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Precision and Profit: How Predictive Analytics Supercharges Direct Mail Campaigns
August 3, 2023

Precision and Profit: How Predictive Analytics Supercharges Direct Mail Campaigns

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Rony Vexelman, Optimove

This guest post is brought to you by Optimove, a valued Lob partner.

For years now, we’ve been hearing about the imminent demise of direct mail marketing. Yet despite the naysayers, the channel consistently out performs all others by a significant margin – 9x that of all digital channels. The question is, can direct mail hang on to the top spot?

Increasingly fickle consumers, the growing demand for personalization, and a marketing landscape evolving at breakneck speed could make it challenging – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Most marketers know the value of a ‘start with the customer’ approach; building meaningful, valuable connections with customers means they'll stick around longer, spend more money with you, and if you’re lucky, become vocal brand advocates. But the conventional rules-based marketing methods that are the staple of many a direct mail strategy often lack the precision and targeting capabilities necessary to personalize campaigns and hit the sweet spot with prospects.

Enter predictive analytics — powerful tool that’s empowering marketers to leverage data insights and automation, put the customer first, and elevate their direct mail campaigns to a whole new level.

The power of prediction

Predictive analytics have been around for some time – though you may not know it. It’s no accident when you’ve spent a couple of hours online searching for and purchasing new garden furniture, for example, that ads for barbecues, gazebos, and planters start popping up in your browser and social feeds. That’s predictive analytics at work.

Based on rich data insights (real-time and historical), marketers using the technology are able to personalize with precision, hitting that sweet spot and increasing the likelihood of the desired response. It’s a far better approach than the resource-draining targeting of 20,000 consumers who may or may not have a garden! Yet often overlooked by many businesses, the same concept can wield significant influence over the success of their direct mail marketing campaigns.

Predictive analytics and direct mail – a match made in heaven?

Predictive analytics use AI and Machine Learning technology to delve into vast amounts of customer data, rapidly analyzing purchase history, past interactions, browsing behavior, and demographics to identify the prospects most likely to respond to campaigns, along with predicted campaign response rates. It’s that ‘start with the customer’ approach we mentioned earlier that has the power to elevate direct mail marketing efforts to an entirely new level. Here are just a few ways it does just that:

  • Targeted precision: By leveraging predictive analytics, direct mail marketers can put their efforts toward prospects who are most likely to respond and convert, maximizing the impact of every campaign
  • Amplified response rates: Visibility of prospects likely to convert means marketers can craft pitch-perfect messaging and offers that resonate with their target audience and significantly boost response rates
  • Resource optimization: 39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail (The Data & Marketing Association) - so it pays to get it right. By focusing on high-probability responders, you’ll send out fewer mailers, saving on costs, time and precious resources, and by default, you’ll see higher ROI on your campaigns
  • Personalization at scale: Over half of consumers expect direct mail to be personalized. By leveraging predictive analytics, marketers uncover valuable insights about preferences, purchasing history, and browsing patterns and build highly targeted, personalized campaigns that resonate with prospects on a far deeper level
  • Continuous refinement: Predictive analytics facilitates an iterative approach to campaign optimization. By continuously analyzing campaign performance, monitoring trends, and capturing real-time insights, businesses can refine and improve their direct mail strategies over time. This ongoing refinement ensures that campaigns stay relevant, effective, and in tune with the evolving needs and preferences of the target audience

Bottom line? No more guesswork.

Without predictive analytics, you might be casting a wide net but that doesn’t mean you’ll be reeling in the results. Personalization is going to be at best limited, and at worst, way off the mark - a customer-last approach, if you like.

With predictive analytics, no more throwing darts in the dark, no more inefficiencies; you’ll send out fewer mailers that enjoy a higher response rate and by default, increase the bottom line.

A case study

Let’s look at predictive analytics in action. The marketing team for a leading retailer had been using a batch-and-blast approach for their direct mail campaigns for some time – and not surprisingly, campaigns were failing to connect with customers.

Using a Customer-Led Marketing Platform, such as Optimove, the team gained a complete view of their customers, enabling them to identify those most likely to respond to their campaigns, so that they could begin sending their direct mail campaigns in a more strategic manner.

How does this work?

  • Predictive analytics identifies the customers most likely to respond
  • Customers now experience their own unique, personalized journey, only receiving relevant campaigns and messaging
  • The client no longer pays the price of an inefficient batch-and-blast approach
  • And the marketing team can focus on what they’re good at - creating great campaigns and building customer relationships.

The results of this personalized customer-led approach? The retailer enjoyed a 16.5x increase in campaign response rates- and an 800% ROI on their direct mail campaigns.

For those who are beginning to understand how crucial predictive analytics is for building a profitable direct mail strategy amidst scarce resources and ever-tightening budgets, there’s a unique opportunity now to change the old narrative and adopt a true customer-first approach.

By leveraging predictive analytics, brands can tap into the true potential of their direct mail strategies, uncover hidden patterns, refine targeting, and deliver personalized experiences that resonate with their audience. It’s a journey of growth, innovation, and a genuine commitment to putting the customer first – and reaping the rewards!

Continue learning about predictive analytics

Listen in on Wednesday, August 16 as Pini Yakuel, Founder and CEO of Optimove joins us on the Lobcast Podcast to talk about marketing AI. Find all the Lobcast Podcast episodes here: lobdemo.co/lobcast

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