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Enterprise Direct Marketing Operations: Then vs. Now

Enterprise Direct Marketing Operations - Then vs. Now
By Chris Nolan May 11, 2021 No Comments

Direct marketers have been hampered by offline and manual marketing operations for decades. It makes months of effort across multiple stakeholders to develop, deploy and report on Direct Mail campaigns. Results are slow to come by, and often lack the direct marketing analytics required to make meaningful decisions.

Direct Marketing automation platforms improve the speed, quality and cost of Direct Mail marketing. Brands leveraging Direct Mail automation technology mail faster and cheaper than ever before and deliver superior results. Through Direct Marketing transformation, large users of Direct Mail save millions of dollars in labor and distribution costs and reduce their deployment time from months to days.  

Let's look at some of the benefits of upgrading and digitally transforming enterprise direct marketing operations.

Time to Market


Getting to market quickly is a struggle that Direct marketers know all too well. The complex manual processes and systems used for managing Direct Mail campaigns make improving speed to market nearly impossible. The biggest time sucks are:

  • Translation between marketing strategy, marketing operations and print vendors
  • Compiling & formatting audience and offer data from multiple sources and systems
  • Manual data operations for versioning and personalization
  • Managing variable data & offers in a "Matrix"
  • Outsourcing data manipulation and complex variable data programming to print vendors
  • Direct Mail proofing & quality control
  • Data operations to enable campaign performance & ROI

This process takes 4 months on average for marketers with complex versioning, testing and personalization requirements.

Even reading about this process takes too much time.


Direct Marketing automation technology makes it possible to streamline the complex data, marketing operations and distribution of Direct Mail at scale. Through Direct Mail automation: 

  • Cross-functional teams collaborate a centralized platform, giving all necessary stakeholders visibility into the campaigns and consistency across all business units and vendors
  • Data operations, personalization, campaign execution and reporting are automated within a centralized and secure platform
  • Behavioral and event based triggers send personalized Direct Mail on demand to prospects & consumers
  • A.I. Proofing automates Direct Mail proofing and quality control
  • Print vendors receive production ready files and print on-demand
  • Direct Mail is synchronized with email and digital channels
  • Direct Mail analytics and campaign insights are automated and visualized in intuitive dashboard reports

This streamlined process makes planning, organizing, and executing complex Direct Mail campaigns a lot easier. An automated Direct Marketing process reduces campaign cycle time to as few as 24 hours, empowers marketing teams to respond quickly to business objectives and execute multivariate Direct Mail tests, and have Direct Mail analytics and behavioral insights available on-demand for future deployments.

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Allocation of Resources


Offline and manual Direct Mail processes require valuable marketing resources to spend weeks of time and effort on menial, task-based work. In order to execute Direct Mail campaigns through a traditional process, marketers are required to: 

  • Analyze costs and schedules
  • Create complex Direct Mail personalization and vendor instructions
  • Manipulate and compile data from multiple systems
  • Project manage multiple printers and internal stakeholders
  • Review hundreds of proof sets
  • Chase printers and project managers for updates and information
  • Parse response files and transaction logs to pull manual reports for campaign analytics

These tasks are complex and time intensive and leave little time to spend on strategic Direct Marketing and testing efforts designed to improve performance. 


When you leverage Direct Mail automation, you have the ability to re-deploy your internal staff to focus on testing and improving campaign performance. You can use this newly discovered time to scale personalization, improve customer experience, implement multi-channel strategies and design testing plans. Automated multivariate testing allows you to determine which combination of variables drive the most revenue, and which things are a waste of time and budget.

In other words, you’re re-allocating your team from being cogs in a machine to high-impact marketers delivering revenue, insights and marketing outcomes. 

Direct Mail Reporting & Analytics


Response and purchase data is manually compiled and assembled to review campaign performance. This data needs to be formatted, aggregated, distilled and quality controlled which can take months of effort. Insights from campaigns takes 6 months to be applied to future efforts, if they get applied at all. And if you require behavioral analytics beyond ROI, the process is even longer.


Direct Marketing technology automates complex Direct Mail analytics and behavioral insights and visualizes reporting into centralized, on-demand dashboards. Results are processed immediately, and learnings/trends are available to be applied to future campaign deployments. Beyond campaign performance, marketers can easily dig into behavioral data to inform campaign refinements and new revenue opportunities. 

It can be difficult to go outside of the “norm” when it comes to enterprise Direct Marketing operations, especially when your Direct Mail results are still positive. All large users of Direct Mail already have a solution that works - even if it is slow, error prone and costly. Those brands who are prioritizing upgrading their Direct Marketing operations are saving lots of time and money and are experiencing improved results. 

If you're looking for insight on how to move your Direct Marketing operations into the "Now," take a look at The Drive to Digitize.

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