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November 24, 2014

Driving True Data-Driven Marketing at DMA

The Lob team traveled to San Diego to attend the DMA14 Conference and showcase our print and mail APIs. DMA is one of the largest marketing conferences. Over 200 global marketing leaders from some of the world's top brands presented ideas, innovations, and case studies. Even Magic Johnson was in attendance! Armed with our punny API shirts and marketing materials (see pictures below), we got the opportunity to show attendees how APIs can be used to enable true data-driven marketing

We focused our efforts on educating marketers; showing how to set up direct mail campaigns just like they set up email campaigns today. Our APIs enable companies to harness customer data to set up custom drip mail campaigns, triggered notifications or messages, and achieve true operational automation.

Today we want to share some of the insights we gained from speaking with customers and other vendors as well as our own experiences designing positive ROI direct mail programs!

Keys to Successful Direct Mail Programs

1. Utilize existing customer data to create customized and relevant content

One of the biggest differentiators of marketing materials that increases the chances of a potential customer taking action is how relevant the content is to the recipient. You've already seen this adopted in email marketing today (abandoned shopping cart emails or recommended items based on behavior). Yet its effective use still evades direct mail because of the complexity of setting up templates. Typically you see the use of one or two templates that are the same, and the only thing that changes is the customer's name! If you're ever wondering why Comcast has never changed the look and feel of their letters, it's because traditional direct mail tools have made it very difficult and time consuming to modify or A/B test templates.

The common thread we found after speaking with industry experts at DMA, and through successful campaigns run on Lob, is that each piece should be customized for each distinct recipient. This means leveraging CRM data about user engagement, actions a user may have taken on your site, and segmenting users into different categories.

At Lob we work with our customers to create content dynamically by using images, generating PDFs, and even HTML to create the design for printed pieces. Marketing managers can completely customize the content on the fly. Each customer receives a perfect piece of mail created with them in mind. Look out for our guide on how to send your physical mail as effortlessly as email in early December!

2. Timing is everything!

The timing and execution of campaigns are often poorly managed. Simply put, folks are waiting to batch together requests since they have minimum volume requirements. This means that customers are getting random marketing letters or postcards possibly weeks after they have engaged with a company! Imagine if the welcome email you receive after signing up on a website came three weeks after you signed up - it simply wouldn't be effective.

We've found that being able to trigger mail based on a customer action, delivered within days, dramatically increases conversions! The product is still top of mind and, with an additional touch point, conversion is much likelier. With Lob, there are no minimum requirements for sending a letter - you can have a single piece of mail go out immediately after a user performs a certain action.

3. Invest in building repeatable programs, not one-time campaigns

Traditionally done direct mail involves deciding on a particular campaign, such as a "holiday", and building target lists. In some cases, this may be effective. However, it's not a scalable or repeatable process and requires people to constantly monitor and manage these campaigns.

Attendees at DMA told us that the successful campaigns go hand in hand with scalability and replicability. This means closely measuring ROI on each piece and isolating the key factors that make a campaign work. Once companies identify these factors, the process can scale to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; all while driving positive ROI.

Putting it all together

Imagine if you could set up an automated win-back campaign that didn't require constant employee management. This is possible since Lob's APIs can automate triggered offers, sent based on specific actions or behaviors. Lob customers have used our APIs to implement automated solutions that send out offers when a prospect is identified. This keeps marketing managers from wasting time on execution and fulfillment and allows them to focus on content and optimization.

We hope that these tips help you think differently about direct mail and how to create successful programs moving forward! We're excited to be part of the DMA community after connecting with the experts. If you're interested in hearing more about how Lob can help you, please contact us at sales@lob.com!

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