Next Level Tech: Does Augmented Reality Fit Your Direct Mail Project?

Does Augmented Reality Fit Your Direct Mail Project

Imagine direct mail campaigns and marketing pieces that speak to your customers in all new ways—literally! With a simple scan, they could see a virtual demo, explore a product model, or play a game right in their home.

With Augmented Reality options, you can create digital marketing pieces that make your next direct mail piece truly novel, interactive, and next-level.

All About Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) brings the future forward. You can use AR to market to customers in a totally new, exciting way. With an AR marker on your direct mail pieces, recipients can scan and trigger an immersive digital experience—a whole new way to engage with your brand and boost response rates.

You’re likely familiar with QR codes—bar codes customers can scan to quickly visit a website. AR uses similar technology but operates a bit differently. While AR and QR codes are both tools for user engagement, they offer distinct experiences.

AR is a technology that overlays digital information (images, videos, or 3D models, for example) onto the real-world environment using a device like a smartphone or AR glasses. Customers get a whole new level of interaction in virtual reality. With interactive print and digital experiences, your direct mail marketing offers customers a portal to an amazing new tech experience. 

A recent report from Deloitte shows that AR is one of the top tech trends, with many mid and enterprise-level businesses adopting the technology with great success. By 2025, the worldwide base of global AR users is expected to increase to 216 million users

To use AR technology, your customers need a smartphone, tablet, or AR glasses equipped with a camera and AR software. To use the program, users look at the real world through their device’s camera. The AR software detects markers like images or objects or uses location data to overlay computer-generated imagery and content onto the real-world view.

The result is an immersive and interactive experience that blends digital elements with the physical world. Imagine your users seeing a 3D model of your product overlaid on their desks or interacting with a digital character right in their living room!? It’s all possible with AR technology.

Where and How to Use AR

AR has many applications and uses that bring the technology out of the gaming world and into the practical realm. The following applications are especially suited to AR technology:

  • Marketing and Advertising: Interactive product demos, virtual try-ons (e.g., seeing how furniture looks in your home).
  • Education: Enhanced learning materials (e.g., viewing 3D models of historical artifacts).
  • Entertainment: Games and interactive experiences (e.g., Pokémon Go).

Of course, really strategic AR can do all three—educate customers on your product and market it in an entertaining and fun way. The creative possibilities of an AR experience are truly endless and mind-blowing.

Pros and Cons of Choosing AR for a Direct Mail Campaign 

It’s important to note that just like any marketing tool, AR isn’t the answer to everything or the right way to connect with every customer. There are important pros and cons to weigh before deciding that AR is the right answer.

Knowing your customer base well is the key to the best marketing and direct mail strategy. Are they technologically savvy? Do they have the proper devices? Would they find AR tools useful?


  • AR is highly engaging, fun, and interactive.
  • Augmented Reality offers customers a unique and memorable user experience.
  • AR allows you to convey complex information visually and intuitively.


  • The tools require sophisticated technology and development.
  • Your users need to know how to use AR technology with compatible devices and apps.
  • An AR campaign can be more expensive to set up and implement.

For the right situation, AR can give you a really astounding approach to marketing to your customers. It’s important that you explore the options and understand what an AR campaign might entail before you jump. That said, when and if you do jump in, expect AR marketing to wow.  

What Are the Differences Between AR and QR Code Technology?

As we mentioned before, there are some similarities between AR and QR Code technology, but there are also some distinct differences. Here are just a few main ways AR Content differs from the older QR Code marketing.

Technology and Interaction:

  • AR uses advanced technology to overlay digital content onto the real world, offering interactive and immersive experiences. View and interact with 3D products and characters for an engaging, fun, and attention-grabbing way to learn, shop, and play.
  • QR Codes are simple matrix barcodes that give users quick access to digital information by scanning them with their mobile device or tablet’s camera. It’s a great way to add additional information to business cards, direct mail postcards, and other pieces of print marketing where space is at a premium.

Customer Experience:

  • AR gives users an interactive and engaging way to explore a campaign or discover a new product. With AR, users enhance their real-world environments with digital elements.
  • QR Codes are functional and straightforward, focusing on quick information retrieval or redirection to digital content.

Implementation Complexity:

  • AR requires more development and resources to create digital overlays and ensure compatibility with AR devices. Building the appropriate technology can be seen as an investment in your ongoing marketing strategy.
  • QR codes are easy to generate and implement and have minimal technological requirements.


  • AR is generally more expensive due to development and technological needs. While it can be a lot of fun in the right marketing strategy, it’s important to make sure it fits the needs of your customers and business.
  • QR Codes: Low-cost solution that can be easily integrated into various mediums.

So, which is right for you? It doesn’t need to be a question of either/or. Both AR and QR codes bridge the physical and digital worlds in exciting ways that get your customers’ attention.

QR codes offer a straightforward way to access digital content. They’re ideal for connecting contact information, social media, or other digital channels to raise brand awareness. They can offer a fast, simple way for customers to get your payment information (like Venmo) or to let diners view your menu without wrestling with paper. For Direct Mail, QR codes are a nice addition to give customers a quick way to find your contact online.

AR, on the other hand, takes the interaction to the next level, opening a whole digital world. This reality technology can be ideal to let your customers truly visualize how an item will look in their home or fit with their wardrobe. It can offer a way to connect with customers through a fun, immersive, engaging augmented reality experience.

Both methods of sharing digital content are excellent ways to boost interactions with powerful direct mail pieces. If you need more information about how to make your next campaign stand out, contact us today!

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