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Direct Mail
August 29, 2023

Evaluating Your Customer Acquisition Marketing Efforts: The Role of AI in Direct Mail

by 
Guest Author

AI is no longer an outsider peeking in the window of marketing platforms and solutions. It's firmly seated at the table, already contributing to their evolution and pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

But, most of the conversation around AI in marketing is around using AI for customer retention and marketing to customers you already know and have data about. How can you use AI to acquire new customers? How can you use AI not only to acquire new customers but do it through direct mail marketing?

Let's discuss a few ways modern marketers are doing just that!

How to utilize AI for customer acquisition through direct mail

You know that direct mail is a vital piece of your marketing puzzle. You're sending mailpieces by the thousands, even millions, and you're already familiar with creating a harmonious omnichannel customer acquisition experience. Now, let's elevate that by introducing a new partner into the mix: AI.

The use of AI in direct mail is revolutionizing the way direct mail marketing campaigns are executed. AI helps marketers analyze data faster, understand what makes our prospective customers take action, and can help us develop A/B tests. Let's cover a few ways marketers can tap into the power of AI to create more effective direct mail acquisition campaigns.

AI data analysis: patterns and modeling

AI can quickly identify patterns in data sets and can help us better understand our customers' habits, demographics, lifestyles, and what products or services they buy. Using that data about our current customers, we can create models of our ideal customer profile (ICP) and get hyper-targeted lists that match that ICP, also known as lookalike audiences.

We can also use this data to create more segmented and tailored marketing campaigns that integrate a variety of channels and promote assets that historically score leads on a faster timeline.

Recommended reading: How to Use a Lookalike Audience for Your Direct Mail Campaign

AI predictions

Utilizing the power of AI direct mail, marketers can probe into customer data to predict which recipients are most likely to engage with a direct mail campaign, pinpoint the type of content that will appeal to them, and determine the ideal timing for contact. This allows marketers to refine their audience targeting tactics and adapt their campaigns to cater to the specific needs and tastes of their customers. Again, marketers can target lookalike audiences and create a piece of direct mail that will be delivered at the right time to drive conversions.

Recommended reading: Precision and Profit: How Predictive Analytics Supercharges Direct Mail Campaigns

Collect leads' information

Take the conversation between your website's AI-powered chatbot and your prospective customers offline. Have the AI chatbot collect email addresses and then run those email addresses through a list service to append mailing addresses to that lead. You can then trigger a piece of direct mail that recommends products or services based on the chat history, invites them to check out a personalized landing page, or offers them a discount if they were looking at pricing information.

Recommended reading: Creative Ways to Get Customer Address Data

A/B testing

AI can generate multiple variations of copy for direct mail campaigns and test which versions yield the best response rates. This enables marketers to refine their messaging and design elements, ensuring that their campaigns resonate with their target audience and drive the desired action.

Don't discount direct mail automation

There are several other tools under the direct mail automation umbrella that can help with customer acquisition while not being strictly AI-based.

Address verification

Address verification is a critical aspect of direct mail campaigns, and address verification tools can help catch human errors before they result in bad data in your marketing database. These tools validate addresses in real-time, ensuring your direct mailpieces reach the intended recipients and reducing the amount of returned or undeliverable mail.

Print delivery

Save time and money by letting our system intelligently route your campaign. Lob's Print Delivery Network uses intelligent routing and other advanced technologies to determine which printer a job is sent to, enabling faster turnarounds and faster delivery. This allows you to capitalize on the timing and prediction data your AI tool has provided to ensure your direct mail campaigns hit mailboxes when they'll be most effective.

Marketing automation

Meet direct mail automation, your secret weapon to a truly integrated omnichannel customer experience. By syncing your direct mail with digital marketing channels, this transformative approach promises a boost in ROI, reduced churn, and more effective customer acquisition, all while maximizing customer lifetime value.

Imagine the power of operating your direct mail campaigns just like emails. Wave goodbye to tedious manual processes — direct mail automation is your ticket to time-efficient campaigns with higher returns. By leveraging cutting-edge cloud software and automation tools, your direct mail campaigns can complement your digital initiatives with perfect timing and personalized content.

You can also use your modeling data to better understand what workflows are actually working in your marketing automation platform and swap out channels based on what your customer data is telling you. If you're seeing massive drop-offs or unsubscribes by the time email four in a nurture sequence is triggered, integrate a direct mail campaign instead to see how that keeps the conversation going.

Recommending Reading: 5 Types of Direct Mail Workflows to Automate

Balancing AI and human input

While AI is capable of taking on a significant part of marketing strategy and decision-making, it doesn't mean humans should hand over the reins entirely. The optimal approach is a delicate balance between human decision-making and machine automation.

Humans bring creativity, emotional intelligence, and ethical considerations to the table. However, these are areas where AI direct mail currently falls short.

On the other hand, AI shines in its ability to sift through large volumes of data, identify patterns, and make predictions based on these patterns.

Thus, merging human creativity with the data processing prowess of AI presents the most effective approach to optimize your marketing strategy.

For direct mail campaigns, this balanced collaboration translates into a dynamism that marries speed with sensitivity. Humans can drive the conceptual direction of a campaign, creating a compelling story, designing eye-catching graphics, and penning persuasive copy that resonates with the intended audience.

Meanwhile, AI works in the background, fine-tuning the logistics. It identifies the best audience segments, determines optimal send times, personalizes content at scale, and evaluates campaign success with precision. However, you can't rely on AI alone. Ideally, it's guided and supervised by humans, who ensure its algorithms align with brand values and ethical standards.

Recommending Reading: Automation and Artificial Intelligence for Direct Mail

Revolutionize your direct mail With Lob

Lob integrates with your existing marketing tech stack, automating or simplifying every step of the direct mail process. From creative brainstorming to proofing, approvals, list acquisition, postage, production, mailing, and even reporting, everything gets faster and more efficient.

No more juggling vendors across various platforms, no more missing crucial data. Lob's Print & Mail and Address Verification APIs can connect your direct mail process to your CRM and marketing automation platform, providing superior visibility, flexibility, and accuracy.

In this era of innovation, manual direct mail workflows have had their time. Embrace the future with direct mail automation, and let Lob revolutionize your direct mail strategy.

Enjoy the thrill of tracking your mail campaigns in real time, gaining insightful data, meeting compliance requirements, and making decisions based on performance analytics. Whether you're sending a hundred or a hundred million pieces of direct mail, the same enhanced capabilities are now at your fingertips.

Discover how modern marketers are harnessing direct mail for higher ROI and schedule a demo to experience Lob's transformative solutions firsthand. Let the era of intelligent direct mail begin!

Let's talk marketing AI

Love learning about AI? Listen to episode 21 of the Lobcast Podcast where we talked with the Founder and CEO of Optimove, Pini Yakuel, about using AI in marketing campaigns. Listen now!