Paycor Finds Direct Mail to Be A Resourceful Marketing Addition

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Paycor’s human capital management (HCM) platform is designed to modernize people management—from recruiting, onboarding and payroll to career development and retention—for the diverse needs of its clientele. With more than 30,000 customers, Paycor has earned a prominent place in the industry by helping them solve business problems and achieve their goals. Paycor continually seeks new strategies to enhance its marketing efforts and drive growth.


Human Capital Management (HCM) Software




Enterprise, SMB, B2B


Eight years ago, Paycor began leveraging direct mail programs as one of its demand tactics. To say that its attempts at scale where a disaster is an understatement. At one point, the sending of 50,000 direct mailers resulted in more than half being returned due to bad data. Clearly, Paycor's manual approach to executing direct mail campaigns was laborious and inefficient. The marketing team soon realized something had to be done.




return on investment (ROI)
return on investment (ROI)
conversion rate for sales meetings


Cumbersome Workflow Consumed Considerable Time

In the early stages of its direct mail initiatives, Paycor encountered significant hurdles that hindered the effectiveness of its campaigns. The absence of a dedicated direct mail partner left the company ill-equipped to manage the numerous aspects of direct mail planning and execution—resulting in low engagement rates and a high volume of returned mailers due to bad addresses. This logistical nightmare not only squandered valuable resources but also necessitated the hiring of temporary staff to manually sift through the deluge of undelivered mail.

Each campaign involved a time-consuming process of coordinating with internal teams, sourcing vendors for various components (i.e., logoed items and printed materials), and managing countless logistical details. This cumbersome workflow consumed considerable time and effort and left room for errors and inconsistencies.

Gretchen Swann, Senior Principal Marketing Program Manager, began her tenure at Paycor shortly after this debacle. She admits she's fortunate to have no memory of it. Swann does note that the company continued to do direct mail this way for a while longer. “Yes, luckily, I missed out on all of the bins and bins of returned mailers,” she explains. “But for anybody who has tried to do a direct meal program on their own, all of this might sound a bit familiar.” Enter PFL.


Transformative Journey to Overhaul Direct Mail

Swann soon realized that it was important to figure out how they could scale and automate the process to handle it all better. “And that's where PFL came in,” she says, to provide a more streamlined and effective approach to direct mail marketing. With PFL's expertise and innovative technology, Paycor embarked on a transformative journey to overhaul its direct mail strategy and maximize its impact.

By leveraging PFL's comprehensive suite of solutions, Paycor was able to automate and streamline every aspect of its direct mail campaigns, from data management and address verification to content customization and delivery tracking.

PFL began to take a good deal of the work off the table for Paycor.  “It helps us to have a really strategic partner for our direct mail,” says Swann. She points out, for example, how she received various suggestions from PFL for a mailer concept that focused on HR technology.  Says Swann: “The kit actually included a Paycor branded tile—one of those tiles that help you find things when you lose them—one of our white papers, and a personalized note that had a call to action for the prospect who was receiving it.”

Access to Strategic Ideas
Through this collaborative partnership with PFL, Paycor continues to gain access to strategic ideas and personalized recommendations tailored to optimize the performance of its direct mail initiatives. Armed with data-driven insights and best practices, Paycor was empowered to refine its messaging, target the right audience segments, and drive tangible results.

With PFL's direct mail automation platform seamlessly integrated into its marketing ecosystem, Paycor embarked on a journey to revolutionize its approach to nurturing prospects and engaging clients. For years Paycor had leveraged Marketo to create dynamic nurture programs designed to deliver targeted content and personalized experiences across multiple channels. The email had been effective, but they wondered if adding a direct mail touch within the nurture might improve response rates. Very quickly Paycor found that, by adding direct mail to the campaign, they were able to improve both response and win rates.  

Collaborating closely with their dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) at PFL, Paycor explored innovative concepts and creative ideas to enhance the effectiveness of its direct mail campaigns.  Each element was carefully crafted to resonate with recipients and drive meaningful engagement.  

One particular addition was a piece of content, a “Buyer's Guide.” Says Swann: “Our team created this to help prospects who are thinking through what they're looking for in an HR partner to have something to reference—something to think about. Content gives that extra value beyond just a token gift. It can help them to continue their journey of looking for a new HR partner.” It’s also a great example of using direct mail to create “moments of insight”—using various content strategies to turn audience engagement into meaningful action.

Swann notes that this is crucial because it also helps sales with follow-ups. Instead of sellers just calling and saying, "Hi, I hope you received the Paycor-branded tile we sent you," they can actually refer to talking points from the guide. This, she says, puts the company in a position of consultant for the prospect, to really help move the buying process forward.

Swann also considers the importance of personalized content. In addition to the buyer's guide, a personalized print-on-demand (POD) card is included with every mailer. “One of the awesome things about working with PFL is that they're also a printer,” she explains. “That allows us to have custom pieces printed for every single direct mail kit that goes out the door. It isn't the same kit going to every single person. We're able to customize the piece to be specific to the person receiving it.”


Unprecedented Levels of Efficiency and Effectiveness

The partnership between Paycor and PFL has yielded remarkable results, with direct mail campaigns delivering a staggering 15.6X return on investment (ROI) and a 13.7 percent conversion rate for sales meetings. By automating and optimizing its direct mail initiatives, Paycor has achieved unprecedented levels of efficiency and effectiveness, driving tangible business outcomes and strengthening its position in the market.

“What's really great about this,” says Swann, “is that it’s something you turn on and it's always on and we just watch the results. We don’t have to worry about touching it or triggering things all the time.”

Today, Paycor runs numerous campaigns with PFL—from letters to video brochures to compelling boxes with high-end logoed items. With real-time tracking and reporting capabilities integrated into its marketing platforms, Paycor gained invaluable insights into the performance of its direct mail campaigns. From delivery confirmations to engagement metrics and conversion rates, Paycor has full visibility into the impact of its efforts, enabling data-driven decision-making and continuous optimization.

Transformative Power of Innovation
The partnership between Paycor and PFL exemplifies the transformative power of innovation and collaboration in modern marketing. By embracing automation, personalization, and data-driven insights, Paycor was able to overcome longstanding challenges and achieve remarkable success in its direct mail initiatives.

Looking ahead, Paycor remains committed to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in B2B marketing, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and strategic partnerships to drive continued growth and deliver exceptional value to its clients. With PFL by its side, Paycor is well-positioned to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of modern marketing with direct mail.

Key Takeaways

Start Simple, Integrate Content, and Personalize

Says Swann: “There are three main things that we learned: Start simple, integrate content, and personalize and customize as much as possible to really stand out.” Swann reiterates that, back in the early days, going through all of those steps just to create one campaign was hard for her team. “However, working with PFL,” she concludes, “we are now able to have multiple campaigns in market, as well as streamline all those steps. This has been absolutely incredible and has really allowed us to do so much more.”

“By working with PFL, we are now able to have multiple campaigns in market, as well as streamline all those steps. This has been absolutely incredible and has really allowed us to do so much more.”

—Gretchen Swann, Senior Principal Marketing Program Manager, Paycor

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