Laying Out the Pros and Cons
We know it can be a long process to research, find, and decide on a marketing solutions company that achieves your objectives. We also know that the full package – good data, quality design, excellent messaging, great customer service, mailing and fulfillment, and quantifiable results – is the goal, but not always the outcome. Since we get asked about it from time to time, in this blog, we’re going to cover why you may want to choose to work with a marketing company over a CRM services company who also happens to strategize and launch campaigns. Before you make your decision, give this a quick read.
Not Always the “Path of Least Resistance”
First and foremost, although it may appear “easier” to partner with a CRM service to launch your campaigns (because they have access to CRM) – they don’t always have immediate access to other capabilities. For example, they likely don’t have in-house creative design, printing, fulfillment, and mailing, and if they do have some of them – they likely don’t have all of them to execute a turnkey campaign. The main focus of a CRM company is usually just that – customer relationship management. Their key offering is their ability to compile and supply lists – which they may be excellent at doing, but what will they provide in terms of other areas of expertise?
Because of the outsourced services they use (such as those listed above), CRM companies can’t always make campaign changes on the fly. They’re usually unable to print on-demand, have their artist make quick modifications, make last-minute changes to the mailing process, or most importantly, optimize the campaign based on results, midstream.
The Marketing Differentiators
So, what’s the alternative? Partnering with a marketing solutions company that offers expertise in everything from implementation to optimization. Marketing companies are often also connected directly to the list compiler, and even more than that, they’re usually more closely if not directly connected to everything else you’ll need and use during the campaign production process – from strategy to printing. Since many if not all of their services are in-house (including design, print production, fulfillment, and mailing), you can always make changes and improvements mid-stream and at rapid speed. They can simply call on their marketing team of strategists, artists, print production associates, and others to change gears, swiftly improving the efficiency of the program while it’s in progress and effectively increasing campaign ROI.
Additionally, marketing companies focus solely on marketing strategy and production, and the more years of experience under their belts of doing so – the better. Marketing execution is not an add-on to marketing companies. It’s what they do, day in and day out. And the right marketing company will be able to simultaneously execute concurrent campaigns, whether single-touch or many, with corresponding digital to (targeted, specified) customers and prospects. If you’re lucky or do your research, you’ll find a marketing company that also incorporates backend fulfillment, seamless management, granular personalization, and attribution, and will be a team of dedicated experts, creators, innovators, and most importantly, marketers. You get the picture we’re painting. It’s important for a marketer or marketing team to also value and provide quality execution and customer care to every client, and ensure you have the reporting, understanding, and peace of mind you need, with 1:1 attribution, automated data exchange, and a detailed dashboard.
Next time you’re debating, think through this blog first. Do you just need a simple marketing campaign with CRM first, or do you need a multi-touch, well-focused marketing campaign with accurate, up-to-date lists and quality attribution?
The Proof is in the Numbers
At Strata, it’s pretty obvious that we love (and believe in) direct mail and its marketing power, and think it’s an important touchpoint in any multichannel campaign. We could go on and on about why we think it’s great, but we understand that sometimes it takes some hard facts and solid numbers to seal the deal and make you believe in direct marketing, too. You’ll see – the numbers simply speak for themselves.
- For every 36 emails you receive (on average), you get 1 piece of mail in your mailbox.
- The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days.
- 59% of US respondents say they enjoy getting mail from brands about new products.
- Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.
- Per USPS, 98% of people check their mail daily and Americans spend upwards of 30 minutes with their mail on a single occasion.
Source for stats above: Compu-mail
- 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read or review the information at their leisure.
- 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking their mail each day.
- 60% of catalog recipients visit the website of the company that mailed them that catalog.
Source for stats above: Bolger
Sealing the Deal
More generally, we believe in direct mail because it’s:
Everyone opens mail. Even if you don’t have access to television, internet, or a cell phone, as long as you have an address, you’re reachable through mail. Opening mail is a part of the daily routine for many, and neglected by very few. Direct mail seamlessly integrates into our lives and rituals, so we see it as welcomed rather than intrusive.
