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HomeNewsDataMike Gunderson, of Gunderson Direct, on using digitally-enabled direct mail for hyper-personalized...

Mike Gunderson, of Gunderson Direct, on using digitally-enabled direct mail for hyper-personalized marketing

Mike Gunderson is Founder and CEO at Gunderson Direct, a Hayward, California-based agency specializing in direct mail. I wanted to catch up with him for a conversation about direct mail’s strengths, how it’s evolving — including the degree to which it’s incorporating new digital technologies — and discuss some strategies and best practices that marketers can use to obtain the best results from the direct mail channel.

As Mike explains, the costs for delivering hyper-personalized, relevant direct mail pieces have dropped while the capabilities have grown: “I can do full, variable digital color printing at scale — 100,000, 500,000, a million pieces of mail, whether it’s a post card, whether it’s a letter, whether it’s inline or not — and I can develop it all without using plates.”

We trade notes on the history of QR codes and their resurgence in the pandemic and post-pandemic era. As Mike notes, QR codes are powerful tools for direct mail marketers, allowing them to pre-fill landing pages or CRMs with customer information, and track back-end database records for retargeting ads or sales calls. Additionally, consumers are much more familiar with using them than they were pre-COVID.

At the same time, he notes that it’s important that marketers not make any technical mistakes when incorporating QR codes into marketing materials and campaigns.

Mike speaks about a technology his company has built called Post Reminder, which uses QR codes to send reminders to customers about upcoming sales or events. Then we chat about how the USPS is offering new products, including one called Informed Delivery, that are gaining traction today. As Mike notes, “they took technology that they’re using anyway to track to track letters and said, ‘hey, how can we turn this into a benefit for the consumer?’ And I think they did a really good job with implementing that and making it more useful for both the consumer and marketers alike.”

Direct mail is a powerful channel that’s often underutilized by marketers who should know better. Given its potential for delivering and tracking hyper-personalized messages that can cut through the clutter, Mike and I agree that it’s a channel with a strong future.

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