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Account-Based Marketing and Direct Mail: Making It Work at Scale

ABM
By Chris Nolan May 30, 2019 No Comments

Seeing the success that many smaller business-to-business organizations have had with account-based marketing (ABM), large enterprise business-to-business companies are working to cash in on ABM, too. After all, being able to identify target accounts, build personas and craft messages to those personas offers exciting new opportunities to connect with customers. Plus, the evidence is in — it works.

But for these larger players, with multiple business lines and product marketing teams, it’s been a lot harder to execute — particularly with Direct Mail and its many moving parts. Integrating Direct Mail into an ABM approach is an intricate, complex undertaking; one that demands stakeholders across and outside the organization to be aligned on the same processes and standards.

How do large, well-budgeted companies that sell B2B get into the ABM/Direct Mail game without repeating the legacy mistakes that large DTC companies make?

First, they need to consider how they can tap into the full potential of Direct Mail today, and why.

Why Direct Mail Matters

As hinted above, successfully adding Direct Mail to an ABM strategy requires Direct Marketing organizations — and their vendors/suppliers — to adopt a centralized platform that enables standardization and streamlines operations across business units, data sources, agencies and vendors.

When done right, organizations rediscover a channel that reliably delivers superior results while so many shiny new solutions falter and drain budgets. Take a look at these stats for 2019:

  1. The Direct Mail response rate was 4.9% for prospect lists in 2018 and has climbed steadily over a decade.
  2. In 2018, the Direct Mail response rate for house lists was an incredible 9% — nearly double from the previous year.
  3. Direct Mail still pulls a higher response rate than any digital marketing medium. Its response rate ranges from about five to nine times greater than that of email, paid search, or social media. (Source: ANA/DMA Response Rate Report 2018)

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Why Direct Mail Works with ABM

Account-Based Marketing and ideal Direct Mail execution place an emphasis on:

  • Audience Segmentation — Accounts are identified, and personas are developed within those accounts.
  • Content Personalization — Content speaks directly to the personas and accounts that it's created for.
  • Timing — Messaging is crafted and delivered specifically based on different actions and different points in the buyer's journey.
  • Reporting — Campaign results are analyzed and used to scale future programs.

Pairing Direct Mail with digital communications, strategically timing sends based on buyer journey and intent, and tailoring the content to the individual receiving it are all Direct Mail elements that will spike engagement and ROI across the board. When marketers examine their current KPIs and marketing communications strategies, it starts to become clear where it makes sense to add personalized Direct Mail.

It’s just a question of where to begin.

Identify Target Audiences through Advanced Segmentation

This should be easy. ABM marketers have already identified their target accounts, they just need to make sure they have accurate postal information for the associated contacts. Based on their bandwidth for content creation, they may want to group accounts by industry, size or location for enhanced personalization. But they can segment and group their Direct Mail audience any way their data allows, just like with digital efforts.

Disclaimer: Due to the complexities of running Direct Mail through legacy processes, it’s been somewhat pointless to incorporate it in an ABM approach. Extensive planning, manual data operations and tedious proofing requirements limit teams to often sending mail in bulk to contacts regardless of account, lifecycle stage, etc. This is not a best practice, as it limits the ability to personalize and puts a dent in response rates.

Improve Engagement with Direct Mail Personalization

It’s a fact — recipients are more likely to engage with personalized content and response rates climb when content is tailored to their specific interests or traits. To reach those elevated engagement rates, Direct Mail content should be versioned to speak directly to the recipient.

For example, a contact in discovery phase should not be receiving CTAs for the latest product release. That’s better suited for an existing customer who represents a cross-sell/up-sell opportunity. Contacts in the discovery phase are more likely to engage with educational material such as eBooks, webinars or offers for a demo.

Offers are just one of the ways to personalize Direct Mail content. Marketers can also tailor the language and creative aspects of their content to the recipient’s age, gender, geographical location, industry, role, product interest, etc.

Marketers have worked hard to develop an extensive repertoire of Direct Mail formats personalized based on the variables above, and they have the historical data to recognize which formats perform best.

Unfortunately, even though they’ve identified winning campaigns, they have to re-invent these formats with every new campaign. With the power of a Direct Mail platform behind them, cutting-edge marketing organizations are building digital libraries of Direct Mail formats that can be actioned on-demand based on triggers and business logic.

Measure & Optimize Campaigns with Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing is what unearths the findings tied to optimal formats, versioning and personalization. Using traditional processes, though, it can take weeks to receive and analyze campaign reporting to identify, for example, which target account responds to personalization based on purchase history and gender.

To apply multivariate tests across an extensive target account list, enterprises need to align their resources, technology and processes. Teams can take a measured approach to delivering, testing and analyzing reports on account-based Direct Mail campaigns.

Create an Omni-Channel Marketing Presence

Adding Direct Mail to an ABM strategy helps with engagement and response — period. But taking full advantage of this high-performing channel also means working in tandem with other communication streams to create a true omni-channel presence.

Direct Mail should be strategically timed with your digital communications, promotions and events and used to move contacts throughout the buyer’s journey more quickly and effectively. When a contact receives personalized Direct Mail promoting a discount for an item they recently viewed, it will resonate more than if they receive static messaging for a product they have never heard of.

Centralizing to Scale Direct Mail

There is an extensive amount of resources and reports available that speak to the power of personalization and its impact on response and revenue. So, it’s safe to conclude that an ABM approach to Direct Mail would pay great dividends for an enterprise.

The key to activating Direct Mail in an ABM strategy lies in structuring internal teams, external resources, data sources and technologies so that everything is aligned with the same processes, protocols and workflows.

These are all elements of digital transformation that can be realized with the implementation of a centralized Direct Mail platform. When all business units, data sources, agencies and vendors are on-boarded, enterprises can streamline integrations, optimize costs and provide transparency and efficiencies across the organization.

But, most importantly, they can be equally tactical and agile enough to deliver optimized Direct Mail that resonates and is relevant to target accounts.

Interested in improving the performance of your account-based marketing by integrating personalized Direct Mail? Submit a Request for Consultation and a KleerMail Solutions Specialist will contact you.

This article originally appeared on destinationCRM.

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