For B2B Marketers reading this week’s #MailWorks, you are likely very familiar with the practice of Account Based Marketing (ABM), which is a targeted approach that concentrates marketing and selling resources on a set of target accounts within a market. It uses personalized campaigns designed to engage each account. Seems like a natural fit for a high-impact direct mail piece, right? Yes indeed.
Before I get to the example, I want to reinforce once again that direct mail is the highest converting marketing channel and a vital part of modern omnichannel strategies. Consumer physical mailboxes are less cluttered than email inboxes. People look forward to checking their mailbox and combing through the day’s mail. 57% of recipients immediately open their direct mail, and fully 24% put it aside to look at later. Interestingly, there is also a longer shelf-life for direct mail, 17 days versus two-second email views and improved branding and message-retention*. The study concludes that it is the carefully considered mix of direct mail with email that has the most success, which will be a topic we discuss in more depth in future blogs.
When mail is done right, it can cut through the clutter and drive business value. With that goal, the Marketers for our Global Ecommerce logistics business at Pitney Bowes ran an Account Based Marketing (ABM) campaign last year that successfully cut through the clutter are got the attention of targeted online retailers to consider Pitney Bowes for their shipping returns service.
This highly targeted campaign sent prospective clients of the returns service something Pitney Bowes marketers knew they would not like – simulating that experience of making an online purchase and getting something that wasn’t quite right, requiring the item to be returned.
The packages arrived in a mailer bag reading: “OOPS. This package contains something you do not want.” Each parcel contained an undergarment for the opposite gender, something they would surely want to return, with the message their returns solution could use some extra “support”.
The package also contained a brochure explaining why their returns process fell short. The document was designed to look like a return label and the instructions showed the secret shopper’s returns experience.
By sending an undesired item and demonstrating the hoops a customer needed to jump through to return something to their store, Pitney Bowes brought prospects’ sub-par returns experience to life, whether they were ready for it or not.
The Pitney Bowes marketers targeted Director level and higher contacts within Ecommerce, Logistics, Marketing, and Finance functions at a small group of large ecommerce apparel companies and deployed highly personalized creative messaging incorporating multiple touchpoints across a variety of channels including direct mail, phone, social media and email. The purpose was to make targets aware of how their current returns program might fall short and pique their interest in the superior returns solutions from Pitney Bowes. It’s clear that the direct mail piece caught targets’ attention. One of the prospects left a voicemail for the team, “My boss just handed me this package and told me to call you guys!”
While the goal was to open up conversations about the Pitney Bowes returns solution, the campaign paved way to an even bigger business impact. With the ABM campaign as hook and the returns solution as bait, Pitney Bowes pulled in a marquee prospect who eventually became interested in multiple lines of service, creating an even bigger opportunity than expected.
This is just one, high-impact example of when Marketers think out of the box, so to speak, they can use mail in non-traditional ways that surprise, delight, and drive action. So the next time you build an omni-channel Account Based Marketing effort, find a clever and impactful way to build into your strategy the personal, targeted, and high impact marketing channel called direct mail.
In my next blog post we will examine more creative tools modern marketers have to boost their marketing mail campaigns.