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Webinar Recap: The Intelligence Behind Next Insurance’s 4x Increase in Campaign Performance
Direct Mail
November 23, 2022

Webinar Recap: The Intelligence Behind Next Insurance’s 4x Increase in Campaign Performance

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Stephanie Donelson

Last week, we hosted an excellent webinar on “The Intelligence Behind Next Insurance’s 4x Increase in Campaign Performance,” with two speakers from Lob, Kim Courvoisier, Senior Director of Content Marketing, and Gözde Görce, Senior Customer Success Manager. We were thrilled to be joined by Tim O’Brien, Head of Direct Communications at Next Insurance.

Want the full replay? Watch the recording here!

Otherwise, continue reading to get the key takeaways from the webinar.

3 key takeaways from Lob and Next Insurance’s direct mail webinar

This direct mail webinar focused on several important topics for insurance providers, such as marketing automation, compliance and security, and finding the right mail format for customers. O’Brien gave us a wonderful look behind the scenes at how Next Insurance is using direct mail to save time on its marketing campaigns and drive attributable revenue. During our conversation with O’Brien, several key themes emerged.

Key takeaway #1: Automated marketing is empowered marketing

Automation in marketing enables better experimentation and analysis of the results, leading to future optimizations and better-performing campaigns. When we asked O’Brien about bringing automated direct mail marketing on board, he told us, “The first goal was to demonstrate that this was a profitable channel and that we could make it work. People would ask, ‘Why are we sending direct mail? We’re online.’ We made the case that people are responding to direct mail.

“The second goal was to see if we could scale the channel. Direct mail is fairly complex when you think about it as there’s the creative, data, and production of the mail. You have to get all of these things to work together according to a schedule.”

That’s where automation comes in.

O’Brien’s team has done a lot of work on understanding when their customers are taking action on buying insurance. He told us, “A lot of the stuff we’ve been trying to do is around data, specifically timely data. We want to know what’s going on in a business’ life stage where there may be a change to what they are doing, hiring more employees, moving to a larger space, or they may be coming up on an anniversary. That would be a good time to hit them with an insurance offer. We work very closely with our data team to get this event-based data. What we were able to see with that was that our response rate was four times better. There is something about using timely data and being able to get that message to somebody faster.”

Make up your own moments that are personally relatable to that customer.

Plus, today’s direct mail technology is much more sophisticated and streamlined than it’s been in the past. O’Brien said, “I can go into our CRM and create a campaign, tag and tie in the data, create various conditions to fine-tune the audience, and launch something in a couple days. In the past it could take a month. If I’m bored on the weekend I could launch a campaign.”

Key takeaway #2: Best direct mail format for insurance providers - letters

O’Brien prefers using letters to target his prospects, as well as pairing those letters with the double-window, blind envelopes compared to promotional envelopes. He notes that it adds an element of mystery to his mailings and prospects and customers are more likely to open them. His team has done some testing around industry-specific letters and found it can improve response rates 10-15%.

Recommended reading: Want to see other insurance direct mail campaigns in action? Check out our Best Direct Mail Campaigns: Financial Institutions and Insurance blog post!

Letters aren’t just a hit with his customers and prospects, sending them through Lob has been a game-changer for other departments at Next as well. O’Brien said, “I can find out what each customer received and pass it to legal.”

Direct mail automation has eliminated the back-and-forth between teams, manual data entry, and manually maintaining data compliance. Automation has saved his team time with standard mailings, so he can focus on experimentation and optimization. In fact, his team also tests self-mailers, postcards, and his team was instrumental in our rollout of buckslips.

“Having more real estate is a must. I’m trying to convince someone they need insurance and convince them to use Next. That buckslip is helpful and there was a lift in response on our buckslip test,” O’Brien told us.

Courvoisier posed the question to O’Brien about testing any new form factors in their direct mail marketing and he mentioned card affix, due to his background in financial services. He added, “There’s something about getting an envelope and feeling something inside. I’ve got to open this and find out what it is! Different feels, textures, all that kind of stuff makes a difference.”

We have to find ways to stand out in the mailbox.

Key takeaway #3: Spend time creating the right way to attribute results to direct mail marketing

Every marketer wants their campaign and channel to get the credit for a conversion or contribution to a conversion.

When asked about attribution for direct mail marketing at Next, O’Brien said, “You know with direct mail, someone can read it and not respond right away. Of all the mail going out, how do we tie that back to who made a purchase? One of the first things we did was create a matchback process to determine the effectiveness of the campaign.”

He went on to say that they’ve done testing around using vanity URLs to track responses and engagement as well as using QR codes to make it as easy as possible on the consumer to take action.

Attribution is important to measure the effectiveness of a campaign but it still requires some upfront work with having the right data. O’Brien mentioned some of the data tests he wants to use that will impact attribution as it could change up where direct mail fits in their strategy, and these tests could move customers along their journey faster.

“We’re being very strategic about who we go after. It may make more sense to send something to them,” said O’Brien. He mentioned that they use direct mail alongside other channels in the customer journey, such as website behavior, email marketing, and social media.

Courvoisier noted that, “As we all know, no one channel is a silver bullet to getting results. It’s all about strategically using your channels to deliver an engaging, connected, memorable customer experience.”

Ensure you set up your direct mail insurance campaigns for success by downloading your copy of the complementary eBook: The Modern Marketer’s Guide to Intelligent Direct Mail: Insurance Industry Edition.

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