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Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog, “How to Effectively Plan a Direct Mail Campaign”


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "How to Effectively Plan a Direct Mail Campaign" updates information from a recent post, "How to Plan a Direct Mail Campaign." Most marketing experts would agree that omnichannel and multichannel marketing campaign strategies are the most effective strategies that deliver increased brand awareness, better prosumer engagement, and ultimately, a higher ROI. "Direct Mail" is now considered an integral part of omnichannel or multichannel marketing strategies. Furthermore, marketing mail is the term the USPS® is currently using to promote and replace the formerly known standard bulk mail marketing nomenclature.

In our recent post outlining directives for planning and executing a successful direct mail campaign, we covered topics such as market knowledge, the buyer's journey, cost comparison analysis, digital opt-ins, targeting the correct audience, predictive analysis, and other direct mail related matters.

Content Repurposing for Direct Mail

Today, we will focus on the importance of how repurposing content should consider the direct mail piece creation at the beginning of the ad schedule, and moreover, why direct mail collateral should never be an afterthought.

Repurposing graphical and video content is the most efficient method for creating an omnichannel marketing strategy whereby scores of both digital and traditional collateral (direct mail) will be needed to reach and engage the niche targets effectively. It is critical to remember that direct mail is possible via variable digital printing technology that can separate various consumer/prosumer data into categories, individuals, and groups. The variable digital printing technology is dependent on data input.

Data mining has taught us that niche markets often respond to divergent messaging, colors, graphics, and calls-to-actions explicitly designed for each demographic. Therefore, from an efficiency standpoint, it would make sense to predetermine what graphical, textual, and call-to-actions will be necessary for each target segment via data management. For example, you plan to create a direct mail piece, but you create a video and various social media content first. Question. Will repurposing any of that content depict and engage direct mail recipients after the fact accurately?

The remedy to the question lies within the creative requirements of the direct mail piece at the outset, using all available data, and only after will the video and social media content follow. This process would simplify all content creation, and further cement the offering across omnichannel strategies, thus unifying the brand's marketing initiatives, the brand visibility statement, and the ensuing messaging for each subset target.

Repurposing direct mail collateral would support all other digital collateral and simultaneously ensure that the direct mail recipients will experience a cohesive marketing offering when they arrive at a digital destination. In the event you missed our first installment of How to Plan a Direct Mail Campaign, you can continue reading the complete article below.

The Call to Action

We contend that one of the most efficient types of direct mail collateral consists of creative that speaks to a bright, precise call to action. Of course, most marketing experts tend to agree that a call to action is the driver behind successful response rates. However, determining the exact call to action is the critical factor that ranks above and beyond the creative, albeit beautifully crafted direct mail collateral.

Target market sectors require specific types of communication messaging. As a result, creative messaging needs to be readily accepted by consumers and prospects actively searching for brand offerings within each market sector. However, within each of those market sectors, lies a messaging type that yields optimal results. That is where the rubber meets the road, as making the correct messaging decision requires an elevated process.

We mentioned the term "prosumers" at the beginning of this article. Prosumer is a term introduced by Alvin Toffler in his book "The Third Wave." According to Mr. Toffler, 'prosumer' is a mix of 'producer' and 'consumer.' He contends that today's consumer is also producing content around product and services to garner more acceptance within their circles. Prosumers could be the next wave of 'influencers.'

Market Knowledge

Understanding who your customers are elevates that prospect with the advent of digital technologies. Mainly, database management technology is the driver behind direct mail creation, messaging, creative, targeting, and personalization. Besides, new technology is now prevalent in all marketing aspects, with emphasis on social media platforms and the trends that are notable from data analysis.

There is no longer an excuse for any marketer or brand to launch a fruitful marketing campaign void of thoroughly understanding the target customer, or should we say the prosumer? Direct mail is the primary driver to introduce customers to an offer and direct them to a digital destination. Direct mail is also the caboose to delivering a followup suggestion or thank you message with extended offers.

