Pictured Above (Left to Right):
Debora Haskel, Vice President – Marketing at IWCO Direct
Tammy Lucas, Managing Director, Advertising and Marketing at Best Western
Those who know me will surely understand that “hot and humid” is not a forecast I look forward to. But even dew points in the 70s couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for this year’s Loyalty Expo in Orlando. The reasons for my enthusiasm are three-fold.
1. IWCO Direct Delivers 52.8% Lift in Response for Best Western Rewards Program
First, I had the opportunity to co-present a case study about our client Best Western. Tammy Lucas, Managing Director, Advertising and Marketing, joined me on stage to talk about how and why Best Western effectively uses direct mail to deliver targeted messages to some of its 24 million Best Western Rewards (BWR) members.
The audience of 50 or so conference attendees listened, laughed and asked great questions as Tammy described how direct mail provides an opportunity for Best Western to reach 50-60% of its active Rewards members who do not have an email address or are not subscribed to email. Direct mail augments its digital campaigns for a true omni-channel approach to marketing.
Tammy also explained how direct mail was used to target an audience of inactive BWR members and previous .com bookers who were rate sensitive and could not be reached via email. The campaign tested an envelope package against a self-mailer. The laughs came as Tammy described how she was proven wrong about which package would win. The envelope package was the clear winner even though Tammy was betting on the self-mailer.
Tammy cited many of the same reasons that Mike Dietz has mentioned in his SpeakingDIRECT posts about the power of the envelope. The opportunity to open an envelope, especially one that contains a card, provides that magical mail moment that so many – including Millennials – appreciate. The envelope package, designed by IWCO Direct, had a 52.8% lift over the control and generated more than $3 million in revenue. The self-mailer had a very respectable 43.5% lift over the control.
2. Best Western Takes Home the Hardware
My second reason for being enthusiastic about the conference started weeks before the event. I was asked to help judge the awards, which gave me a preview of the rich content that would fill the conference. Company names were removed from the nominations so I could only guess at who I was voting for. We were thrilled when, for the second year in a row, Best Western received the Platinum Award in the 360-Degree category for North America.
Glen MacDonell, Best Western’s Managing Director, Loyalty & Partnership Marketing, collected 14 pounds of awards including another Platinum Award for Best Customer Insight in Loyalty Marketing and two Gold Awards in the Best Technology & Trends in Loyalty Marketing and Best Creative Campaign categories.
3. Mail Matters
Brian Ridenour and Hank Andersen discuss loyalty programs with attendees.
The third reason for my excitement about the conference continues to make my heart pound. People wanted to hear about mail! There were many heads nodding during our presentation when we talked about how direct mail has evolved. My colleagues, Hank Andersen and Brian Ridenour, who were manning our booth, had a number of great conversations with people asking for help with both their loyalty and direct mail acquisition programs. As Tammy said when she opened our presentation – direct mail is not dead. We live in a world of digital fatigue and direct mail is tangible, tailored and targeted. Our audience enthusiastically agreed.
I left Orlando to head to New York City for the MM&M Transforming Healthcare Conference. Two themes that were central at the Loyalty Expo – personalization and the need for a human touch with big data – were repeated almost verbatim. We’ll share our impressions from the Transforming Healthcare Conference soon. Be sure to check back – you won’t want to miss it.
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