We know a thing or two about direct mail, and we even offer a way or two of sending your direct mail campaigns!
Whether you’re technically savvy or you’re more of the plug-and-play type, we can meet your needs.
In this blog, we sat down with Walker Palecek, Senior Product Marketing Manager, to talk about Lob’s products to help marketers and direct mail operators find the right Lob solution for them.
Q: What’s the quickest way to explain the difference between Lob’s API solution and Lob Campaigns?
Palecek: Both methods allow you to send direct mail programmatically via our APIs; our Campaigns tool is just an easy-to-use interface built on top of that technology.
Sometimes, people get tripped up when they hear “programmatically,” but all that means in our world is we send direct mail in a digital and automated way. Traditional print and mail workflows are very manual (and costly), not personalized, and untraceable. Instead, by taking an offline channel online, Lob automates and optimizes the process from start to finish. Basically, everything you can do with email (trigger campaigns, hyper-personalize, track/analyze, etc.) you can do with direct mail with Lob—regardless of how you execute.
Q: Can I use the API and the Campaigns tool interchangeably?
A huge amount of direct mail is sent for transactional/operational use cases like sending invoices/statements, refund payments, policy changes, renewals, etc. Not always sexy, but necessary. Another, perhaps more fun, use case for direct mail is marketing—no longer considered old school, this channel is making a comeback due to its success in driving acquisition, retention, and reactivation.
So it doesn’t matter if you are in insurance, healthcare, telecom, financial services, ecomm, or retail—it’s likely you have the need to send both operational and marketing mail. So when looking at your method of execution, it’s more about the type of campaign.
Primary use cases for our Campaigns UI include batch campaigns like sending acquisition or cross-sell mailers, retail promotions, annual policy updates, end-of-life notices for a sunsetting product, referral campaigns, etc. With four easy steps, this tool is especially ideal for those users with limited technical know-how.
Another common way to send direct mail is to individually dispatch mail initiated by some kind of "trigger" when the recipient meets a pre-set condition or takes a defined set of actions within a certain timeline. Examples include new-user welcome, post-purchase surveys, abandoned cart recovery, monthly statements, or change of address confirmations. In these cases, our APIs provide an easy connection point for any tool that you want to automate direct mail from, like your CRM/CDP (Salesforce, Braze, etc.). This does require more technical prowess, but we can support almost any integration you need.
We are really excited about event-based campaigns functionality in the Campaigns UI later this year. How someone sends mail with Lob has often depended on the knowledge base of the resources responsible for its execution, rather than the use case. Expanding the capabilities of our Campaigns tool in this way will be another huge milestone in meeting the user where they are at.
Q: Does the pricing change based on which direct mail solution I choose?
Palecek: No, it does not. Whether you choose to be on a Developer edition, a monthly subscription, or an annual contract, we aim to offer competitive pricing regardless of your preferred method of execution.
Just like any other industry, huge savings can be recognized by replacing manual print and mail workflows with automation and technology. Our platform simplifies direct mail execution by managing the entire process under one roof, so, for example, our mailpiece pricing is inclusive of printing and postage.
Q: Does that mean the Print Delivery Network is included with both product offerings?
Palecek: Yes! Lob has vetted and curated a select group of print partners across the country for fulfillment. This means you have high-quality print partners available on-demand, and close to your customers. Our aggregated mail volume brings savings and flat-rate pricing means you can better predict, plan, and budget.
Q: When you said the entire process of direct mail, does this include design?
Palecek: A huge benefit of taking direct mail digital is the ability to personalize the mailpiece design. Just like with email, by utilizing HTML, you can include dynamic personalization so every mailpiece is unique. This can be as simple as updating “Current Resident” to a recipient’s name like “Dear, John," or as complex as tailoring each image and offer code for each individual.
Sometimes, customers flinch when they see the letters H, T, M, and L, so we offer a ton of support in this area to make it as painless as possible.
For example, we still support the use of static PDFs, a more traditional file format for mailers. We also provide a library of ready-to-use direct mail templates for our customers in both formats.
My catchphrase is, “No developer? No problem,” because we also offer tools to easily convert creatives from popular design tools (like Figma or InDesign) into Lob-ready HTML; we can even convert static PDFs into dynamic HTML.
But regardless of whether you use print-ready PDFs or HTML, we support both within our APIs or the Campaigns tool.
Q: So I can use Lob to create and send my direct mail, but can I track it?
Palecek: Yup! We provide unprecedented visibility into where every single piece of mail is from creation to delivery, and we offer this no matter how you send your mail (API or Campaigns). We can alert you with notifications at each stage so that you can build downstream workflows and processes based on these alerts. You can also slice and dice your mailpiece data in any way you want to better understand channel performance, attribution, and ultimately, what we’re all on the hook for: ROI.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone testing out Lob’s platform?
Palecek: Just give it a try! You can get your first postcard out the door by following this tutorial—for either Campaigns or via direct API call—here.