Tech Line

Direct Mail for the Digital Age, Part 3:

The Power of Action

Recently, PFL hosted a virtual event featuring CMO Jennifer Bellin, VP Customer Experience Kara Trapp, and Forrester Research’s VP and Principal Analyst Laura Ramos. This roundtable discussion was based on the findings of a PFL-commissioned Forrester study titled, “Direct Mail for the Digital Age.” The first in the series of blogs explored where direct mail is today and where it looks to be heading. In Part 2, we examined how the ability to personalize and measure modern, automated direct mail makes all the difference. Here we hear what the roundtablers had to say about putting it all into action. All data and analyses in the blog are from this report.

There was general agreement by the roundtable participants that modern direct mail requires a good deal of creativity. So where should brands be thinking about direct mail's place in their marketing budget?

Ramos noted that she and Forrester are very happy to see that sellers are planning to increase their spend on direct mail as part of their plans for this year. More than half of the respondents to the survey said that they increased their direct mail spend in 2022, as well.  

What Ramos found most important is that, when done in a modern way, a hybrid way, direct mail does have an impact. “And it delivers a good ROI,” she stated. “As a result, marketers are seeing that and they're making investments and planning to do even more.”  

Ramping Up Direct Mail

PFL CMO Jennifer Bellin went on to describe how she is combining direct mail with her digital efforts today. “Believe it or not, during the pandemic, direct mail ramped up quite a bit for us when I was at Artemis Health,” she explained. “We started using it more, especially with our customers and our virtual event attendees. We had a good deal of success sending 3D mailers and boxes of interesting things in advance of virtual conferences and then after, as a thank you.”    

The CMO went on to say that they also sent mailers to celebrate product launches. “All of these mailers really stood out and generated a lot of attention, a lot of conversation, a lot of appreciation. We actually became known for our thoughtful and creative outreach.”  

There are definitely plans, said Bellin, to bring this kind of direct mail marketing to PFL in 2023. “In fact, in Q1,” she explained, “we conducted the ‘Power of Moments Webinar,’ in which we discussed how to elevate direct mail experiences. We sent out emails inviting people to register for the webinar, and we also sent out the book the event was based on, inviting people to register. The books went to customers and prospect.”  

Bellin explained that they elevated the prospects/customer experience by sending timely pieces that match where they are in the journey. “Marketo is listening for certain stages of the journey and triggering mail based on those stages to help move the prospect along faster in their journey,” she said.  

Bellin and her team are going full-bore with the hybrid digital-physical direct mail approach. “Specifically,” she said, “I'm going to look into driving customer retention, really supporting advocacy and loyalty, and elevating our most successful and supportive customers through direct mail."  

Avoid the ‘Sea of Sameness’

Kara Trapp, VP Customer Experience, PFL, explained that she has found some really interesting ways to leverage direct mail to make it stand out—once again, avoiding that “sea of sameness.”

“We've talked a lot about personalization and getting to a detailed look of really understanding the pain points. This is key,” she said. “We are also looking for ways to really be in the moment. One of our best customers is triggering an automated and personalized campaign to people who have recently left for a competitor. It's an extremely creative and intelligent program that is driving a 16 percent conversion back to customers.”

In the end, the group’s consensus was that, if you haven't done direct mail before, it might seem as if there are high barriers to entry. Not so. Today, there is software, such as that offered by PFL, that simplifies the entire direct mail process, all while leveraging customer data. And, clearly, it works.

                          Direct Mail Done Right

Kara Trapp, PFL VP, Customer Experience, was asked to talk a bit about some of the innovative and interesting ways marketers are leveraging direct mail to stand out. Here is her commentary about the graphic below.

In the top left, we have a leading fitness-scheduling platform that leverages integration with Salesforce to trigger an automated, deeply personalized competitive direct mail customer-acquisition and -recovery program. At last report, this drove 43 percent reengagement and 16 percent conversion by customers.  

Top right we see how SAP leverages PFL integration with Salesforce to support easy insight into rep adoption and direct mail attribution in their system of record. Within the first three months of using PFL as part of their demand-generation programs, they reported a 60X ROI increase on pipeline generated with direct mail. 

On the bottom right we see a national window-replacement company running an acquisition campaign. The results: 60 percent lift in appointments set vs. email only; 44 percent lift in closed sales; increased call volume. 

Finally, on the bottom left, is Paycor and its flat mailer. PFL helped Paycor layer direct mail into multiple stages of the customer journey—awareness, meeting maker, sales enablement, partner, and expansion programs. Through our integration with Marketo and Salesforce, they used intent data to trigger when the direct mail was sent and personalized the content for each prospect. Because of this and other tactics, on average, Paycor’s programs see a 10X ACV ROI and a response rate increase of 21 percent.