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What is VDM (and Why Should You Care?)

By Shenna Coleman

With all the channels at their disposal, marketers are always keeping an eye out for the “next big thing”—and it might be here. For those who aren’t already familiar with VDM (video direct mail), it’s time to investigate this new marketing concept and how it can benefit your organization.

VDM is a revolutionary marketing tool that will help your brand stand out amongst the more than 87 billion pieces of direct mail sent in the U.S. each year. VDM mailers look like a hard-cover brochure and are easier to manufacture than you’d think.


When you open the cover, a magnetic switch is activated which makes a video start to play automatically. The LCD screens come in a variety of sizes and, on average, store about 10-15 minutes of video with three hours of playback time.

At minimum, the recipient is able to play the video, pause it, and raise or lower volume through function buttons next to the LCD screen. A mini-USB port built into the mailer allows you to upload content and charge the battery.


Video Boosts Response Rates
So, why should you care? Already a hit overseas, VDM has a proven ability to deliver results.

Working with global brands like Xerox and Adobe, UK company Vidioh is reporting VDM can boost your direct-mail response rate by as much as 45%.

Studies show that 80% of recipients read or scan their mail daily, and that 73% prefer mail to other channels, so VDM may become the “perfect storm” of success for direct marketers.

Success Calls for Vodafone
Here is an example of how Vodafone, one of the largest mobile phone network companies in the world, enjoyed overwhelming results in employing VDM.

Using Amstore Innovation’s “VideoPak” product, Vodafone targeted decision makers across seven countries with an innovative VDM piece. On opening the mailer, a video automatically started and the recipients were immersed in a world of Vodafone products and benefits. The mailer provided a multi-sensory experience and drove a deeper brand engagement. The campaign also integrated email and social media efforts to increase participation among recipients.

Within the first week, Vodafone sold a new contract that paid for the whole VDM campaign. More successes followed, including a £1 million deal across five countries. Vodafone’s head of marketing claimed the campaign was “the benchmark for all future campaigns.”


More Affordable Than You Think
Impressive, but what does it cost?

Over the past two years, average price-per-1,000-units has been between $35 and $50. In all, a small price to pay. Experts are expecting this to come down as the technology becomes more popular. In fact, over the past three months, units have been advertised for as low as $11-$20 per 1,000.

VDM is also advancing in technology with the emergence of OLCD. Instead of the well-known LCD screen, VDM can use OLCD, which is flexible and can bend to allow its application to items that are not flat. For example, an OLCD screen could be used on a souvenir cup purchased at a sporting event.

With endless applications, video direct mail is definitely something you’ll want to watch in 2015.


Shenna-HeadshotShenna Coleman is Synergy Manager at NextPage, where she concentrates on identifying partnerships with industries, Fortune 500 companies, and agencies. Coleman just finished three years on the AMA-KC board, where she developed and implemented programs, projects and activities
 to increase and retain membership.

Author: Sabine Lenz

Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs, THE online source for paper information, inspiration and insights. A graphic designer with more than 20 years of experience in Germany, Australia and the United States, she writes frequently for several industry publications and is also a speaker on paper and related topics.


  1. First reaction, this is very cool. Second reaction, if this grows in popularity, I would want to know as a responsible art director, how recyclable are the LCD screens and mini USB ports are that integrated into a paper (recyclable) delivery mechanism. If these are not easily recycled, then the very cool becomes really lousy. That doesn’t bode well for the brands that use VDMs.

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    • A really good point, Kristin. VideoPak seems to be recyclable in the way that an old cellphone is recyclable, via special recycling centers. As an alternative, people can send them directly back to the company for reuse: . That said, it’s obviously not the most eco-friendly medium for direct mail (ie, the recipient has to take an extra step to recycle rather than just tossing it in the recycling bin at home or work). As always in the environmental impact arena, arguments can be made both for and against it when compared with other forms of marketing and advertising….

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