With direct mail, you can target by geographic location and send your piece to all residences within your selected zip code(s). You have the ability to organize your mailing list by demographics, such as age group, income level, parenthood, pet ownership and more.
There are never-ending possibilities when it comes to organizing and developing your content in an effort to present your message to your target audience and lead them to take action. You can use your pieces to inspire immediate purchases by including limited-time offers and copy that conveys a sense of urgency.
Incorporating a special offer, online promotional code, or even a website questionnaire into your campaign can make it easy to track responses and measure success. After all, direct mail is proven to be one of the most quantifiable advertising platforms.
The Bottom Line
Direct mail is effective because of its seamless integration into our lives, yet strong presence on our counters. It catches our attention while giving us control as to what we’ll do next as a current or potential customer. That’s why we think, well…we know it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics for reaching large groups of consumers.
Ready to get the most out of your direct mail? Contact us to create a highly successful marketing campaign that incorporates the latest direct mail tricks and trends.
Make Your Direct Mail Thrive with Tracking, Enhancing, and Attributing Results
We’ve said it time and again – direct mail really works. In fact, direct mail open rates can reach up to 42%, which is a lot higher than most e-mail open rates. Recipients of direct mail also “purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.” While these are excellent stats, we know it’s not always that easy to track and measure ROI from physical mail in the same way you track ROI from your digital strategies. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. We believe in not only the importance of direct mail, but in its results – with the right tools and resources.
First and foremost, consistency is key when it comes to direct mail ROI. To get the most out of your direct mail, make sure it isn’t just direct mail. What do we mean? Weave digital touches into your direct mail – like your social media, digital ads, and website – and make sure everything is connected. With the right direct mail partner or resource, you can take mailing addresses and match them with social accounts, IP addresses, and more to really understand who your audience is and what actions they’re taking. Weaving in digital information can help you share your message before, during, and after your direct mail is sent out – making the chosen brand message consistent and more impactful to your audience.
Not convinced this is all necessary? We are, because combining offline and online tactics is proven to really work. In a recent study, a whapping 68% of marketing respondents saw that combining digital and direct mail increased visits to their websites. Considering the multichannel experience and the customer journey while creating your direct mail will not just increase website visits, but many areas of ROI.
When it comes to getting the most from your direct mail, it’s important to ABT – Always Be Tracking. Not only tracking information and results from your direct mail campaign like you would your digital ones, but tracking the delivery of your mailers – just like you would a package. This will help you know when to prepare the recipient with other messaging before delivery, and when to follow up with them to make the greatest impact. Take it a step further by working with your direct mail partner or resource to send the recipient an “informed delivery” message by USPS to make them aware of their mailer’s arrival, and send them direct links to ROI-rich landing pages. If you haven’t noticed already, every step we’re highlighting truly combines the traditional and digital worlds of marketing.
If you’re still with us, you’ll see that we’ve created an experience for the recipient along many steps of their customer journey, tracked their direct mail’s physical journey, and have notified them that there’s a special something waiting in their mailbox. So, what’s next? Reporting, recording, and attributing. Without these, you won’t know how to improve upon your direct mail and increase your ROI for next time. Your recipients may respond or perform an action by phone, BRC, personalized landing page (PURL), or in another way, so it’s important that the information is correctly recorded in real-time. The best way to record and store this information is on a platform’s dashboard specifically made for tracking. There are many out there – so find whatever works for you and make sure you use it to your advantage. The chosen platform can help you store names, addresses, ages, and other helpful demographics to assist you in understanding and targeting your true target audience.
You may have some recipients who will visit your website but will not directly respond to your mail. That’s why it’s important to use identifiable URLs that you can easily track, like UTMs, PURLS, or specified QR codes. If these recipients aren’t quite ready to reach back out to you or make a move, you’ll still have a gauge on their interest, and will be able to send them digital ads or e-mails reminding them of your product or service until their ready to take the next step.