The SWOT Factor

Conducting a SWOT analysis is the first step for any marketing campaign to ensure being on the right strategy track. Understanding strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats lay the groundwork that opens the door to competitive benchmarking. Further, a SWOT analysis will also provide insight into new opportunities and simultaneously what to avoid.

Once the SWOT analysis is complete, the organization should have a clear vision of the way forward, what to avoid, and what to embrace and develop. Think of the SWOT analysis as the road map ahead.

Collecting and Purging the List

The next step is to collect, purge, and update consumer target lists via database analysis. Most brands contain an internal list of current customers, non-buys, and historical but non-current customers or those who have purchased in the distant past, with the emphasis on distant. Also, most brands have a list of potential target customers that need more convincing.

The resulting data can then be used to segment each of the customers' lists into precise niches based on whatever targets the brand is looking to parse. A good idea at this point is to name the niche segments with buyer persona labels that will come into play when it's time to craft creative and messaging for each segment.

Developing Buyer Personas

Now that you have separated and named the niche customer segments, the next step is to build-out the buyer personas from your list. Make no mistake. Conversion rates versus behavior and purchasing habits tend to vary dramatically between targeted segments and verticals. Behavior and purchasing habits are where marketing to personas can close the gap. Different personas contain different patterns, particularly within sales cycles. Understanding your buyer personas will help to determine the type of communications and messaging that would be suitable for them, and more importantly, for the stages within the personas' various sales cycles.

The following short list represents the reasoning behind buyer personas:

  • Garnering a deeper understanding of a clearly defined buyer persona will aid you greatly in connecting with them.

  • Understanding which social media channels your buyer personas spend most of their time will help determine where your business should focus and be actively engaged.

  • By having an understanding of your buyer personas pains, pleasures, desires, needs, and wants, will assist with content creation and correct messaging.

  • Information derived from buyer personas will aid in the delivery and development of better products/services because you can anticipate your niche markets needs, behaviors, and concerns.

Lastly, as you develop your buyer personas, areas that should be included, notwithstanding any others, are demographics, interests, behaviors, and purchasing habits. Moreover, general concerns that should be able to pinpoint such identifiers as pain points, previous situations, what matters most, how a product/service improves their life, how they make purchase decisions, and of course what determination made them pull the purchasing trigger.

Budgeting and Tracking

Now that you have the buyer personas labeled and segmented, it's time to consider budgeting. All marketing ROI is subject to expenditures and purchases. In the event the brand is looking to increase social media loyalists or prosumers for brand visibility and equity, there are costs associated with those objectives.

Costs for determining the print creative, from postcards to flyers, to brochures and even to catalogs or books is dependent on the number of recipients to be targeted. There are also costs for postage to consider, content copywriters, graphics and landing pages or social media pages that may need development. Note: For postage cost considerations, it's a good idea to locate a print organization that incorporates a certified in-house USPS® clerk. Why? That means that your final printed collateral can be mailed directly from the in-house USPS® clerk, which will save you time and postage dollars. In the event you are looking for such a vendor, Dove Direct is a full-service, print and marketing solutions provider, complete with an in-house certified USPS® mail clerk.

Further, the costs for tracking direct mail campaigns are two-fold. One is the reconciliation of how many pieces went out versus how many came back as non-deliverable. Second, measuring the response and engagement rates from targeted customers to digital destinations via the direct mail campaign. There is a cost to track and measure those response rates and delivery confirmations that you will want to factor into the marketing campaign budget.

The Net-Net

Planning a direct mail campaign requires several steps starting with compiling customer and prospect information and feeding those results into a database or CRM tool. Separating the niche market segments creates various lists for buyer persona development. Add in the creative and personalized messaging along with budgeting, and you have a good starting point. Thanks for reading "How to Plan a Direct Mail Campaign."

Let's have a conversation about direct mail marketing strategies, printing, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, July 25th, 2019, for an hour or two, anytime between 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct has an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. Moreover, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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