Tech Line

Roundtable Part 1: How To Level Up Your Mailbox Mojo

Expert Strategies to Optimize Direct Mail and Make Every Connection Count

Recently, Jennifer Bellin, CMO of PFL, led a Roundtable on how to transform direct mail programs into memorable moments that bridge the gap between your brand and your audience. (Bellin was a PFL customer at two previous companies, including Paycor, one of companies that took part in the event.) The expert panel shared their experience and tips for using mail to drive engagement across the customer lifecycle and foster lasting connections. The Roundtable transcript has been edited and trimmed for clarity.

We’ve broken this in-depth discussion into five parts:

  • How Did It All Start? & Priorities and Goals
  • Trends: Meaningful Connections
  • Getting Personal
  • Measure for Measure
  • Acting Mature

The Roundtable panelists:  

Gretchen Swann, Senior Principal Marketing Program Manager at Paycor, leverages direct mail in a highly automated and scalable way across a number of different use cases and departments.

Rob Willingham, Director of Marketing at LexisNexis, has been leveraging, testing, and refining direct mail campaigns, which target attorneys, for a number of years.

Paul Bobnak, Direct Mail Evangelist at Who's Mailing What, has worked for more than 20 years analyzing thousands of direct mail pieces every year. He is a deep industry expert and creator and host of Meet the Mailers, a podcast series.


Bellin: In our webinar today, you are going to learn some tips on how to transform your direct mail programs into memorable moments that bridge the gap between your brand and your audience. We'll be diving into the power of personalization and storytelling, how to integrate direct mail with other channels, and how to optimize campaigns and measure results. So, my first question is, how did you all get started with direct mail?

Swann: I was actually working with Jennifer when we started our direct mail journey at Paycor. We were doing some direct mail, but it was not scalable with a lot of hands-on work. We were basically mailing things out ourselves from our office. Literally kitting packages together and figuring out who to send to from Excel sheets. Then we’d have lots of it come back because of bad addresses. This was definitely not efficient, it wasn't scalable, yet we could definitely see the opportunity and we wanted to do more with direct mail. But the way we were doing it wasn't something we could even think about expanding.

Bellin: Thanks, Gretchen. Rob, what about you?

Willingham: Thanks, well first, I should say for many out there that I don't have a direct mail background. I just walked into a role a couple years ago. I basically oversee ABM and one of the channels I inherited was direct mail and gifting. At the time, our sales reps were just using gift cards, very ad hoc, stopping by a local bakery when they were stopping by a prospect’s law firm, things like that. Disorganized and no structure to it. I saw an opportunity, though, if we could come up with a cohesive strategy. I eventually found another division that had a dormant contract with a vendor and they had some dormant seats. I grabbed them.

The sales manager was interested, too, so I picked Florida and ran a pilot that became the baseline of how we scaled our direct mail. I proposed to leadership that that we invest in this and direct mail soon became a new channel of pipeline that's continued to expand since then.

Bellin: That's great. And piloting is so important. Paul, what about you?

Bobnak: Well, my background originally was in database and information publishing. When I was asked to take over running Who's Mailing What, I really had a baptism by fire trying to learn about all the ins and outs of direct mail, all the rules you're supposed to follow and the rules that you can break.  


Bellin: Rob and Gretchen, what are your priorities and goals for this year and how do you plan to incorporate direct mail?

Willingham: Well, it’s to make money and drives pipeline and revenue. One of the reasons I value direct mail is because, in this digital age, there's an opportunity with this experiential channel that pierces through the digital noise and surprises and delights people with something that’s not a bank statement or a credit card offer or HOA newsletter. The more that we can personalize and make that experience better, the more awesome direct mail becomes.

Swann: That definitely sounds familiar. Pipeline is definitely a huge priority of ours. Of course, being able to show what the direct mail programs are actually delivering is imperative too. From our perspective, as a B2B company, a lot of the direct mail programs are focused on driving interest and getting that appointment for our sales reps. As Rob said, we used to get so much direct mail, but now we get so many emails people are quick to delete them all. So, it's almost unusual when you get an actual physical piece of direct mail.

That's why it's important to incorporate direct mail pieces into your campaigns because it really is breaking through more than other channels right now. From my perspective, I'm thinking about how I can strategically weave direct mail tactics into other programs that I'm running. I’m always thinking about how we can drive that initial interest and get people interested to have another conversation with our sales reps.  

And at PFL we can help you with all of this, of course. We have experts and technology that can help you simplify, personalize, drive engagement, and measure results at scale.  

Want to learn more? Set up a time to meet.  

Next time, Part 2: Getting Personal