Everything you need for success in the modern marketing organization
Measure the effectiveness
of your direct mail program
Are you measuring the success of your marketing campaigns?
Specifically, can you tie your direct mail back to revenue? Does
that question make you break out in a cold sweat?
Success varies in every organization, and can range from influence on opportunities created to the impact on revenue.
If you're not sure, or you haven't put a measurement plan in place, this guide
is for you. You're not alone.
Measure the effectiveness
of your direct mail program
Marketers across the globe are
working hard to show the impact
that their programs have on bottom
As a best practice, you should
measure the effectiveness of your
marketing investments. But rather
than looking at the raw numbers
of pieces sent, start asking about
campaign value. Are you moving
leads through the funnel? Are
campaigns driving customers to
shop and to purchase? These insights
will enable you to measure your
program's impact on the bottom line.
In the direct mail world, volume-based
metrics focus on the number
of pieces you send. While these
numbers are important, the figures
don't directly equate to success.
Success varies in EVERY organization,
and can range from influence on
opportunities created to the impact
This guide will help you identify how to measure success within your organization.
As a high level approach, we recommend:
Measure what's important.
Find the success metric that works best for your organization, establish your benchmark
and measure progress.
Measure it consistently.
Use consistent metrics to measure the success of one program versus another. If you measure one
direct mail's effect based on MQLs created and another's based on web visits, you'll have a difficult
time comparing the success of each campaign.
Driving action with direct mail
If you're not asking your audience to take action, you are
missing a huge opportunity. Your direct mail should incorporate
a call to action (CTA) that causes a lead or prospect to perform
a specific task.
We recommend that every automated
direct mail piece include some kind of
CTA. Without it, you lose the ability to
track campaign effectiveness. We also
recommend that the CTA be strong,
distinct, and easy to accomplish.
Some examples include:
- Visit website to sign up for service
- Complete a form to receive additional information/resources
- Contact us for a free demo
- Call for more details
Keep in mind that you don't want to
use a CTA that is outside the scope
of your existing prospect relationship.
In the same way that you wouldn't
propose to someone on the first date,
you don't want to ask for a demo in
your first contact. Nor would you ask
to close the deal on the third.
Make sure you know your audience and ask for what's appropriate when you ask them to take action.
Personalized calls to action
According to DMA's 2015 Response
Rate Report, a typical direct mail
response rate is 3.4%, and that rate
drops if you use a lesser-qualified
prospect list. The good news?
are ways of increasing your response
Using a personalized URL (PURL)
is an effective way to improve your
response rates. A PURL is to direct
mail what a tailored suit is to a sport
coat from Sears.
Basically, you create a unique link for
each recipient—everyone gets their
own web address, providing a much
higher level of personalization. As an
added bonus, you can add images
and copy that relates to the person's
industry, title, or similar data point.
For example, you send a direct mail
piece to Ken Smith, and point him to
his individual link:
This web page would welcome Ken
Smith with a personalized message.
Any activity by Ken would link back to
him AND the specific campaign.
No matter what page your customer
visits, whether personalized or
general, be sure to include some way
to capture the visit. Forms work well
for getting lead info, even things as
basic as an email address.
Any additional contact details you can
get will help you measure campaign
success. Most marketing automation
solutions will have built-in reporting
capabilities that allow you to see
Progressive profiling will boost lead generation and qualification significantly. It will allow
you to have higher conversion rates, better visitor experiences and a happy sales team.
One way to build prospect
information without pushing for
too much information at once
is through progressive profiling.
Capture a couple of relevant pieces
of information each time you engage
with an individual, and soon you'll
have everything you need for all your
Campaign-specific calls to action
Gain insight into the success of your call-to-action.
We recommend creating a URL that is campaign-specific as a second direct
response option. For example, if you are promoting a new wine set giveaway,
you might use a URL like pfl.com/winepremiumgift.
You can then track
visits on that unique landing page. Any visits there, and any subsequent form
submissions, would be counted as part of the campaign success.
This method has all the benefits of the personalized method, with the main
difference of the link promoting the item rather than the person. It is also easier
to set up, as PURLs require a little extra technical work. Again, your marketing
automation solution will have built-in reporting capabilities that allow you to see
what kind of traffic the campaign site is receiving.
Remember the phone? Some people
still use it. And there are third-party
telephony solutions that allow you
to provide unique campaign phone
numbers for tracking. Using these
solutions, you can add a trackable
phone number to the CTA within your
automated direct mail.
Whenever that phone number is
called, the system recognizes that
phone number and records the
touch point back into your existing
customer relationship management
(CRM) system. While snazzy, this
advanced capability goes beyond the
scope of this overview, as it includes
multiple third-party solutions talking
to one another.
