Posts Tagged ‘direct mail’

What You Can Learn about Automated Personalization from Google’s Hilarious Mistake

October 4th, 2017

Embarrassment. It’s a common emotion I hear from marketers after reading or watching a MarketingSherpa case study.

“The work these marketers are doing is amazing! And my marketing program is a mess. I’m overwhelmed by data. I don’t have enough resources to monitor social. My website doesn’t load fast enough …”

Today’s blog post is basically our way of saying:

Hey, it’s OK if you’re not a perfect marketer

Because no one is. Even here at MarketingSherpa, our reach is further than our grasp. There is so much more we’d like to do to improve our own marketing.

Which is why there was more than a little schadenfreude when we received an impressively erroneous direct mail piece from Google trying to use its hoards of data to personalize a message to us that would convince us to buy AdWords.

Read more…

How a B2B Tech Company Generated 650% ROI with a Retro-Cool Direct Mail Campaign

August 12th, 2016

“We have a pretty small market at Intronis, it’s manage service providers, mainly in North America,” said Richard Delahaye, Senior Director of Marketing, Intronis in his interview at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at Summit 2016.

He explained that the sales staff wasn’t able to get many conversations going from that group with traditional methods like phone calls and emails. They needed something special to differentiate them from all the other phone calls and emails their prospects were likely getting.

Inspiration came from an old school method: a direct mail campaign.

Delahaye and his team were told to think big, but also keep the customer in mind. So after one idea – which unsurprisingly never came to fruition – to give a car away with every purchase was vetoed, he decided to look for a tech gadget that would especially appeal to their customer base.

“I landed on possibly the oldest, but maybe the greatest tech gadget of all time. Which is, you can now get an Atari game console for about 30 bucks, so that became the core piece of the campaign,” he said.

Customers would receive a box with the Atari, with a note on top that encourages them to “open up for some office fun, courtesy of Intronis … unfortunately, not all technology is this retro-cool. You need to upgrade your cloud service storage.”

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How to Engage in the B2B Sphere With Nostalgia

January 15th, 2016

Having lighthearted fun with your customers is probably the most effective way to engage them with your services. Especially when you want to stand out in the B2B sphere.

At data protection company Intronis, a multi-channel campaign was launched around a dimensional mailer with an initial incentive of an Atari game console replicator.

Intronis sells to a very specific type of customer, IT service providers, who is “very busy, they have a lot going on. They have to run their business, they have to help their customers with their problems. So we were looking for a way that we could break through that noise,” Aaron Dun, CMO, Intronis, said.

Aaron’s team discovered that with their targets, traditional tactics like phone calls and email weren’t really getting through. After a challenge by their CEO to do a direct mail piece, they began thinking about what would resonate with customers.

“Our target audience … are, generally speaking, men between the ages of 30 and 50. So with that is insight. We started thinking around, ok what kind of thing can we send to them, that will really get them to engage with us and think about Intronis in a different way,” Aaron said.


The team, lead by Richard Delahaye, Director of Marketing, Intronis, began looking into what Intronis could send out that would be distinguishing.

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How a B2B Marketing Team Used Zombies to Win Over the C-Suite

September 30th, 2014

When Christine Nurnberger joined SunGard Availability Services in 2012, Marketing and Sales were clearly out of alignment. Marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline was less than 3%, even though they executed more than 1,100 marketing tactics over the previous fiscal year.

By the end of 2013, that relationship had shifted dramatically. Marketing’s contribution to new revenue skyrocketed to 40% with the average deal size tripling.

At MarketingsherpaEmail Summit 2014, Christine revealed her secret to success: smart content marketing built on intense research, analysis and creativity. It culminated with chief technology officers preparing for the zombie apocalypse and eager to engage SunGard.

In the video clip below, Christine outlines setting the stage for that success with a two-stage direct mail pilot, targeting 56 CTOs in the later stages of the buying cycle:

  • Part one was a direct-mail piece made up of a  shadow box with a thumb drive, which included a personalized video announcing that, in the coming days, they would receive everything they needed to survive a zombie apocalypse.
  • Part two was a zombie apocalypse survival kit — a backpack that included a copy of World War Z, two tickets to the movie and “zombie repellant,” aka silly string.


The response blew the sales team away.

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Email Marketing: Avoid the pitfalls of a direct-mail mindset

February 7th, 2012

New technology is always bewildering. We get a newfangled tool. We play with it. We relate it to other stuff. We try to understand it.

The problem is that new technology is new. You can relate it to older stuff at first, but you have to move on. Thinking about it in old ways can hold you back.

