Tech Line

PFL & Paycor Create Powerful Moments with High-ROI Direct Mail

A while back, PFL hosted a virtual event featuring Jennifer Bellin, CMO of PFL and former marketing leader at Paycor, and Gretchen Swann, Paycor’s Senior Principal Marketing Program Manager. The full webinar can be viewed here.

This year, PFL has focused on helping marketers create powerful moments through direct mail programs that integrate with digital campaigns, a theme inspired by the book, The Power of Moments, by best-selling authors Chip and Dan Heath. The Heaths explore why certain memorable experiences can cause us to take action and how we can learn to create those moments ourselves.

While the book consists of four elements for creating powerful moments—elevation, insight, connection, and celebration—this webinar focused on elevation, and how can we can elevate our marketing campaigns by adding direct mail to digital programs to boost sensory appeal, create urgency, and add an element of surprise.

What follows are the highlights of this lively and informative discussion.

“If you’ve ever tried to do a direct mail program on your own,” began Paycor’s Gretchen Swann, “this might sound a bit familiar. I had to work with internal marketing communications to request a concept for a mailer and then create all the content for the mailer. From there, I had to find a vendor from who I could source the items that would be part of direct mail kit. Then I had to find another vendor to order the box and any sort of shipping materials that we might need. Then, of course, we also had to find a print house to print everything.”

But that wasn’t all, according to Swann. At that point she had to reach out to sales to find out to whom the direct mail was going to be sent by obtaining that list and exporting to an Excel spreadsheet.  

The Paycor marketer’s work was still not done: “From there I had to find another vendor to put the kit together and ship it all out from there. Once they were delivered, that vendor put the tracking back into the Excel sheet. Then it was up to me to put all the prospect information back into a Salesforce campaign. This would provide visibility for sales so they could follow up.”

But it didn't end there. Even after the kit was out, Swann, of course, wanted to see if it was successful, so she was forced to pull manual reports each week to see if any meetings were being scheduled for the people who received kits.

“And this was just for one direct mail campaign,” said Swann. “As you can see, many of these steps are very hard to scale. If we wanted to be able to do more programs, it was important to figure out how we could scale this process.”

To do that, Paycor turned to PFL to help the B2B company create an always-on direct mail program. Overall, Swan said, the program has been “super successful," with a 15.6X ROI and 13.7 percent meeting conversion.

Focus on Email Was Not Working

“Wow! Those are some really impressive metrics, Gretchen,” said PFL’s Jennifer Bellin. “What were the specific problems you were trying to solve with this nurture?” Swan said that there was a structure and framework in place for the nurture programs using Marketo. There were different nurture programs in place, different kinds of messaging.

“But the problem was,” she explained, “we were just focusing on email, and this was not meeting our goals. What I’ve explained, thus far, is what nurture programs looked like before we integrated anything besides email.”

“We definitely hear about this sort of pain from marketers we talk to,” agreed Bellin. “Digital alone just doesn't drive enough engagement or create those powerful moments the way something that you can touch and experience does. So, how did you partner with PFL to solve your problem?”

“This is the part that has been absolutely incredible,” said Swann. She described how she and her team talked through everything that was involved in managing the program with PFL. “They figured out how to take so much of that work off the table for me. They quickly became a real strategic partner regarding what we could do with direct mail.”

Swann explained the process this way: She brought this challenging nurture concept to her PFL CSM, who was able to take all the information around the campaign and provide some suggestions for the campaign. “Just the fact that we were able to have a partner from the beginning,” Swann said, “was absolutely huge.”

Bellin was interested in the messaging and content that Paycor found works best. Swann was quick to point out that the content Paycor uses is designed to provide extra value, insight that helps the recipient along their journey.

“I think it's also crucial because it also helps sales to follow up,” noted Swann. “Instead of sales just calling and saying, ‘Hey, I hope you received the whatever-you-got,' the salesperson can bring up some talking points—maybe some pain points or other challenges. This way we are more of a consultant to the prospect, maybe also helping them move the buying process forward. Personalized content is always super important, too.”

Swann also explained that one of “the awesome things about working with PFL” is that they're also a printer. That makes it easy for Paycor to produce custom pieces—such as print-on-demand (POD) cards—for every direct mail kit that goes out the door. “We're able to actually customize the pieces that go into the mailers so we can be more specific to the person receiving it,” she noted.

Both agreed that the amount of customization that can be done with any of these pieces is limitless. “As long as you're able to pull it in from your CRM, PFL is able to print on the spot. They're able to put it in with the kit and get it out the door to create that more customized experience for the prospect,” said Swann.

Bellin agreed that personalization is extremely important and that, today, people expect things to be personalized. “Just as with Paycor, all of our customers can leverage any of their data fields in Salesforce to provide highly personalized notes at scale,” Bellin explained. “You can even personalize the images that you send. PFL can send mailers on demand anywhere in the U.S. within three to five days. That means they receive the mailer while your company is still top of mind.”

Scale and Automation

Bellin was next interested in how Swan uses PFL to automate and scale Paycor’s programs. “The power and ease of our automation is really one of the areas where we stand out,” she explained. “At the beginning of the Webinar, you mentioned that you saw some great results. So what were your KPIs? How did you measure it all?”

“We are definitely very much into measuring the impact of our programs at Paycor,” said Swann. All our automation is set up through Marketo and Salesforce. We're able to have the visibility of the results directly within our Salesforce platform rather than having to look someplace else to see how the campaigns are working. I'm able to see in Salesforce how this is doing.”

“I'm sure there are people out there,” said Bellin, “who are wondering where to start. Do you have a few tips you could share for those who may be new to doing these kinds of direct mail programs?”  

Swann’s immediate response was simple: Tip one: “Don't get overwhelmed.”

“It can take a little bit of time to get there,” she said, “If there's an opportunity just to kind of dabble in it, do it. Use a little direct mail in your different programs. Just doing something simple. It doesn't have to be a triggered program. It doesn't have to be an always-on program. Maybe just start with people who attended a webinar to see what the process looks like. It doesn't have to be super complex out of the gate. Just figure out how to navigate it.”

Number two, said Swann, is to learn how to include appropriate content. “For instance, we have a campaign where we send a Buyer’s Guide. It really provides extra value to the person that we’re sending it to because you’re providing them something that's helping progress them in their journey. But it also will provide sales reps with more information that they can best use to follow up and be a true consultant to the person you're marketing to.”

Swann’s third tip is, once you feel comfortable with the process, take it a little bit further each time. “Start to include rep information, begin to call out specifics about what the prospect engaged with,” she said. “I really think that once you're able to do that, it becomes a memorable experience for the prospect because they're getting something that clearly was sent just to them. It wasn't sent to millions of people. It really helps them remember you and your brand. It makes you stand out.”

See the short video below to learn how PFL can make the direct mail process easier and more successful for your brand, too.