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Data, Strategy & Creative: The Triple Crown of Successful Direct Mail

Alan Sherman

I’m no aficionado, but I know enough about horse racing to identify the three points of the Triple Crown, one of the most coveted awards in all of sports. Earning the Crown means achieving victory in three prestigious events: the Kentucky Derby (taking place tomorrow), Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Like the Triple Crown, we know the formula for successful direct mail requires combining the trifecta of data, strategy and creative. Let’s take a look at how these elements drive the strongest direct mail Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) possible:

Driving with Data

Leveraging data plays a crucial role in determining the right audience for your mail, whether potential prospects or loyal customers. Predictive analytics tools and list brokers help identify the prospective customers who are most likely to respond to your offer, while customer behavioral data tells us which existing customers will respond favorably to your engagement mailings. Profiling customers with appended demographic, psychographic and attitudinal data provides insight into targeting and creative strategies. All enable direct marketers to find the right people to target their campaigns toward to get the most out of their investment.

Saddle Up with Strategy

Applying the proper strategy involves planning the right use of data, reading past results, designing creative and developing an effective test plan. The very best piece of advice I give clients is to have a long-term testing strategy. Continually experimenting with offers, creative, targeting, segmentation and analysis in an organized and strategic way leads to enduring success.

Charge Ahead with Creative

Creative – the third jewel in direct mail’s Triple Crown – is another crucial component of a successful campaign. Not only does it require the proper use of copy, design and color, but also careful planning and attention to detail. From the teaser copy on the outer envelope to the proper organization of its components, creating a direct mail piece is a carefully orchestrated process with the potential for incredible results.

Direct Mail: A Proven Winner

Direct mail has long been one of the most effective and dependable customer acquisition and retention tools available, but any investment is wasted without the proper use of data, strategy and creative to target the right message to the right recipient at the right time. Many direct mail campaigns are missing one or more of these vital components, leading to flat or below average performance. This is often followed by the mistaken assumption that “direct mail does not work for us.”

Marketers who develop effective creative packages often stop there. They design compelling creative without planning ahead to develop a rotating series of high-performance control packages to keep their brand and messaging fresh in the minds of consumers. Sometimes the creative itself doesn’t present the call to action, value proposition and offer in a compelling way. Worse yet, it doesn’t take advantage of data and the personalization opportunities that are available.

The Triple Crown of Successful Direct Mail is Elusive

Winning the Triple Crown in horse racing is a monumental achievement. But combining the key elements of successful direct mail is no small feat either. It takes talented creative people, including copywriters and designers. It requires a close creative partnership with production experts to ensure that what is designed can actually be produced and mailed at an effective price and delivered to the right people at the right time. Finally, it involves marketing strategists who provide insight, devise long-term direct mail marketing plans and test them for optimal ROMI.

At IWCO Direct, we partner with our clients to ensure that all components of direct mail performance are optimized. This may include defining your target audience and segments, developing messaging platforms, creating relevant and appealing offers, developing and implementing the test approach, measuring the results and making ongoing recommendations for ever-improving performance. By applying some or all of these strategies, we’ve been able to lift response by 40-50% or more for many clients.

I hope you enjoy the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby this weekend. If you would like to find out how to make your direct mail perform like Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh, please get in touch with me.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2016/05/06/data-creative-strategy-for-successful-direct-mail/
Alan Sherman

Author

Alan Sherman

Vice President, Marketing Strategy. Boston University alum with an MBA from City University of New York. Brings more than two decades of direct and digital marketing strategy, testing, and project management expertise to make customers extraordinarily successful. Husband and father who splits his loyalties between the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Celtics. Fan of concerts, traveling, non-profit volunteer marketing, and walking the dog even though it was just out.

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