Direct mail can no longer stand on its own as a complete marketing strategy. And in reality, it never should have. It should always have worked in conjunction with other efforts. In today's world, in order to create a comprehensive touchpoint between company and consumer, direct mail must embrace new technologies. A cross media approach that utilizes direct mail in a unique and personalized way is how direct mail can evolve not only surviving but thriving as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.

You've likely heard the old adage, "Don't place all your eggs in one basket." And years back, many marketers would do that. You'd find a business that relied solely on postcard mailings. Or billboards. Or an ad in the yellow pages. Thankfully, today's marketers realize that you should never put all your proverbial eggs in one basket and focus only on one method to get your message across to your target market. If you did, then it's easy to jump to the (wrong) conclusion that the "old ways" like direct mail are dead.

When marketers develop a marketing strategy that uses several different ways to get the message across to the target market, they should definitely consider direct mail. While they may feel that direct mail is cost-prohibitive, they will find that the response rate on direct mailers is high, therefore easily making the ROI in line with other marketing efforts.

Combined with current technologies like QR codes and landing pages, direct mail can enhance the experience of the recipient and allow for sophisticated data capturing capabilities. A QR code printed on the direct mail piece can encourage the consumer to use their phone to interact with the mailer. Using a QR code application on their phone, the consumer will scan the QR code and then be directed to a mobile-friendly web page or app.

Depending on your target market, your mailer should work with the various media that would be appealing. For example, when you target an older population, you may choose to use a short personalized url so that the consumer can look up a particular offering on their computer. Marketing to a younger audience? Then you may use that QR code to lead to a video or interactive game. Or maybe tie it in to social media.

You already know where you can find your audience - online, via mobile or social media platforms and so on. So your direct mail efforts should make sense in that they should work in conjunction with other media that your audience is familiar with. The point is to make the multiple messages fit together logically and provide consistent branding with a compelling call to action. Using direct mail with a cross media approach will create a multi-touch, interactive experience that will maximize your marketing strategy.

John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially, an online marketing company including Social Media. They provide marketing consulting and delivery services. Created in 2010, Grow Socially, Inc ( helps companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with your company's needs.

In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. Foley serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments. Contact John at: 978.674.8081 or