Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing July 2019 Newsletter.
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Direct Mail Tips For Digital Marketers
By Patricio Robles, Econsultancy.com
Direct mail is back in style.
With a greater and greater percentage of marketing budgets
being directed to digital campaigns, competition is fiercer than ever and
for many marketers, that means that standing out is becoming harder and
more expensive than ever.
A growing number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are turning to direct
mail because they’re hitting the limits of what digital can deliver.
Ryan Babenzien, CEO of the sneaker brand Greats, put it simply: “Digital
is noisy and direct mail is calm.”
The good news for marketers is that, as oxymoronic as it might sound,
direct mail can today be treated much like a digital channel because it is
now possible to programmatically create and manage direct mail campaigns.
In other words, marketers can send physical mail almost as easily as they
can send email.
To profit from this capability, however, marketers need to use direct mail
thoughtfully. Here are four tips for doing just that.
Just as personalization can be a game-changer for digital marketing
campaigns and customer experience, personalization can and often should be
applied to direct mail. Even the most basic data, such as name, can help a
direct mail piece stand out.
Historically, personalizing many kinds of print materials on an individual
basis would have been too costly to be viable but again, thanks to
programmatic print services, in many cases marketers will find that it’s
surprisingly easy and inexpensive to personalize print materials in
To maximize direct mail, marketers should think holistically and integrate
their print campaigns into campaigns they’re running in other channels,
including, of course, digital. Retail provides the best examples of this
as retailers have in recent years embraced print catalogs, proving that
predictions of the retail catalog’s death were greatly exaggerated.
For example, after Toys ‘R’ Us failed, a number of large retailers sought
to capitalize and incorporated print catalogs into their broader marketing
efforts during the holiday shopping season. Amazon got into the act with a
print toy catalog that it distributed to customers by mail as well as at
Whole Foods locations.
And Target attempted to make it easy for recipients of its print toy
catalog to purchase products from the catalog online. Using the Target
mobile app’s barcode scanner, shoppers were able to hover over a catalog
page, retrieve information about the products on it, and add products of
interest to their shopping carts.
Retargeting has proven to be an incredibly effective tactic for digital
marketers and there are many ways marketers can use retargeting with
print. Because of print’s ability to stand out, it is especially
well-suited for reaching out to individuals who might be considering a
For example, a retailer could send a special coupon code to a customer who
had abandoned a cart containing high-ticket items. A real estate agency
could send a flyer to a client who had viewed one or more properties on
its website multiple times. And so on and so forth.
Combined with personalization, print mail retargeting has the potential to
be a very powerful tool.
Direct mail, like most non-digital channels, presents some attribution
challenges. But fortunately these are often easily addressed. For
instance, coupon codes and special landing pages can be used to identify
and track individuals who respond to a mailing.
Of course, not all direct mail campaigns rely or should rely on
discounting, and even landing pages can be problematic as recipients of a
print mailer won’t necessarily go to the landing page if they recognize
the sender. Instead, they might go directly to the sender’s website or
With this in mind, some companies are developing more sophisticated
attribution approaches. For instance, Article, a DTC upstart that sells
furniture, built an attribution model in-house. As Digiday explained, “To
do so, it set a time period of two months to watch for results…and used a
holdout group to track traffic and conversions from demographics that were
sent the catalog, in comparison to ones that weren’t. What the brand
watched for in terms of results was traffic to product pages featured in
the catalog, engagement on social media in the regions that received the
catalog, and primarily, sales.”
Cuts Direct Mail and Subsequently Loses Sales
By Melissa Campanelli, Mytotalretail.com
Looks like there's a lesson to be learned from
this: Direct Mail done right still works.
Recently, Nordstrom cut its forecast for full-year
sales and profit after reporting weaker-than-expected first-quarter
results that were hurt, in part, by stopping its use of direct mail to promote its new loyalty program.
According to Yahoo Finance, co-president Erik
Nordstrom said on a post-earnings conference call that the company stopped
sending rewards "notes" to its loyalty customers by mail in an attempt to
get the program online and reach customers faster.
That shift caused a reduction in foot traffic at
all of its stores, Nordstom said, as many customers rely on
receiving those rewards by mail.
"We're making the changes we believe are necessary to
drive our top line as we continue our aggressive focus on expenses," Erik
Nordstrom said. The company also said trends from the fourth quarter
continued into the first quarter and that it had to ramp up promotions in
order to clear excess inventory from its winter collection.
Total Retail's Take: It's rare that an executive says that
cutting direct mail from a company's advertising budget can have such a
negative impact on sales, but that's essentially what Erik Nordstrom said.
We're not sure if Nordstrom will reinstate its direct mail program, but to
me, it sounds like direct mail is having a "moment."