Take email marketing, for example. Companies used it as a digital form of direct mail for years. We now know email is not direct mail, but some companies continue reliving the past. Here are a few examples:

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Census’ Direct Mail Tactics

March 12th, 2010

Going through my mail a few days ago, I came across a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau. I read it and was baffled to find it alerting me to the census forms’ arrival next week.

“What a stupid letter,” I thought. “I’ll see the forms when they come.”

However, an editorial in my local paper the next day made me think twice.

In “Surprisingly Sensible,” the Spartanburg Herald-News’ editors report that while this letter cost about $50 million to send, it’s part of an alert and follow-up strategy. For the 2000 census, the strategy lifted the number of returned census forms 6 percentage points to 67%. How’s that for a response rate?

The letters arrived one week before the census forms. Ten days after the forms, a post card was sent reminding recipients to fill out the forms and return them, according the editorial.

The 6% lift reduced the number of houses the census workers had to visit, which translated into huge cost savings. So the $50 million may prove to be a sound investment.

The editorial goes into further detail on how much money the strategy could save. The important point for marketers is that even when a strategy does not make sense on its face — it still might lift performance.

Pennies in Direct Mail

August 5th, 2009

Every once in a while I hear about a marketing promotion gone horribly wrong. When I first heard about a 1956 Reader’s Digest campaign that involved pennies, I thought it was another marketer’s tale of woe.

The late Walter H. Weintz, a direct mail pioneer and the circulation director at Reader’s Digest in the 50s, mailed 100 million pennies as part of a subscription campaign. The pennies were mailed with a letter encouraging recipients to mail back one penny as a down payment on a subscription, according to the New York Times article linked above.

Here’s what happened, according to this random fact book:

“The magazine planned to send out 50 million letters, which meant they needed 100 million coins–enough to deplete the entire New York area of pennies. The U.S. Mint intervened, forcing Reader’s Digest to make quick arrangements to ship in 60 million more pennies from all over the country. Then, when the company finally got all the pennies it needed, it stored them all in one room–and the floor collapsed under the weight.”

Sounds like a total disaster right? Not exactly. The promotion drew a record number of responses.

“That mailing, along with other direct marketing campaigns that Mr. Weintz conceived, was credited in large part for raising the magazine’s circulation” from about 4.5 million in 1948 to over 12 million in 1959, according to the New York Times.

Weintz took a big risk on that campaign, and it paid off big time. It goes to show that marketing far out on a limb can yield the best fruit–but only if the branch doesn’t break under your feet.

38% Decline in Direct Mail Predicted

July 14th, 2009

I recently had a conversation with Gordon Borrell, CEO, Borrell Associates, Inc., in which he made some startling predictions for the future of several advertising markets. Borrell’s team specializes in tracking local advertising and reporting how much advertisers are spending in a channel by region.

The most surprising prediction Borrell shared is that spending on direct mail will decline 38% over the next five years. Marketers spent about $48 billion on direct mail last year, Borrell says. While that size might suggest stability, Borrell says that it is actually an indication that the platform is in line for a mighty fall.

“When something grows really fast and gets up to a high level, and there’s a disrupter in the market place, some other technology that provides pretty much the same level of service but in a more efficient way, then you can expect there to be a roller coaster decline.”

That disruptor is Internet marketing in general, and email marketing in particular, Borrell says. Email is an affordable way to send personalized and targeted messages, and the technology continues to improve.

Also, recent reports that the United States Postal Service is considering eliminating Saturday service is contributing to his team’s prediction, Borrell says.

“If the day they cut is Saturday, then that really hurts direct mail. Marketers love to get pieces into homes on Friday and Saturday, because that’s when the buying is done in households.”

Borrell and his team base their predictions, in part, on a disruption model. They analyze what happened to markets of the past when disrupted by a new technology, and apply those lessons to current events.

Has your team cut direct mail this year? Or do you plan to in the next five years? Let us know in the comments…

Entice with Incentives to Drive Traffic to Website

December 10th, 2008

Most of you know that one way to drive people to a website is by putting the address on everything that might get in front of the eyes of potential customers.

I’d like to provide another suggestion: Give people an incentive to actually go to the website.

If you’re a college or university trying to increase admissions, for example, try including an MP3 card in direct mailings. You could have whatever message or logo you want printed onto the card, which looks like a credit card.

It could say visit our site to receive one free MP3 music download. That gets your target audience through the gates, so to speak. Hopefully they will look around the site while waiting for the song to download.

“This has been incredibly useful for private schools and colleges,” says Fred Snyder, VP of Sales, Eastern Region, for Geiger, one of the oldest and largest privately held promotional products companies in the world.

Snyder provided some background information for a Sherpa report on how to maximize the ROI of promotional products in a tough economy. He also provided this tip!