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Why Invest in Data-Driven Direct Mail Marketing?

August 9, 2019
By Lizzie Hoffman

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We recently took part in a webinar panel with our friends at Lob to discuss data-driven direct mail marketing. Throughout the hour, we discussed the misconceptions surrounding direct mail marketing, how to retrieve postal data, and the benefits of personalization in omnichannel marketing campaigns. Here are our key takeaways from each topic.

Direct mail converts, so why do businesses avoid it?

The two major misconceptions businesses have when it comes to direct mail are:

  • Print campaigns are costly
  • No postal data means it cannot be done

Let’s break this down and see why neither are truly barriers for businesses that understand omnichannel marketing.

What’s the real cost of printing for direct mail?

Cost doesn’t just mean dollars and cents in marketing, but unfortunately this remains the mindset of many marketers. Previously, direct mail campaigns were expensive to print and sent via a “batch & blast” method, meaning there was little real-time segmentation and personalization. Now, monetary costs for print have decreased, but what’s really impactful is the engagement ROI that comes with direct mail thanks to on-demand and automated printing. This is because on-demand and automated printing allow businesses to add more personalization elements to their direct mail campaigns, which in turn increases engagement.  

Digital remarketing advertising is another costly venture, both monetarily and in terms of ROI. Not only are ads expensive, but they can have little to no ROI on certain platforms because the engagement attribution data simply isn’t present. Additionally, companies are completely at the mercy of the platform, its algorithms, and frequent updates, making companies reactive rather than proactive with their time and budgets.

Knowing this, can cross-channel email and direct mail marketing pick up the slack to provide impactful engagement attribution data? The answer is yes, and the best tool to use is Identity Matching. But what are some of the ways Identity Matching helps businesses retrieve a postal record from just an email?

Retrieving postal data is possible…

Many companies don’t have first party access to customer postal addresses, and that makes direct mail campaigns almost impossible. The key is knowing how to retrieve customer postal addresses; this is where a great data partner can fill in the gaps. There are a two main methods of postal data retrieval: Postal append from a customer email list and postal append from website visitor data.

From the inbox to the mailbox

It used to be novel to get the “You’ve got mail” message from AOL, but imagine if customers heard that message for every email received today?

Email inboxes are cluttered, so sometimes a stellar marketing email can get lost in the shuffle and a tangible marketing piece can ensure the message reaches the customer, albeit a more novel method. Reaching customers both on and offscreen increases overall brand engagement and visibility while giving companies a better chance at staying top of mind. But how can a company add a complementary direct mail campaign to an email marketing strategy without a postal address?

One method of retrieving postal addresses uses that same customer email list to match the customer email to a full name and postal address for about 40-60% of the list on average. This form of Identity Matching matches online data like an email or hashed email to a confirmed deliverable postal address. This can be done in a batch list format or in real-time directly after an email registration via an API. This simple customer record enhancement highly increases marketing opportunities and visibility through direct mail campaigns alongside strategic email marketing. But what if the email database is not enough? The company website is another avenue for postal address retrieval.

From the website to the mailbox

Sometimes a potential customer might visit a website without filling out a form, providing any information whatsoever. Customers scour hundreds of webpages a day, and often don’t end up purchasing anything at all. Where does all of this potential customer data go, and can businesses gain anything from anonymous browsers?

Website visitor identification solutions are the MVP in this instance. Visitor ID technology allows a company to append a postal address and other data points to anonymous website users. So while a form may never be submitted, there is still plenty of data to retrieve from the user’s website activity and the ability to use this data helps companies create highly personalized postal retargeting campaigns that shine just as much as parallel email campaigns.

 

The power of personalization

In the webinar, a user poll was taken regarding direct mail personalization tactics; the results showed a majority of businesses translate common email personalization elements into their direct mail campaigns without much difficulty.

Many companies know personalization increases attribution in the digital space, and personalization can have similar impact in direct mail campaigns. It’s not uncommon to send an email offer highlighting a customer’s last purchase or an anniversary for brand loyalty. One key to direct mail campaign success is taking those same dynamic personalization items and implementing them in the direct mail materials for the same campaign.

Personalization in a cross-channel campaign including email marketing and direct mail not only increases visibility but also builds trust via consistent messaging and increases potential for further customer purchases. This leads to more engagement from the customer and more revenue for the business, making personalization highly valuable. In the end, personalization is pretty powerful and generates more ROI regardless of the medium a company uses to communicate with customers.

 

Tying it all together: Email marketing and direct mail

In the webinar, 80% of attendees said they use direct mail in their company’s marketing campaigns, but many digital marketers still think direct mail has no place in modern marketing due to cost or lack of postal data. Direct mail use is on the rise as a complementary marketing method to email marketing campaigns, and it remains another way for companies to engage customers for greater campaign ROI while seeing firsthand the power of personalization.

With this in mind, it’s important to have the right data to make a campaign highly effective and provide the lift a company needs to see results. For a great omnichannel experience, a trusted data partner can provide companies with the correct postal address and more personalized customer data points to really make a direct mail campaign effective. Chat with the TowerData team today to learn how we enrich user data regardless of its source.

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About Lob and the webinar

Lob makes it possible for enterprises to programmatically send physical mail at scale. Founded in 2013 and venture-backed, Lob prides itself in providing the building blocks for developers to automate the offline world. Together, Lob and Towerdata provide powerful solutions that help companies bring their direct mail into the digital age. Check out the webinar recording to hear for yourself just how direct mail and email marketing are working together to increase user engagement with enriched data and personalized messaging.

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