However, you may want to explore
tracking incoming calls at the
campaign level. If your marketing
automation solution can see the call
activity via your CRM, you can tie it
to the individual program's success.
Most solutions offer out-of-the-box
integrations to take advantage of that
Measuring lifecycle influence
"How is automated direct mail affecting our lead lifecycle?" is a straightforward question.
Obtaining these numbers, though, can feel like chasing the proverbial white whale. Setting up
your direct mail campaign is easy with solutions like Tactile Marketing Automation® (TMA®), but
every organization has a different lifecycle process.
Many companies have challenges with
funnel measurement in general. Since
these metrics are tied directly to an
organization's internal processes, we
recommend using the method that
best aligns with your organization.
Process issues can
affect lifecycle measurement.
While these aren't directly tied to
automated direct mail, they can
impact the way your organization
measures overall marketing success.
Process issue #1
If sales reps don't add contacts
to opportunities in your CRM, the
system has no visibility into the
Process issue #2
If your organization sends all leads
to a stage like marketing qualified lead
(MQL), creating an MQL measurement
would inflate those statistics.
Process issue #3
If a rep doesn't follow process and
update a lead appropriately, the
automated direct mail campaign may
not receive success credit.
The following concepts will help
guide you through some lifecycle
customizing these to match how
your organization measures funnel
influence on other programs.
Simple funnel measurements
Need a place to start? Try measuring if the automated direct mail piece has
any effect on your organization's funnel.
Get a high-level view on how direct mail is influencing your lifecycle.
Under this scenario you decide that after you run a campaign, any
movement of the prospect down the funnel (into a more mature lifecycle
stage) counts as a marketing influence. Simply stated—direct mail goes out,
prospect moves forward, your marketing program receives credit.
The benefit of this model is your organization will have a single, high-level
metric to compare automated direct mail pieces. The drawback is that the
high-level view might not provide enough detail for you.
If an automated direct mail piece is
sent to a recipient and that recipient
moves down the success path
(MQL, etc.), that automated direct
mail piece would receive credit for
influencing lifecycle success.
Advanced funnel measurement
Looking at a more detailed level
provides insights on how your
automated direct mail is influencing
your organization's lead lifecycle. In
this scenario, you would be able to
tie a direct mail piece to a specific
contact and their individual prospect/
This kind of visibility is built on deeply
integrated marketing automation and
CRM systems, which may (or may not)
exist in your organization today.
The benefit of this model is it provides
you with the ability to easily measure
how programs are impacting different
stages of the funnel. The drawback of
this approach is it heavily relies on an
organization's internal processes. We
only recommend using the approach
if your company has a well-defined
funnel process in place.
Instantly see how direct mail is impacting your funnel.
Track success based on leads
reaching lifecycle milestones after
receiving the automated direct mail.
As a first step, decide what high level
successes you want to track at the
For example, the goal of some of
your programs may be to drive MQLs
for your lead development team.
In other programs, you may also
want to drive more opportunities so
a sales qualified lead (SQL) is the
Approach to custom successes
Sometimes, you may have a custom goal you want to measure.
Don't compare apples to oranges—in other words, don't rely
solely on standard measurements that you use across all your
automated direct mail programs.
If you want to track when a specific registration occurred,
we recommend tracking that success separately.
How can you define these custom measurements?
Your marketing automation solution
should provide numerous options, like
adding certain requesters to a list or
to an existing campaign in your CRM.
While the results will not show up in
high-level reports, you can always
analyze the results via more granular
reports. In the previous example, we
recommend tracking Responded
as the high-level success, and then
adding White Wine Requesters to a
specific list for custom tracking.
Sometimes businesses value other intangibles like brand awareness. Organizations may also value
metrics that require some custom analysis. We won't cover these metrics as part of this guide but here
are a few to consider:
After sending automated direct mail to customers with renewals in Q4, did your organization
see any renewal rate change from last year?
After sending automated direct mail gifts this year, do you see the customers in your control
group spending more than they did last year?
The benefits are
worth the effort
Best practice organizations measure the effectiveness of all their
marketing programs, including automated direct mail.
Take time to set up your measurement criteria
appropriately and you'll start to see stories emerging from your data.
Boiling down all the options to the easiest to roll out and get started, we
recommend implementing the following blend of success metrics:
Direct Mail Measurements
Ensure that every automated direct
mail piece contains a CTA that drives
the recipient to a website for further
action. This will serve as your initial
success metric. Use the personalized
CTA or campaign-specific CTA.
Lifecycle Success Metrics
Track if that automated direct mail
leads to a high-level lifecycle success.
If your lifecycle model and processes
are mature, use the advanced funnel