No matter how big or small, most companies cannot afford huge marketing mistakes. So as marketing trends come and go it’s important to stay focused on “direct mail marketing with a purpose”. When companies lose sight of their purpose, they often jump on the latest-and-greatest bandwagon because it’s the new thing to do – and many end up costing their company time, money, and sometimes reputation. 


Two of the most popular trends in direct mail marketing right now are augmented reality and QR codes. But would using them in your direct mail marketing be effective? Or a waste?


Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is one of the newest marketing trends. It uses a computer to augment – or modify – reality. For example, Google Glass uses augmented reality to stream videos and images right in front of your eyes – as if the videos and images were really in front of you. National Geographic ran a campaign in Hungary that allowed people to step into another world and interact with dinosaurs, dolphins, and astronauts. Augmented reality brings to life a whole new world right in front of you. 


Augmented reality is an incredible technology, but it isn’t always an effective marketing technique. Many companies have tried it; some have failed and some have found success. Augmented reality could be used to give recipients a 3D perspective into your mailer. For example, if your mailer had a picture of a large safe on the front, your recipients could hover their smartphones over the photo to reveal a 3-D image of the safe open and full of money. 


QR Codes

QR codes have become incredibly popular in our technology driven world. They are everywhere: on buses, billboards, magazines, menus, inside shoes, and on direct mailers. They have become an easy way for people to gain additional information on a particular topic, sign up for services, and ultimately become more engaged and active participants in the marketing campaigns that target them. 


But QR codes aren’t effective for every marketer or in every situation. For example, a company that sells products to senior citizens would probably not benefit by sending out a direct mailer with a QR code; in fact, the presence of a QR code could alienate the audience and render the whole campaign a flop. On the other hand, including a QR code as the response mechanism on a postcard targeting people under age 30 would likely be far more effective than including a business reply card. 


Both augmented reality and QR codes represent the march of technology in our society. And both certainly have their place in marketing. But in order to use them effectively in direct mail marketing you must keep in mind who you are, what your purpose is, and who your audience is. Even well-known companies like Gap, Netflix, The New York Times, and Coca-Cola have forgotten to ask themselves these questions, and made costly marketing mistakes as a result. Don’t let it happen to you! Stay mindful, stay informed, and keep “direct mail marketing with a purpose” your primary goal. 


Poll: Are you on the bandwagon? 

Have you successfully used QR codes in direct mail marketing?

☐  YES 

☐  NO 


Would you use augmented reality in direct mail marketing?

 ☐   Yes

 ☐   No

 ☐   Maybe 


Need help deciding whether to jump on the bandwagon or stay on the ground? As always, we’re here and happy to answer your questions. You can contact us online at or call us Mon-Fri, 9AM to 8PM Eastern Time at 866-665-2787.