By Phil Hutchison, Tactical Marketing Director, Pitney Bowes

Mail remains an essential part of the communication mix. Recent studies have shown that mail plays a critical role in driving new customers to make purchases on websites. This mix of traditional and digital media is key to holding the attention of today’s time-poor consumer.

Certainly, giant strides have been taken in improving mail personalisation and targeting. But recently, this tailoring of the message has taken an exciting new direction.

Until now, the envelope has been something of a bit-player in the communication — mostly an ocean of white space. Of course, some firms do invest in glossy, pre-printed envelope stock. But this option tends to be limited to those companies with eye-watering marketing budgets.

Our customers have been asking us for a solution that would change the face of direct mail, making it more effective and more dynamic. Now, the latest technology is achieving this by opening up envelope creativity and promotional possibilities to businesses of all sizes. Our own Connect + Series enables full-colour messages to be printed across the entire width of an envelope at the same time as postage is added. Such a capability transforms the otherwise unused white-space on envelopes into dynamic marketing and brand-building messaging.

Full colour is a vital weapon in the marketer’s armoury. Reports have shown that the use of colour can increase the open rates of mail campaigns by as much as 247%. Colour makes a powerful first impression.

This creativity isn’t limited to marketing communications. By adding full-colour messages to everyday business mail — invoices, warranties, service contracts and more - businesses can begin to promote offers and services and to drive revenue without the need for extra investment in separate marketing campaigns.

As a result, cost-savings can be found in advertising and promotional budgets, communications and email campaigns, and other business processes related to envelope purchases and design.

This technology is indicative of the role that mail and communications now play within businesses. The way the message is presented is becoming every bit as critical as the detail of the message itself. First impressions count in a competitive market and consumers are quick to sift those that present themselves professionally from those that treat the customer as just another number.

It’s time to think outside the envelope.