Monday, March 20, 2017

Using Data, Technology & USPS to Rev Mail Response

Recent research provides compelling reasons to include direct mail in marketing plans--and also highlights opportunities to further pump response and ROI. Direct mail response rates actually jumped in 2016 per the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) 2017 "Response Rate Report," hitting 5.3% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists, the highest levels the DMA has tracked since 2003. Also consider last year's InfoTrends' direct mail statistics: 66% of direct mail is opened; 62% of consumers who responded to direct mail made a purchase within three months; and 56% of consumers who responded to direct mail went online or visited the physical store. But direct mail is expensive, and response is no slam dunk, so marketers must plan carefully to leverage positive trends. Luckily, 2017 offers data and print technology options, and U.S Postal Service support, to aid in direct mail success. We suggest committing to six key steps: First, start with data quality. That requires updating, cleaning and aggregating the customer database. Look for data gaps and append important targeting factors, such as contact info, demographics or firm-ographics. Second, analyze the data to identify and profile your best customers and their attributes, preferences and transactional history so that you can find and target lookalikes in acquisition, as well as tailor more profitable retention. Third, use your data to create effective targeting and personalization with tactics such as segmentation, variable data printing and timely triggered mail. Segment the audience into target mail groups, based on factors ranging from age and gender to purchase history. Use variable data printing technology for hyper-targeted messaging with multiple variable-content fields. You also can automate digital-activity mail triggers so that, for example, a relevant postcard is sent within 48 hours of an online purchase. Fourth, use print technology's PURLs or QR codes to leverage multi-channel investment, boost response ease, and create a seamless brand experience by linking physical mail to website, mobile and social. Fifth, test innovative creative that will stand out in the mailbox. Summer Gould, president of Eye/Comm, recently offered some suggestions in Forbes magazine, including Augmented Reality, dimensional mail, "endless folds" pieces, and video mailers. Finally, take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service's postage discounts and incentives! In 2017, programs include Earned Value; Color Transpromo; Emerging & Advanced Technology; Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Engagement; Direct Mail Starter; and Mobile Shopping. For details:

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