Proofpoint + PFL
The Pandemic Shift: Tactile Marketing Success in a Time of Change
Proofpoint’s Pandemic Problem
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, business disruption suddenly became universal, and Proofpoint was no exception.
Proofpoint is a leading provider for cybersecurity solutions. The company has partnered with PFL for years to deliver direct mail that creates remarkable brand experiences. Each package used a combination of personalization, relevant messaging, and fun items such as Oreos, a swear jar, coffee, a branded hourglass, and more. (Read more about Proofpoint’s kits with PFL.) The items and message acted as a compelling teaser for the more valuable item to be received after taking a meeting.
Due to the pandemic, Proofpoint immediately transitioned to virtual meetings. They also needed to rethink their existing direct mail programs — most of their target audience had been transplanted from business offices to home offices.
Because they couldn’t be sure where to send their direct mail door openers, Proofpoint put their campaigns on hold…but not for long. Their marketing team fully understood the power of tactile marketing automation and the results it drove for their business. Even with the pandemic, they wanted to keep driving pipeline.
According to Matthew Dickson, Marketing Program Manager, “There was never a question of stopping direct mail entirely, but we realized that our strategy needed to evolve to meet the needs of the new work environment. The impact of direct mail is an important part of our brand experience.”
Broad audience, early to mid-funnel
• A highly dynamic environment due to pandemic
• Need to connect with a remote workforce
• Increase meetings booked to build sales pipeline
• Reduce cost of acquisition
Bold, brave, and ambitious, the Proofpoint marketing team took only a week and a half to reassess their strategy and make a change. They decided to modify their typical direct mail flow, adapting it with the goal of increasing meetings, increasing the speed of pipeline creation, and reducing costs.
To increase meetings, they wanted to dramatically raise the scale of outreach. For that same reason, their direct mail strategy would have to change, too. Scaling up their first touch direct mail teaser would have been cost prohibitive.
Proofpoint came up with a solution: leave out the first direct mail touch. They would rely on targeted, intent-based digital outreach instead, getting people excited about the meeting and the post-meeting package.
The following table gives a simplified look at their campaign flows before and after COVID. Changes are in bold.
Marketing Program Manager
“We made the changes to adjust to the new work environment. Because PFL adapts to meet our needs, we were able to test our new strategy and scale up quickly while still leaving a lasting impression.”
|Pre-COVID Campaign||Post-COVID Campaign|
|Create a targeted list of qualified contacts.||Create a broad list of qualified contacts.|
|Send 1,500 physical direct mail kits per campaign as meeting maker teasers along with other multichannel outreach.||Expand the target pool for campaigns by 3x and lead with a value-based offer. For example – instead of asking for only a virtual meeting, we would offer to perform a Risk Assessment for the prospect. Rather than telling a prospect about our solutions, we are able to show them who their Very Attacked People (VAP’s) are and what cyber threats are currently being missed.|
|Hold meetings.||Hold virtual meetings and request the contact’s preferred mailing address.|
|Send the redemption kit following the meetings.||Send the redemption kit following the meetings.|
Proofpoint went into this plan knowing their percentage of meetings booked per outreach would decline. The volume would have to more than make up for change. Meanwhile, they would save on the cost of the first touchpoint. The follow-up kit remained in place.
The sales rep who takes the meeting has a required task to collect the preferred address from the contact. After the sales rep adds the address to Salesforce and the offer is validated by marketing, that triggers PFL to fulfill the offer.
Swift Shift, Big Results
Fortune favors the bold!
Proofpoint generated 12x the meetings and 6.5x the pipeline in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019 with their new strategy. Taking advantage of the cost savings from eliminating the teaser mailer, they were able to deliver these enhanced results at comparable budget levels. Although their meeting response rate declined from when sending high impact physical mailers, the increase in volume allowed Proofpoint to set a record for meetings booked in a quarter.
Proofpoint booked so many meetings they had to put restrictions in place to give sales reps time to catch up.
“What makes it possible to do this at scale is the integration and tracking information we get from PFL,” said Dickson. “It’s a different ballgame now that we’re doing a much larger quantity of sends. Being able to see all the information from PFL in our CRM reduces questions from our workforce. Sales reps don’t have to ask ‘where is this offer in the process.’ They can see the offer’s progress for themselves. Because of PFL’s integration with our systems, one or two of our people can manage thousands of direct mail sends.”
The new campaign flow is just as flexible as the previous one. Proofpoint can create multichannel campaigns around whichever point of awareness they prefer (email security, security awareness training, insider threat management, and so on). Then they pair that messaging with an item from a selection of their established inventory with PFL.
Key Inspiration Takeaway
In the face of dramatic change, decisive action yields results. Responding to change with thoughtful adaptation is the way to achieve business success.
PFL and tactile marketing automation can adapt right along with you, scaling up or down or using entirely new strategies.