Big Data and the Potential of Real Time Direct Mail

Direct mail gets an undeserved rap for being old fashioned – and it’s still one of the highest performing channels out there.

“The response rate for direct mail is 5.1%,” explains Paperplanes’ Dan Dunn in a MarketingProfs podcast.  “Compare that with the average email response rate of 0.6%, and you begin to see the appeal.

And now that direct mail is learning to thrive in the era of big data, the potential for brands is massive.

“With the power of Big Data, marketers can strategically plan their direct mail campaigns to enhance their effectiveness through targeting and behavioral triggers,” Dunn explains.

For example, take cart abandonment, which averages around 70% across industries. And the highest abandonment is on mobile devices, a vitally important channel for e-commerce. Even a small change in cart abandonment could be huge.

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Follow-up emails – a common strategy for cart abandonment reminders –  wears thin on the digitally-fatigued consumer.

“We had a scenario [with UK fashion brand JD Williams],” Dunn explains, “and this is very typical in any market, whereby there was a certain level of fatigue that had been reached with email. When you send something, it could be a targeted email…the conversion reaches a level which is very hard for a brand to beat or to move into a higher performance.”

“In this scenario, the customer base was looking at particular products,” he continues. “They’d expressed interest in other products, but they hadn’t really gone any further with that purchase. What we began to do is, we took the non-responders of the emailed abandoned basket campaign and triggered follow-up programmatic direct mail instead to those nonresponders.”

The results were significant: a 14% increase in abandoned basket recovery and an 8% increase in average order value.

“We are triggering communication…that lands with customers 48 hours after their initial browse or the initial abandoned basket,” Dunn explains. “We are incredibly plugged into each and every individual customer journey.”

That level of connection to your customers can’t help but improve sales and lifetime value. Getting a postcard on your birthday with a special offer on something you’ve viewed before is a little bit of magic in your mailbox, right?

As customers become more wary of mass communications and seek out more personalized experiences, programmatic direct mail may be a key component in the mix.