have been hard to replicate so broadly with any other medium.
Sight– This is what direct mail is primarily about. Marketers can reinforce their brand or, by using bold colors and design, can draw attention to the piece.
Sound– For anyone that has received a greeting card with the sound chip built-in, there is no denying that this grabs your attention. This technology is evolving as the capacity of the sound chips increase while the cost of the chips decreases.
Smell- And I don’t mean the natural smell of ink. The use of scented varnishes (lemon, coffee & chocolate are just some of the choices) can increase response rate significantly. The one possible downside is that scented pieces must mail in an envelope. The USPS is understandably alarmed when strange smells start emanating from the mail processing equipment.
Touch- Embossing, die-cuts, dimensional mailers all scream “feel me” to the recipient.
Taste- While I would not suggest that anyone try to chew on a direct mailer, the inclusion of product samples is just one way for a recipient to taste the product. There is also a company that has a patented peel ‘n taste strips that can be affixed to the printed carrier.
For the foreseeable future, direct mail will remain the most effective way to reach out and deliver sight, sound, smell, touch and taste to the intended recipient.