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Drive True Omnichannel Marketing by Combining Direct Mail with Digital Channels

Alan Sherman

From the perspective of some marketers, direct mail is a medium that is considered “old school” or not of this digital world. With advances in direct mail personalization, personalized URLs, QR codes, and continued solid performance, nothing could be further from the truth. Many marketers simply can’t drive the acquisition or retention volume they need with digital-only campaigns.

But what’s gotten many of our clients excited and engaged is the potential for integrating direct mail and digital marketing channels, which enables them to reach the same prospect multiple times via various channels. The end result is a substantial lift in customer response and conversion—some see anywhere from 20 to 40%. For an insurance client, we realized a 34% lift in conversion rate when integrating direct mail and digital channels compared to a direct mail-only control. That particular client also saw a 12% decrease in cost per acquisition and a 26% increase in total conversions. This is just one example of what we’ve all heard for years―how omnichannel marketing generates improved response and increases return on marketing investment (ROMI).

How Does Bridging Direct Mail to Digital Channels Work?

It begins with the direct mail prospect or customer file, typically modeled or targeted in some way to drive above-average response. We then take the file and match and overlay third party data to add digital identifiers such as email address, mobile phone number, IP address, network cookie IDs, social IDs, or app user IDs. Through the use of one or more of these match IDs, we are able to identify and locate the same person on a social network, such as Facebook, or a digital display advertising platform. The typical match ranges from 40 to 70%, and we now have a way to reach these prospects via one or more additional channels, with multiple contacts. Using data from the USPS Intelligent Mail barcode system, we can even coordinate digital ads to run as direct mail arrives in-home.

As with any omnichannel marketing campaign, the creative and messaging should “match” across channels to optimize campaign effectiveness. While a Facebook or display ad doesn’t provide the real estate that direct mail does to sell a product or service, digital messaging can focus on the unique selling proposition and call to action used in the direct mail package―both designed to induce the viewer to click through and learn more. Like any digital campaign, there should be a customized web landing page that matches and reinforces the ad message.

Going Beyond the Call to Action

This type of campaign does not need to end with prospecting. Should a visitor be driven to the website, but not take the desired action, we can retarget that individual with continued and targeted social, display, and search ads linked to their website visit. Sometimes repeated points of contact are necessary to achieve a conversion. Remarketing lets us continue the conversation with interested prospects. We can further expand on the information gained via the original modeling by growing the prospect universe online through the creation of a lookalike model to find similar digital prospects.

Typically, we begin by testing for clients with integrated Facebook ads or display ads placed via demand side platforms (DSPs). DSPs provide access to a wide variety of programmatic display ad inventory available across the web, along with a variety of targeting options. Facebook typically matches at a higher rate than DSPs and is a highly mobile platform, so the prospects who receive a direct mail package may see the same message on their phone―or computer―the same day, and depending on the desired reach and frequency, every day for several weeks.

Tracking the Results of Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns

In terms of measurement, we look at campaign reach, frequency, actions taken, audience detail, response rate, conversion rate, and acquisition cost to determine the effectiveness and impact of an integrated campaign. We also leverage direct mail “holdout cells” to measure the lift resulting from converting a direct mail only campaign to a campaign that integrates direct mail with social, display, or a combination of all three. Because IWCO Direct has direct mail and digital creative teams, we will often design the entire campaign to ensure message matching and optimal integration.

This is true omnichannel marketing at its most effective―reaching the right prospects at the right time with multiple contacts via multiple channels. To find out how IWCO Direct’s experience in effectively combining direct mail with digital channels can boost response in your integrated marketing campaigns, contact me here.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2017/05/10/direct-mail-omnichannel-marketing-campaigns/
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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