Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing July 2021 Newsletter.
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Direct Mail ROI With an Integrated Marketing Approach
By Sherry Chiger, Chiefmarketer.com
In a morass of emails, digital ads and social
media, a personalized mail piece really stands out.
When companies fail to achieve a return on their investment
in direct mail marketing, they tend to blame the channel. Some go so far
as to declare direct mail obsolete in the digital age. But according to
Maureen Powers, President of Direct Marketing for marketing solutions
provider RR Donnelley, the problem often lies in companies’ failure to
properly integrate direct mail into their overall strategy.
“The biggest mistake companies make is focusing on what channel works,”
Powers says. Rather, “they should focus on what mix of channels works.
We’re an online/offline integrated world now.”
With postage rates increasing annually—and with rumors that another USPS
rate hike could come this summer—it might be tempting to give up on
direct mail. Yet there’s evidence that because it isn’t digital, direct
mail makes a significant impact—especially on millennial consumers.
According to the USPS, two-thirds of millennials use marketing mail “as
a prompt to go online,” compared with 54 percent of Gen Xers and 42
percent of baby boomers. And while 27 percent of baby boomers and 28
percent of Gen Xers regularly buy products featured in direct mail, 40
percent of millennials do.
“Younger people like the feel, the touch, the physical engagement of
mail,” Powers says, “and they’re not used to it as much.” In a morass of
emails, digital ads and social media, a mail piece is a novelty that can
really stand out—particularly if it’s personalized.
Of course, personalization goes beyond addressing the recipient by name.
It entails ensuring that the mail piece’s imagery, messaging and offer
speak to the recipient. For a seller of pet insurance, that could mean
featuring puppies rather than kittens on postcards to dog owners; for a
traffic driver to a store or a showroom, it could mean including a
customized map. Mail pieces to prospects might emphasize a brand’s
reputation and solid reviews; the version sent to customers could
feature the same imagery and display copy but steer recipients to
specific product webpages instead.
Data and data analytics are key to achieving this degree of
personalization—and therefore key to seeing ROI on direct mail. Data
analytics can also help you weed out those who are unlikely to respond
to your direct mail efforts. “You want to make sure you are identifying
the best audience for your product and service,” Powers says. “Instead
of mailing a million people, you might want to mail 500,000, as long as
those are the right people.”
Digital marketers are no doubt aware of how granular data analytics can
get. They might not know, however, that direct mail is now equally
sophisticated. “There’s an opportunity for high variability in our
mail,” Powers says. Multiple creative treatments and offers can be
tested within one campaign. “Testing is so important to make sure you’re
constantly updating your data and getting the most relevant info on who
you’re talking to.”
The increased sophistication of data analytics and mail capabilities
allows marketers to tweak campaigns in response to results almost
immediately. If a January test of three versions of a postcard shows
that version C was a big miss with recipients, a marketer can remove
that option from the next mailing while still meeting the mail date.
It also encourages marketers to take advantage of the Postal Service’s
Mailing Promotions Calendar, something Powers is a proponent of. The
USPS offers discounts throughout the year to organizations that
implement certain technologies into their mail pieces. For instance,
companies can register through the end of August to use AR, VR, video
and other emerging technologies in their letters and flats in exchange
for a 2 percent postage discount.
Other promotions through the end of 2021 reward use of QR codes and the
USPS’s Informed Delivery service. The discounts help mitigate the risks
inherent in testing. This testing, in turn, might reveal that a format
with a higher cost per piece generates appreciably stronger response,
enough not only to justify the expense going forward but also to lift
To make the most of the USPS promotions discounts, companies need to
plan ahead. Then again, Powers says, they should be doing so regardless:
“The biggest message we try to express is the importance of treating
your marketing budget as an ROI strategy rather than as individual
and Tricks to Make Your Mail Piece Stand Out
By Rob Hanks,
Mail is a great way to engage customers and prospects. However, some
mail pieces garner more attention from recipients than others, due to a
variety of factors.
No mailer wants their communications ignored. Here's
some ideas to make your mail piece stand out and get noticed:
Use the Sense of Touch
Adding to the feel of a piece is a great way to get the recipient to
read your mail. Choose a paper stock that has texture to enhance your
design. Try a linen or fiber stock to give your piece a textured feel.
If you’re looking for something opaque, try a Glama Natural envelope to
allow your inserts to show through and entice your audience. Loop or
felt stocks are also an option.
Applying a coating to your mail piece is another way to use touch to
your advantage. A textured or smooth dispersion varnish allows you to
have a matte feel to portions of the mail piece while being able to put
a high gloss coating on areas that you would like to highlight.
