Within 10 years, and contrary to some pep talks in the direct mail industry, we foresee that future tablet devices will take a measurable bite out of paper-based direct mail volumes. Ever improving iPad-class devices will become a very attractive vehicle for targeted sensible advertising. The key to sensible advertising is to avoid flooding the consumers with an barrage of ads. Anyhow, advertising budgets are finite, and therefore the quickly growing mobile tablet platforms will siphon funds from traditional advertising channels like TV, radio, newsprint and direct mail. Increasing direct mail postage rates and printing costs will accelerate the move away from paper based direct mail.

Let’s talk a little more about the iPad: When it comes to usability for online browsing, lengthy e-mails or especially document viewing, Postal Sanity considers small screen devices (like BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, etc.) to be nothing more than cute crutches. However, the iPad is the beginning of a new story. It offers enough screen area for painless viewing of documents and the option of an affordable wireless connection with no contract to sign. Mathias Doepfner, CEO and chairman of Axel Springer,one of the largest newspaper publishing companies in Europe, does see huge potential as well. In an interview with Charlie Rose he stated that publishers should pray and thank Steve Jobs for saving the publishing industry. Especially the younger generation is expected to help transfer the publishing industry into the digital realm. It was noted by ZDF Auslandsjournal that Apple is managing the content of its digital newsstand in a way that some perceive as arbitrary censorship. They also said that even the huge German BILD newspaper is humbly complying by editing pictures which may expose too much skin for the puritan American mind. By the way, did you notice that Apple no longer uses its slogan “Think different” ? If an iPad user wants to install a new program he/she has little choice, but to go the the Apple App-Store. All available programs are examined by Apple, prior to being listed. This allows Apple to filter out all potentially harmful programs, or any unwanted programs by potential competitors. Technologist David Weinberger stated in an interview with ZDF Auslandsjournal that Apple can lock out any program which could jeopardize its market position. Apple has well demonstrated these protective strategic skills with iTunes.

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs is known as an excellent sales person and strategist on top. But so are other people and the iPad is just one step in ever ongoing improvements. Powerhouse Apple, and rivals, will provide a quickly growing platform for direct marketers. By the way, Apple appears to be doing well these days and just surpassed Microsoft in market cap.

Related Postal Sanity articles:
Direct Mail Marketing headaches with paperless mail
The far future of standard mail