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Command Customer Attention With Innovative Direct Mail Campaigns

Article - 3 Min. Read

Continual innovation is crucial for marketing success, but it can be hard to find ways to resonate with today’s ever-evolving customers. See how direct mail can offer a unique, interactive experience.

Person using a smartphone to scan a mailpiece equipped with a near field communication chip.

Effective marketing depends on continual innovation, finding new ways to spark customer interest and drive engagement. Digital ads remain ubiquitous, but many of today’s customers are likely suffering from “digital fatigue” as a result.

Direct mail can serve as a refreshing novelty—something tangible and immediate that customers can actually hold on to. From advanced technologies like virtual reality to unique sensory experiences involving texture and scent, there are more ways than ever to surprise and delight customers through direct mail.

Advanced Technologies in Direct Mail

Emerging technologies are transforming the way marketers use direct mail, creating new avenues for interaction and making it easier than ever to connect physical and digital channels.

Smartphone scanning a mailpiece.

Near field communication (NFC)

NFC-enabled mail allows customers to launch digital content on their mobile devices simply by holding their devices near the mailer. The content could be as simple as a landing page or as complex as a video.

Video in print (VIP)

VIP allows you to directly embed small video screens in mailpieces, creating an exciting, immediate experience. These videos can highlight exciting product features or show a unique manufacturing process.

Person engaging with a virtual reality experience on a tablet to see how a sofa would look in their home.

Virtual reality (VR)

VR creates 3D virtual experiences. Include an easily assembled cardboard VR headset in a mailer to bring your brand to life. If you sell camping supplies, for example, you could showcase your products within a realistic campsite.

Augmented reality (AR)

AR is similar to VR but uses a real-world setting. Customers can place their mobile devices over a mailer to launch a video experience—such as a tour of your hotel or pro tips for their recent purchase.

A home voice assistant.

Voice response

Mail can even be connected to voice assistants, which carry out tasks based on spoken commands. With voice-enabled mail, customers can launch their voice assistants simply by saying a few words, and then respond to and interact with the mailpiece.

Mixed reality (MR)

With MR, a hybrid of AR and VR, you can offer customers an immersive digital experience that superimposes over the real world. With MR, for example, customers could see how furniture will look inside their actual homes.

Multisensory Features in Direct Mail

In the age of digital, direct mail offers a unique tangibility—and marketers have more ways than ever to delight the senses.

A modern design created using specialty gold ink.


Metallic inks can add dimension and contrast to your mailpieces and make copy “pop.” Light-reflective inks can add shimmer and beauty, while inks that change color with temperature or light can imbue novelty and excitement.


Texture can evoke emotion and nostalgia. Bring comfort and coziness with a velvety finish or create a luxurious experience with embossed lettering. You can even include a sample of materials you use in your products.

A pop-up feature in the shape of an arrow.


Create a novel, playful experience by adding 3D pop-ups to your mailers. And feel free to get creative. If you’re promoting a savings account, you could send out a mailer that customers can quickly assemble into a charming piggybank.


Scents can transport people to other places and bring back fond memories. Run a cafe? Try including the scent of your most popular kind of coffee. Run a flower shop? Give an enchanting preview of your offerings.

Wavy die-cut edges.


With die-cuts, you can create unique shapes and cutouts to catch customers’ attention. With trailing-edge envelopes, for example, one shape can extend past the edge of the envelope on the left to catch your customer’s eye.

Unique materials

You’re not confined to standard paper for direct mail. Rubber, foam, plastic, cardstock and cardboard can all be used to create a uniquely tactile experience and set your message apart.


Incorporating these cutting-edge technologies and innovations into direct mail can breathe new life into a time-tested medium while adding unique interactivity and dimension to campaigns as a whole.

Key Takeaway

Marketers are always looking for new ways to innovate. Tactile, versatile and interactive, direct mail offers unique opportunities to catch customers’ attention and set your brand apart.

From advanced technologies such as augmented reality and voice response to multisensory experiences involving unique pop-ups, textures and even scents, mail can deliver a meaningful and memorable experience.

Work With USPS on Innovative Mail Campaigns

The United States Postal Service can help support marketers who want to take advantage of the latest technologies in their direct mail campaigns. Discover your options for getting started with Tactile, Sensory and Interactive campaigns; Emerging and Advanced Technology campaigns; and more:

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in the 2024 USPS® Promotions & Incentives Calendar

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