Here are two case studies from Deliver magazine that show how integrated direct mail efforts can pack the biggest punch of all.
Given all the buzz that surrounds web and mobile platforms these days, direct mail has come to look like the plain-Jane country cousin of B2B marketing.
But my experience with DM campaigns, historically and recently, suggests that the snail-mail channel still has plenty to offer—when it’s used in a highly targeted and integrated way.
The numbers game
Mass-market DM was never a great way to meet and convert highly qualified B2B prospects, but that’s what most people envision when they hear “direct mail.”
Today the most successful targeting for DM goes beyond segmenting by vertical and often focuses on hundreds, not thousands, of targets.
Being clever with a purpose
The most effective direct mail campaigns do more than simply utilize another channel—they are intended to be clutterbusters right from the start.
The focus here is on getting attention and stimulating interest with something that’s hard to ignore. A clutterbusting DM is:
- Dimensional—Think big, or at least oddly shaped; think color (NOT easily scuffed white)
- Specially delivered via Priority Mail or any method that marks it as an important package
It goes without saying that we have to promote the right content and message for the right personas at the right point in the buying cycle within the piece, but that’s the part we’re most likely NOT to neglect.
This is one of those times where it’s probably better to show rather than tell.
And I’m lucky to have USPS publication Deliver magazine on hand for a couple of case studies that emphasize how diligent targeting and thoughtful messaging, thoroughly combined with entertaining creative, can produce outstanding results.
While the industry average for DM response rates is 1-3%, these campaigns garnered response rates of 10-15%.
(Full disclosure: both campaigns featured were created by my home base, Babcock&Jenkins, in conjunction with Omniture and Adobe.)
In my opinion, you can never go wrong with anything chocolate. And when the Omniture Business Unit at Adobe chose the concept of sending a chocolate pie chart to 500 of their hardest-to-reach prospects, they were rewarded with a response rate of 11.6 %—and estimated ROI of 289%.
(An essential ingredient in this DM pie was an overlay of a personalized URL, or PURL, that directed each prospect to their informational microsite.)
Omniture and Adobe presented 500 more tough-cookie leads with a S’mores kit meant to represent Omniture’s digital suite.
In the Deliver article that analyzes the program’s results, Adobe’s senior director of demand marketing and media Mike Chertudi says he believes clever DM linked to relevant educational content is more effective than self-serving “freemiums.”
With a response rate of 12.7% and ROI nearing 300% as of August 2010, the S’mores campaign certainly supports his view.
Have you had to fight for your right to use DM lately? I’d love to hear your experiences—good, bad and delicious—in the comments.