Home > Marketing Strategy > To pierce the digital clutter, deliver the unexpected

To pierce the digital clutter, deliver the unexpected

direct mail is unexpected

These days direct mail is unexpected.

One of the most basic ways to get attention is to break a pattern, creating the unexpected.

Consumers in this age of online marketing and social media see staggering amounts of digital information every day, so what is more unexpected than receiving a piece of direct mail? That’s breaking a pattern.

Direct mail marketing has been out of vogue long enough to be a novelty again. In fact, some B2B prognosticators predict a return of direct mail in the coming year as a multichannel differentiator used by savvy marketers.

RELATED: You want to send a letter? In the mail?!

In concert with your online marketing strategy, direct mail still offers solid advantages:

  • You can control the message
  • You can reach your target audience directly
  • You can drive a response from your target audience
  • There is less competition for mindshare in the mail box now

With renewed interest in integrating direct mail into multichannel marketing, it’s a good time for a direct mail refresher. Here are slides from a presentation I gave at the University of Minnesota College for Continuing Education on direct mail strategy and execution.

Integrating direct mail and social media

Done right, you can combine outbound targeting with inbound engagement to create a dynamic interactive experience. The key is to align your direct mail objectives with your online marketing objectives. This alignment gives a powerful one-two punch to:

  • Grow your social networks with incentivized calls-to-action offering discount coupons
  • Drive deeper engagement with a promotion by leading a prospect online
  • Expand the reach of a direct mail offer via social sharing

How is this being done today?

The integration possibilities are limited only to your imagination. Many of the multichannel approaches used today center on QR (quick response) codes and personal URLs (PURLs). Including a scannable QR code on the mailing piece allows you to interact with prospects at the moment of interest by:

  • Taking them to a microsite or personal landing page with custom content that guides them through the decision process
  • Giving more information via video demos or online catalogs
  • Offering discounts and the ability to order online
  • Taking them to a social media page to view testimonials and interact with your brand

Post card delivers

One case study using these tactics tells a compelling story of how well multichannel marketing can work.

A new restaurant franchisee used integrated direct mail and social media to bring traffic to the new store. They mailed 5,000 targeted post cards printed with PURLs that contained the customer’s name in the domain.

Customers were instructed to go to the microsite to activate a discount coupon. The microsite contained more coupons for additional discounts as an added reward for participating.

The customers were incented to share the offer with friends on social media. By sharing, they were entered into a sweepstakes to win free chicken meals for a year.

The campaign resulted in more than 14,000 visits to the microsite. That’s a 280 percent response from the original mailing of 5,000.

As you can see, there is great potential for leveraging direct mail with digital marketing channels. And, the prevalence of digital marketing makes direct mail seem new again. Unexpected, even.

What are your plans for direct mail this year?

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