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A digital approach to direct-mail campaigns

Although it may seem like a channel stuck in the past, nearly two-thirds (65%) of marketers across verticals integrate email with direct mail, and 58% integrate social media with direct mail, according to Quad’s white paper, The Direct Marketing Revolution 2023.

“We can be more modern in thinking about the way that we pursue direct mail and direct marketing that’s predicated on some of the same fundamentals that you might use in email and other forms of digital,” explained Quad’s Kris Persons, senior vice president of direct marketing, during a recent Tech-Talk Webinar.

Here’s what you should keep in mind to make your direct-mail strategy a smarter, more integrated part of your multichannel mix.

Modern intent signals aren’t only for email. What we subscribe to at home, what we buy, and what we receive in the mail is key to unlocking household intent. Content and context, like what’s searched for, is critical for online audiences, and the same logic applies to direct mail.

How a potential customer behaves is important to incorporate into all of your channels, including offline ones. Behavioral data provides a rich value exchange that enables your brand to be relevant after your customer shows interest.

For example, direct mail can be sent based on a site visit or cart abandonment. Similar to programmatic display ads, “programmatic print” assets are triggered by online interest. Quad found that, on average, marketers can achieve a 3% to 5% response rate by converting warm leads via direct mail sent three to five days post-site engagement.

In addition to online behaviors, other intent signals include physical events like when a package is out for delivery or a QR scan.

Direct-mail capabilities belong in your marketing technology stack. To further your direct-mail strategy, offline and online data needs to come together within a customer data platform (CDP).

Since both are data-driven, email and direct mail can be tailored to individuals with the help of a CDP. The same process of building email templates and iterations can be delivered at scale for print.

Direct mail is more traceable than it’s ever been thanks to consumers’ digital footprints and innovations by the US Postal Service (USPS).

The USPS scans parcels throughout the journey from sender to recipient, and all stops in between. Once at its final destination, traceability continues through QR scans, site or store visits, purchases, and more.

When thinking about measurement, Quad suggests a focus on incrementality, not attribution. The latter, especially within individual walled gardens, doesn’t account for offline and other forms of traditional media.

For complex multichannel events, incrementality can be measured using tactical media mix modeling where daily impressions across different channels and tactics are used to understand the synergies between channels.

More deliberate measurement on incrementality ensures that marketing dollars can be attributed directly to the campaign.

Watch the full webinar.


This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.