Tech Line

Roundtable Part 3: 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: Paul, what are some of the most creative things you've seen around personalization?

Bobnak: There are so many interesting things going on, Jennifer. It's a testament to how much advanced technology offers to marketers today—especially with so many ways to connect with customers and prospects with variable data printing. One example is that my utility company has a smart meter that they tap into to get my energy usage. Then they create a chart showing my energy usage compared with my neighbor's energy so people are aware. This is a multichannel campaign; they do the same thing with email. It’s really impactful when you see that graph where they chart it across the 12 months period.

Another example is a homeowner’s insurance mailing that went out to a customer who had previously inquired about getting homeowner’s insurance. It provides them all the information that's publicly available about when their home was built and the square footage and a quote based on all that information. It really catches your attention and makes a real connection with the customer.

Bellin: Those are some really great ideas. I love the idea of comparing you to your neighbors. I've not seen that. One of the most rewarding things for me as a marketer is when someone reaches out to me, and they respond positively to a campaign that I'm doing. Last year we mailed out books, The Power of Moments. If you haven't read it, it’s really awesome, by Chip and Dan Heath. One recipient reached out to me afterwards and said, "I love the book. I read it and applied the concept of ‘surprise and delight’ with a family member who had just opened a new business." It was clear that the campaign made a memorable impact on her and it really made my day just to hear how it kind of changed her life in a really positive way. Gretchen, Rob, do you have an experience like this where a mail recipient shared a positive response with you?

Swann: Absolutely. It’s definitely great when you have a meaningful agenda and get those kinds of affirmations that what you’re doing is really working, and it's not always about pipeline. One initiative that we have here at Paycor is called “Perspective+,” and it's basically a resource center that’s dedicated totally to DE&I content. We have a monthly newsletter featuring the latest DE&I content that we have for that month. When we just celebrated Black History Month, for instance, we showcased a children's book about understanding and celebrating differences between people that was written by someone at Paycor. We gave people the opportunity to sign up for the newsletter and receive the book for their children. We had such a wonderful outpouring of interest. It was really cool to be able to see how much interest we received and how much positive reaction we got when people started receiving their packages.

Willingham: In terms of corporate social responsibility, for women's history month last year we did a campaign that included writing blogs and ads around what we're doing in the space, as well as highlighting significant women in law in the last hundred years. We wrote those pieces and gave reps the opportunity to nominate five accounts that they wanted to gift flowers for Women's History Month. We sent the flowers to these accounts with a message that said, "Here's to the change makers, women in law breaking barriers, creating progress and shaping an equitable world in honor of Women's History, LexisNexis."

So, this was less about my product and more around being part of my tribe because sometimes people want to be associated and connected with brands and companies that are pursuing and engaging in things that matter to them on a social and personal level. One of the surprising moments was when some of the recipient attorneys started sharing on LinkedIn, saying, "Hey, I just got flowers and not from my husband," and they would post the notes from LexisNexis. It was very cool.

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 4: Measure for Measure

Previously, Part 2: Trends: Meaningful Connections