Best-in-class enterprise marketing organizations are seeking innovation opportunities, overhauling processes and investing in the technology infrastructure required to deliver personalized content through online and offline channels. These organizational transformations yield tangible results in the form of increased consumer engagement and lower costs of content creation and distribution. Within the marketing organization, and despite its long track record of success, no channel is more neglected than Direct Mail.
ACT ON DIRECT
TESTING CAN INCREASE THE AVERAGE DIRECT MAIL RESPONSE BY 35%
PERSONALIZATION CAN DELIVER
5X-8X THE ROI
COMBINING DIRECT MAIL
& DIGITAL CAN INCREASE
CONVERSION BY 10%-30%
New Testing Trends in Direct Marketing
It is no surprise that marketers rely on Direct Mail to drive customer behavior. However, the demands of managing a high velocity of data-driven and highly variable personalized Direct Mail content limits the ways they can communicate with consumers, and ultimately impedes improved performance from Direct Mail.
Many organizations continue to employ legacy operating models to support Direct Mail that rely on the availability, competence, bandwidth, and coordination of internal and external human resources to plan, manage and execute the production and distribution of Direct Mail content. As a result, marketers compromise the timing and quality of their Direct Mail content by investing too much time and money in operating models that have too much executional risk and yield too little in the way of personalization and content variety.
What does it take to do Digitized Direct Marketing right?
WE INTERVIEWED AND SURVEYED:
Fortune 500 companies
million dollars invested
annually in Direct Mail
What capabilities are required to create personalized, data-driven Direct Mail content at scale?
What risks and impacts are associated with legacy operating models that support Direct Mail?
How can enterprise marketing organizations evolve their processes and technologies to meet their Direct Mail content needs while minimizing organizational impacts?
You can’t break new ground using the same old systems!
True Customer Experience and Omnichannel Marketing require marketers to offer a variety of personalized and engaging content to audiences both on and offline, coordinate communications across channels and media, and rapidly test, learn and scale campaign strategies.
LEGACY DIRECT MAIL OPERATING MODELS CAN’T KEEP UP.
They’re inefficient. Extended cycle times and cost inefficiencies limit the quality and velocity of Direct Mail content that a marketing organization can distribute. Our Direct Marketing Survey revealed that most marketing organizations require three to nine months to plan and execute an effective Direct Mail content strategy. Organizations that leverage marketing technologies for improved automation reported Average Cycle Times (ACTs) that were 70% shorter than their less tech-savvy peers. They also reduce variable costs such as printing and postage.
They don’t leverage personalization. 90% of survey respondents reported dissatisfaction with the variety of their Direct Mail content. Marketing operations are optimized for ease of execution. They don’t meet strategic demands for more personalized and integrated communications that can be quantitatively tested for performance. As a result, the majority of Direct Mail is sent in bulk to broad audiences with static, non-personalized content that is largely undifferentiated from that of competitors — despite the fact that increased personalization improves campaign profitability.
They’re risky. Legacy Direct Mail operating models expose marketing organizations to unnecessary financial and operational risks, while legacy methods for managing data also create cybersecurity risks.
They’re not integrated. Legacy models store data in disparate and disconnected hardware and systems — both within and outside the marketing organization. This contributes to the long ACTs associated with Direct Mail, but also creates a lack of operational transparency, information silos, and delays in reporting. It also inhibits shared learning within organizations.
The 3 Keys to Improved Direct Mail Performance
THE FUTURE OF DIRECT MAIL
Introducing the future of enterprise Direct Marketing.
Transforming processes and tools allows marketers to leverage technology to easily create and version Direct Mail communications at scale, leading to the delivery of more personalized offers and content to customers and prospects. Integrations with marketing technology infrastructure and data sources allow Direct Marketing teams to create and distribute a variety of content based on customer behavior and attributes in real time and integrate these touchpoints with other marketing channels for improved results.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT TRANSFORM THEIR DIRECT MAIL CAPABILITIES REALIZE:
reduction in costs to support Direct Mail content creation, production and distribution
increase in content engagement
improvement in ACT
improvements in content quality
improvements in team satisfaction
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION LEADS TO:
The Drive to Digitize Direct Mail
DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN LIFECYCLE
The Direct Mail Campaign Lifecycle
Enterprise Direct Mail is coordinated across multiple distributed marketing teams, creative agencies, and external vendors — like printers and mailing services. To operationalize their Direct Mail strategies, marketing teams follow a linear process, coordinating a number of activities with multiple stakeholders.
As an insider, you’re familiar with every step of the Direct Marketing process — and the challenges each one poses.
Content and budgeting for Direct Mail requires a familiarity with commercial printing methodologies and postal standards.
The marketing team defines strategic objectives and content requirements, and creates the campaign budget and pro forma.
Next up: aggregate and compile mail file, contact, campaign, and offer data — often from multiple disconnected systems. Transform data to meet personalization requirements and postal standards. And, provide print vendors with production and mailing instructions.
Content Creation & Quality Control
In addition to creating collateral, images, copy and layouts for Direct Mail programs, creative teams must consider mailing formats, postal restrictions, substrates (i.e. paper stock), ink and finishes.
Content Production & Distribution
Marketing teams work closely with print and mail vendors to produce and distribute content.
Activity & Response Reporting
When running Omnichannel and event-driven campaigns, marketers have to synchronize Direct Mail timing with other communication channels, and monitor message penetration within geographic locations. However, Direct Mail activity often takes place outside of other response channels.
LEGACY OPERATING MODELS
Understanding the limitations of legacy operating models.
Despite the level of labor-intensive coordination required, marketers continue to invest in Direct Mail because it delivers reliable marketing results.