Aqueous Soft Touch can add a smooth rich feel to a mail piece. This
coating can be used as a flood or as a spot coating. Try placing the
soft touch on the cover of a multi-page booklet and leave the inside
pages uncoated to create a cost-effective mailer.
Embossing your piece adds another way to engage the sense of touch.
Combine it with foil stamping and your piece will stand out from the
crowd. Embossing is commonly used on covers of books, high end
self-mailers, brochures, annual reports, and pocket folders. This can be
a little more expensive and add to the production timeline. Using foil
stamping can add color as well as a smooth touch to the piece. Gold and
silver are the most common colors used, but other colors are available.
Size Does Matter
Using a non-standard size envelope will get your mail piece to stick out
in a stack of mail and draw attention to it. The most common size
envelope used is a #10. By using a #14 envelope, which is 5” x 11.5”,
you are still within the letter rate of postage but have an additional
7/8” in height and 2” in length, plus that much more real estate to
print on. You are using the back of the envelope to print your offer or
a message, right? If you are printing your envelope on a flat sheet and
then converting, the additional costs are minimal.
When printing a card or brochure, again use a non-standard size. The
maximum size of a card is 6.125” x 11.5” and a folded self-mailer is 6”
Interactive mail pieces engage the recipient, drawing them in and giving
you an additional opportunity to get your marketing message read. Making
your mail piece actionable is easier than you may think. Here are three
1. Die cutting your mail piece can add dimension. Die cut an interesting
shape that coincides with your offer. Die cut waves if you are marketing
a resort at the beach, or the outline of an automobile if you are a
dealership. Create a hole that allows the addressee to see a portion of
your artwork inside of a self-mailer or brochure. Try using a Customized
MarketMail piece (CMM) in a unique shape. The USPS does have some very
specific rules to follow for Customized MarketMail.
2. Repositionable notes are a great way to add action to a mail piece.
The notes can be pre-printed with a static message or you can apply
blank notes and inkjet a variable message. Place the name of the
addressee along with a specific offer on the repositionable note and be
sure to have a call to action someplace on the mail piece.
3. Include QR Codes or Personalized URLs (PURLs) to take the addressee
to your website to see a special offer specific to them. Be sure to have
instructions stating to scan the QR Code.
Think Inside the Box
One option that is not utilized as much as it should be is mailing out a
package. Design a mail piece that can be mailed as a lightweight parcel.
By designing a box that contains your offer, a thumb drive, or small
item that pertains to your event, there is a larger chance that it will
be opened. People enjoy opening packages and seeing the contents. Use
game pieces, plastic chips with your message, or a toy to get your
Simple Ways to Leverage Customer Data
These simple techniques can empower small
marketers to better compete with larger, deeper-pocketed rivals.
One strategy that can be particularly effective is better leveraging of
in-house customer data, much like large corporations mine so-called
‘big-data,’ only in a more familiar and relatable way.1. Leverage Customer Data to Shape
Strategy. Segmenting customers
by relevant criteria enables you to tailor your marketing accordingly,
including personalizing direct mail and emails and other tactics with
appropriate imagery and offers.
Follow these three simple ways to help you bring a higher return on
information you already have.
Simply including the recipient’s first name in the email, or direct mail
piece, can boost engagement. One organization that added personalization
increased their company’s conversions by 15 percent.
2. Respond to Operational Lapses.
By closely monitoring customer feedback channels, including social
media, you can understand the nature and sources of customer
dissatisfaction. This helps “identify specific locations, processes or
even employees that don’t maintain the company standard,” one marketer
observed, and respond quickly and appropriately. The secret here is to
ensure that “data is sufficiently aggregated,” so that reliable patterns
emerge (an excessive number of returns or complaints from one store or
website, for example), rather than basing responses on infrequent or
3. Apply Insights to New Offerings.
“Mining data from support interactions can be a goldmine for developing
future versions of your products,” says one marketing executive,
relating how his company does it. At the end of each call or email they
handle, “the support team simply asks customers if there’s a feature
they’d like to see in future versions.” These ideas are immediately
compiled on a nearby whiteboard, and with enough mentions, added to the
next development-meeting agenda.
In the end, a more intentional and creative approach to leveraging data
can only have upside for you and those you serve.
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Achieving Direct Mail ROI With an Integrated Marketing Approach
Tips and Tricks to Make Your Mail Piece Stand Out
Three Simple Ways to Leverage Customer Data
Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & Web Sites you Probably
View Samples of Our Work
Direct Mail Humor!
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster
Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:
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Click on the links below to see samples.
Direct Mail Humor!
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Do you need help marketing to your clients?
Talon can help! Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn
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