Royal Mail’s digital watermarks won’t deliver

Lara O’Reilly is Marketing Week’s digital and telecoms specialist and here she gives her views on what companies from Apple to Zynga are up to in the wired world of the web.

Royal Mail

The Royal Mail is introducing a new digitally wartermarked direct mail option that will allow smartphone owners to link directly to a brands website, social networks or videos.

Royal Mail says it hopes the introduction of the technology will encourage marketers who previously thought DM was old-fashioned to think again. But perhaps it’s Royal Mail that needs to have a rethink about the new offer.

Consumers are barely educated by the industry as to the benefits of QR codes, let alone digital watermarking technology that hides the unsightly code away from the human eye inside an image – meaning it also could be overlooked completely.

It is often the right idea to incorporate digital into every aspect of marketing, but there always needs to be a call to action for doing so. Why would a consumer be tempted to dig out their smartphone and download an app to scan a piece of junk mail?

The introduction of digital watermarking technology seems little compensation for the Royal Mail’s price hikes earlier this year that have seen many companies disregard DM altogether.


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