Who can blame them? The easiest way to avoid managing the minutiae of Direct Mail is to make it someone else’s problem. Even organizations with well-developed Direct Mail capabilities tap creative agencies or printers from time to time. But outsourcing comes with trade-offs. It can increase your Direct Mail budget by 30-40%. It reduces transparency. And it gives you less control of your Direct Marketing investments.
Expert Direct Mail capabilities are increasingly rare among top-notch agencies.
Scaling activity means scaling fees and mark-ups to service providers.
Teams must rely on third parties for campaign information, project updates and reporting.
of survey respondents reported that they would maintain or increase their pace of Direct Mail investment over the next five years.
THROW BODIES AT IT
Most enterprise Direct Mail teams rely on a combination of internal bandwidth and Microsoft business applications to run their campaigns. Without proper tools, they may employ inconsistent processes that yield inconsistent results, or invest months coordinating the piece parts and approvals required to produce successful Direct Mail.
It can take three to nine months to get messages in market.
Scaling activity or complexity requires a higher headcount.
Using a patchwork of printers, processes and point solutions creates data security risks and information silos.
Without automation and technology, you can’t capture and archive institutional knowledge, so you have to pay to re-invent the wheel with every campaign.
OPTIMIZE AROUND IT
Tech-savvy marketing organizations use data management platforms for easy access to customer and offer data. Marketing Resource Management tools help their teams manage workflows. Marketing automation simplifies the creation and distribution of email, social and web communications. But when it comes to Direct Mail…
Digital platforms are not equipped or designed to create, manage, produce, and distribute offline content.
Creating, producing and distributing Direct Mail campaigns involves dozens of people, specialized processes, and a complex supply chain.
Direct Mail sits in an offline silo, disconnected from other marketing activities.
DIRECT MARKETING TRANSFORMATION
Direct Marketing operations.
Most enterprise marketers rely on Direct Mail’s predictable results and top-line revenue. This contributes to organizational apathy and an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality that results in the persistence of legacy operating models that are overly reliant on external resources and produce largely generic and undifferentiated communications.
To realize the benefits of modern Direct Marketing infrastructure, marketers must evolve their people and team structures, processes and technological tools.
How Marketing Automation is Transforming Direct Mail
PEOPLE AND TEAM STRUCTURE
Centralize and consolidate teams and leverage marketing and content platforms that mitigate time-consuming marketing operations and the need for specialized resources.
Direct Marketing teams are often decentralized and organized by brand, product or segment. As a result, compliance with process, brand standards, and production standards can vary across teams.
Teams report spending 30-40% of their time coordinating the production and distribution of enterprise Direct Mail content.
Marketing organizations frequently rely on specialized external resources for printing and mailing.
Centralize and consolidate Direct Mail activities with enterprise marketing teams to manage campaign strategies that are executed consistently across the organization.
Operationalize technologies that minimize marketing operations to support Direct Mail content strategies.
Integrate marketing, print and postal optimization technologies that mitigate the need for specialized resources.
Streamline collaboration, internal approvals, and vendor processes to support content testing, production and actively monitor operational metrics.
Marketing Strategists and Analysts seek to test a variety of Direct Mail formats, messaging and personalization strategies, but lack direct access to their options, costs and timing.
Customer and offer data, print assets, and variable data and personalization requirements are managed by an agency, or handed off to a vendor to aggregate and version for production.
Teams often have to manage print and mail processes for multiple vendors.
Management frequently has minimal access to operational reporting or the ability to measure key performance indicators.
Strategists have on-demand access to an expansive Direct Mail library and can forecast investments and implement new test campaigns from their desktop — no print experience required.
Direct Marketing Automation technology dynamically versions Direct Mail, while artificial intelligence reviews proofs, and distributes marketer-approved, print-ready content to the optimal vendor.
Standardizing collaboration, vendor processes, and workflow enforces compliance.
Direct Marketing Automation platforms allow management to set internal benchmarks and actively monitor changes in team utilization, ACT, vendor performance and program cost.
Centralize data storage and standardize data workflows. Leverage AI to boost accuracy and create a fully connected data ecosystem.
Customer, offer, and campaign data are stored in multiple, disconnected systems and aggregated manually, causing time delays and increasing the risk of error.
Print marketing assets are stored in network drives, or with agencies and printers, and cannot be actioned dynamically.
Postage Optimization, data hygiene, and mail tracking are not integrated. This breaks the data’s “chain of custody” and creates potential cyber-security risks.
Limited tools and manual processes get in the way of quality control.
Marketers can’t synchronize Direct Mail with digital strategies.
Data workflows are standardized, normalizing data output across the marketing organization, in line with corporate data security and compliance requirements.
Print assets are stored in a centralized location, and can be implemented based on customer attributes, business rules, or events.
Fully integrated data workflows support data hygiene and postage optimization.
Artificially intelligent tools ensure content accuracy and quality across all vendors.
A connected marketing technology ecosystem enables fully integrated, cross-channel communication.
Turn good enough into the best it’s ever been!
Organizations that transform their Direct Mail capabilities realize improved marketing results and return on investment through:
Increased engagement with Direct Mail content
Significant reductions in Average Cycle Time, or time-to-market
Reductions in program costs
Increased campaign profitability
Increased team satisfaction and contribution
Read about digital transformation in action.
Advanced digital technology has transformed the game and leveled the playing field, making it easy to create, version, and dynamically test Direct Mail content to drive effective and profitable campaigns.
Ask KleerMail how digital technology can help you streamline and
optimize your Direct Mail campaigns — and elevate their performance.