Instead of continuing to throw mail like paper planes to your audience, track and know if your mailers make an impact. Make sure you’re always examining your data and attributing it. You’ll quickly realize it’s easier than you expected to see what’s working, what’s not, and where you can improve on your direct mail campaigns.
As one of our specialties at Strata, we know that direct mail can be uber effective when using the right processes and tools. The key is always combining traditional and digital to catch your audience’s attention before, during, and after direct mail is in their hands. And, like we said before, never stop tracking and modifying.
To learn more about how to create successful direct mail, check out our direct-mail-focused blogs, “Dimensional Mail: Four Criteria for the Perfect Promotional Item” and “7 Ways to Make Your Postcard Stand Out”, or simply contact Strata. We’ve been doing this for years and would be happy to help you get an ROI rich direct mail campaign started.
Say Goodbye to Duplicates and Hello to Increased Campaign Success
As marketers, we do everything we can to streamline our campaigns to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In the never-ending quest for peak performance, one of the most consistent frustrations we deal with is data quality.
We all know bad data is frustrating to deal with, but beyond that, the reality is that bad data represents wasted effort, and wasted effort represents a loss of money.
We have access to a ridiculous amount of data, and in many ways, that’s a good thing — more data translates to more targets, a better understanding of those targets, and more avenues by which we can interact with them.
The problem is that all data is not created equal. In addition to generally corrupt data, duplicate data is prevalent, including name and address, household, and family (if multiple families live at the same address).
So, how do we ensure that in a world of abundance, we’re separating the wheat from the chaff?
Step 1: Educate Yourself with Regulative Processes
It’s worth doing some exploring and familiarizing yourself with postal address regulations and how they affect your deliverability rates. Luckily there are numerous services and mail management software that can help you through this.
For example, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a USPS developed software that ensures mailing addresses are complete and accurate. In other words, it determines if an address actually exists. CASS also standardizes an address into a format the USPS prefers, which is an invaluable tool for creating easily comparable data points when checking for duplicates.
Another great resource is the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. The NCOA is a dataset of permanent address changes filed by individuals, families and businesses, and can be important for weeding out which address to keep — and which to toss — in your datasets containing multiple addresses for the same customer.
Step 2: Double Check Mail List Data for Common Errors — By Hand
While it’s easy to be lulled into the convenient trap of relying too heavily on software solutions, it’s important to comb through your data — yes, manually — for common errors. Even the most advanced mail management software still requires human interaction and understanding for optimal outcomes.
How? It’s not uncommon for things like commas, missing spaces, or data simply entered in the wrong field to throw CASS off. Simple mistakes can cost you big when it comes to getting rid of duplicate data sets.
Once you’ve used software to get your data into a great starting point, it’s important to remember that that’s all it is — a great starting point. It’s up to you to do the manual work and ensure the data is uncorrupted beyond that.
Step 3: Remove Excess Info from Your Files
Since we’re solely talking about mailing, it’s important to remove as many variables as you can from your mailing lists, and that means dumping the excess information.
This excess information includes things like email addresses, phone numbers, revenue, years in business, etc., all of which aren’t pertinent to your direct mail vendor.
In short, avoid the clutter and dump the details for your mailings. Keep it simple and save that info for later.
Step 4: Choose Your Direct Mail Vendor Carefully
Much like data sets, not all vendors are created equal, and some will prove to be nightmares to work with. This speaks for itself. You want to consider attributes like experience, referrals, and knowledge of the postal regulations.
A good tip? Make sure you’re working with a vendor who proactively takes initiative when it comes to cleaning lists.
Step 5: Enjoy A Job Well Done
Cleaning and getting rid of the duplicates in your mailing list can be a process, but one that is well worth the effort. When it comes to direct mail campaigns, remember: the better the data you put in, the better the data you get out.
Need a hand with your direct mail marketing? We have the knowledge and experience to help you every step of the way. Contact us to see how we can help you design and execute and effective direct mail program.