Just this month, for example, Total Retail published
several articles about how brands that use direct mail in a meaningful way
can really connect with customers.
In one article, Tommy DeLuca, vice president of sales
at PebblePost, a digital-to-direct mail marketing platform, cited a
PebblePost study that found that 76 percent of shoppers discuss relevant
mail from a brand or retailer they’ve purchased from in the past.
The same study found that 61 percent of recipients
consider direct mail influential in driving purchase decisions.
Furthermore, I just received in the mail RH's 2,500-page catalog, or
"Source Book," as the company calls it.
Is direct mail seeing a resurgence?
to Fix the B2B Data Meltdown
Sam Meenasian, Marketo.com
Here are 8 Steps to Turbocharge Your Data:
B2B marketers are in a pickle when it comes to data. Data
insights are critical to boosting marketing and sales performance. Yet the
marketer’s trust in data has plunged to a new low that’s putting a damper
on strategic marketing initiatives, according to Dun & Bradstreet’s (D&B)
recently released Sixth Annual B2B Marketing Data Report.
Just 50% of D&B survey respondents expressed confidence in the quality of
their data—down from 75% in 2017. And only 11% expressed extreme
confidence in 2018. “The lack of confidence B2B organizations have in
their data is hindering the ability to deploy key sales and marketing
initiatives,” the D&B report concludes. “Instead of creating opportunity
it’s creating chaos.”
A case in point: Only 38% of marketers surveyed said account-based
marketing (ABM), a leading data-driven B2B marketing tactic, is currently
part of their go-to-market strategy. The report notes that ABM requires
quality data to identify and zero in on key accounts and targets, reach
them across channels, and deliver relevant content. Marketers are forced
to rely on information that’s outdated, contradictory, misleading or
otherwise flawed, and that’s costing them. They’re left with a limited or
inaccurate view of customers or prospects.
Meanwhile, quality data is the key to providing personalized content,
which is crucial to enhancing the customer experience and driving revenue.
VisionCritical predicts the customer experience will overtake price and
product as the top brand differentiator by 2020, and Forrester estimates
that a mere 10% increase in data accessibility will result in more than
$65 million additional net income for a typical Fortune 1000 company.
What’s a marketer to do? In my company’s work with data, we’ve discovered
eight steps to ensure your data is working for and not against you.
The 8 Steps To Turbocharge Your Data:
1. Commit to improving data quality.
It’s important to improve data quality to make sure your company’s data is
accurate, up-to-date, complete and consistent, and that it produces the
depth of insight required for solid decision making. Define data quality
based on business objectives.
2. Assign data quality ownership.
Give one person central responsibility for ensuring data quality. This is
your new chief data officer. That person should work with a team,
including members with roles such as software developer, program manager,
project leader, data steward, and data analyst.
3. Fine-tune your data collection process.
Don’t drown in excessive information. Determine exactly what kinds of data
are relevant to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions
that fulfill your business’s goal. Ensure your data comes from
knowledgeable, trusted sources.
4. Check contact data as it’s collected.
Validate information systematically or manually before entering it into a
database. Pay attention to email addresses and missing information. Engage
customers directly through a phone call, a web form or live online chat.
Once you have updates, make sure your database is complete.
5. Standardize your data.
Because information is collected from diverse sources, your database may
include various spellings or formats of the same data point. For example,
while you know the United States, the U.S., and the USA are the same,
marketing automation platforms and CRMs view them as different—and that
can impair your smart lists, scoring, and segmentation. Create
standardization, or normalization, smart campaigns in Marketo or use a
third-party tool such as RingLead Data Management Solutions.
6. Identify and purge duplicate records.
Multiple fields of duplicate information can impede marketing automation.
Set up trigger alerts for automatic notifications. Search your database
for suspicious entries to be investigated manually.
7. Integrate marketing and sales data.
Despite years of efforts to align these functions, it’s still common for
marketing and sales to use different CRM and automation systems to manage
data, causing confusion and mistakes. Organizing all data in one location
best supports personalized marketing that delivers the right content at
the right time.
8. Conduct regular data reviews.
Develop and implement a strategy for regular database checkups. Augment
real-time verification with regular bulk processing to ensure contact data
These eight steps will sharpen your understanding of your data and help
you measure and improve its quality for the long haul. Is it a lot of
work? Yes, gathering and maintaining first-class data attuned to your
company’s needs requires serious, ongoing effort. But the stakes are high,
and the direction is clear.
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Four Direct Mail Tips For Digital Marketers
Nordstrom Cuts Direct Mail and Subsequently Loses Sales
How to Fix the B2B Data Meltdown
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