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The Personalized Power of Higher-Frequency, Lower-Volume Mailings

Higher-Frequency, Lower-Volume Mailings
By Ethan Bukowiec March 05, 2019 No Comments

Direct Mail teams have traditionally faced a set of exhausting obstacles on their never-ending journey to true personalization. Stuck with an extremely manual, labor- and resource-intensive process that takes roughly 3-6 months to pull off, these teams have been limited to running bulk mail programs that just don’t leverage the wealth of customer data available to marketers.

Now, though, with centralized, automated digital technology, these teams can turn to a set of transformative resources — including real-time data, historical data libraries and creative archives, and marketing automation — to send hyper-personalized campaigns at a higher frequency and lower volume. The result? Sales, engagement and ROI through the roof.

Personalization Is Power

Consumers don’t just prefer personalization, they demand it. Good luck to the enterprise Direct Marketers that don’t seriously consider consumer expectations for highly personalized content. According to Marketo, 78% of consumers will only engage with offers if they have been personalized from previous engagements with an organization. And, Salesforce reports 51% of customers expect that by 2020 companies will anticipate their needs to deliver relevant offers and deals.  Expectations have never been higher.

Unfortunately, the traditional Direct Mail process is complex and resource-intensive, causing Direct Marketing teams to rely on bulk sends that require Average Cycle Times (ACT) of 90-120 days to drive top-line revenue. Sorely missing from these campaigns is the level of personalization necessary to entice engagement and purchases.

Personalizing content based on name alone is no longer driving impactful engagement. Consumers expect marketing campaigns to be highly relevant to their purchasing history and interests. Furthermore, according to Adobe, 77% of marketers agree real-time personalization is crucial, but 60% report it’s a challenge to execute.

How can Direct Mailers cope with these demands?

There is only one way: By digitally transforming their enterprise with a centralized, automated digital technology platform that powers progressive multivariate testing for cutting-edge personalization. (Translation: Smarter and smarter targeted Direct Mail that produces better and better results.) Taking Direct Mail digital boosts processes and productivity on all fronts, adding speed, responsiveness — and previously unattainable ROI.

When it comes to Return on Investment (ROI), personalization is key — and the numbers show it:

  • Increased personalization results in 10-20% increased engagement
  • Increased personalization leads to a 500% increase in consumer spending
  • Increased personalization leads to 50% reduced acquisition cost
  • Companies report 5-15% lift in revenues from increased personalization

A key part of this return is the ability to send higher-frequency, lower-volume mailings for exponentially greater results. That’s the beauty of personalization.

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The Case for Higher-Frequency, Lower-Volume Mailings

You’re most likely committing all your “people resources” to creating and executing your DM programs, but you’re limited by each individual and team’s capacity. It slows you down.

Getting to market quickly is a struggle that Direct Marketers know all too well. The complex manual processes and systems used in Direct Mail campaigns make improving speed to market nearly impossible. Think about your current process:

  1. Your internal teams need to create pro-forma as well as a strategic briefing that they hand off to another internal team or teams for execution.
  2. Data operations are performed manually, including audience segmentation, assigning offers and variables, data merges (typically through multiple disparate systems) and development of business rules for personalization.
  3. Creative assets and versioning are drafted, iterated and approved internally.
  4. External vendors are asked to run data hygiene, perform data and postal operations, iterate on versioning and develop final campaign assets.
  5. Proofs are manually reviewed and approved, resulting in re-work and increased costs nearly 25% of the time.
  6. The campaign finally mails, and your team has little reporting. If they do, it's usually in the form of output from a postal or logistics tool.
  7. All of this leads to an Average Cycle Time (ACT) of up to 120 days, making scaling personalization, real-time marketing or innovative testing strategies impossible.

Wow. No wonder your Direct Mail team looks at their digital colleagues with envy.

Now imagine an automated system that’s built to eliminate human-intensive processes and potential for human error — all while enabling you to get campaigns out the door, faster. Instead of waiting for the “big quarterly mailing” to go out, you’d simply set business rules to generate hyper-personalized and lower-volume programs at more timely intervals and deliver an increased number of programs on a higher-frequency basis.

In effect, you’d be building a leaner, more agile marketing environment with the flexibility to adjust your campaigns to meet changing business conditions and finding an easier way to keep even the most demanding stakeholders happy.

The result? Increase revenue and program velocity that lets you reach customers on their terms.  And with today’s empowered consumers, those are the only terms that really matter.

Leveraging Customer Data, Audience Segmentation and Testing

Direct Marketers already have the tools and techniques at their disposal to execute higher-frequency, lower-volume mailings, but they can really open the throttle with digital transformation.

Digitally transforming enterprise Direct Mail unleashes the power of data, allowing real-time data reporting and historical data libraries that make increased audience segmentation possible. Where organizations may have only been able to segment based on sex, geography and household size, they can also segment based on purchase history, how people engage with a brand and other key insights.

Layering on additional customer attributes lets Direct Mailers enhance audience segmentation and inform content strategies and personalization. For example, Target, the large retailer, recently implemented a program to two million customers in which enhanced personalization was used to generate a 50% lift over previous mailings.

Industry innovators are leveraging these resources for increased audience segmentation, campaign automation and hyper-personalization of content at scale. Automation and machine learning provide marketers the opportunity to conduct progressive multivariate tests based on offer, messaging, cadence and formats, and forecast engagement through predictive analytics.

Digital transformation makes it all possible.

Scaling through Digital Transformation

According to Adobe, 77% of marketers agree real-time personalization is crucial, but 60% report it’s a challenge to execute. If data is coming from multiple disparate systems and sources and not accessible via a centralized platform, it’s impossible to increase Direct Mail personalization and utilize it at scale.

Fortunately, digital transformation has delivered a solution: Automated Direct Marketing that makes it possible to streamline all those systems and processes using a single platform.

With centralization, automation and endless information in-hand, marketers can execute complex multivariate tests and develop multiple versions of creative where copy, offer and packaging are all personalized. Direct Marketers can rely on that centralized platform to leverage hyper-personalization and deploy higher-frequency, lower-volume campaigns to highly targeted audiences.

Direct Mail teams can become more efficient and effective — and truly harness the power of personalization at scale — by digitally transforming their operations to deliver automated campaigns powered by real-time data.  By tapping into this personalization power with higher-frequency, lower-volume mailings, Direct Mailers are raising the bar on both their ROI and the strong, lasting nature of their customer relationships.

Digital technology has increased flexibility, variability and speed-to-market for online marketers. Now, it can do the same for Direct Mail. Find out how Direct Marketing technology can transform your enterprise Direct Marketing and scale personalization in The Drive to Digitize.

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