What we all hoped would be a short-term disruption, has become a long-term reality for many marketing leaders. Navigating a global pandemic wasn’t on anyone’s 2020 strategic plan, but here we are. ‘Normal’ business practices have been paused as we evaluate more pressing and urgent needs. In Forrester’s self-described, “most optimistic scenario,” a 28% drop in US marketing spend is projected by the end of 2021.
So, what are marketing teams supposed to do now? Brands having success during this time are delivering unique brand experiences to engage prospects. They’re using the direct mail channel to break through the digital clutter and create remarkable brand moments.
Beyond swag in a box, tactile marketing automation (TMA) — or automated direct mail — generates strong brand connections with target audiences by delivering personalized, tactile assets, and branded products signaled by AI and behavioral data. TMA can increase overall response rates and omnichannel campaign effectiveness — something every business can use right about now.
But, the biggest question marketers are asking us now is, “How can I implement TMA and direct mail when people are working remotely?” It’s a valid thought and a challenge that we immediately faced as our own prospects shifted to a remote work environment. And, the “Remote Working Problem” (as it has become known at PFL) is why in April, even we took tactile marketing automation out of our own marketing mix while we worked on a solution.
As a replacement, our business development team began sequencing about 2,000 prospects with only email and phone, eliminating direct mail to save money and further understand how we could reach those working remotely. Our results suffered immensely. Just 1% of prospects booked a meeting with our team that month, a massive decrease from earlier performance.
After working to conceive new address gathering processes, we quickly re-introduced TMA into our marketing strategy. Adding around 1,000 prospects to our distribution sequence, we garnered 10x more meetings compared to our email-only strategy. Prospects who confirm their address have a 22% conversion to meeting rate.
So, want to know the different strategies we used to get people’s preferred shipping addresses?
Clearly State the Value Exchange During Sales Conversations
Like someone shopping at a mall, people are willing to give up something of value to get something of value. In this example, it’s money in exchange for clothing, games, electronics, etc. In the world of tactile marketing automation and omnichannel marketing, it’s a prospect’s contact information — specifically, their address — in exchange for value such as reports, best practice guides or e-books, swag, or even just a treat or gift card.
We’ve found prospects will gladly provide their information if they know and trust that they’re getting something useful or valuable in return. When the value exchange was made clear, our most recent campaign at PFL achieved an engagement rate of over 60%.
We suggest making sure your sales representatives are also communicating home addresses will only be used once, and not be stored in your internal systems. Prospects will be more willing to participate in this value exchange if you ensure them it is for a one-time brand experience.
Properly Use Data Services
In this day and age, with a wide variety of available data services, it doesn’t take much to collect home addresses with basic information about a prospect. Many view home address sendings as a risky proposition, as it could be perceived as infringing on someone’s privacy. But, at PFL, we’ve actually found the opposite to be true. Prospects who are already engaged with a sales representative appreciate the multichannel experience that a physical touchpoint provides.
Capitalizing on Canceled Events
Many existing marketing and sales efforts have had to be put on pause. Trade shows, conferences, events, and in-person meetings have all been canceled. Sales reps can reach out to prospects with whom they were planning to connect at those canceled functions. This outreach is a great opportunity to ask for the prospect’s preferred mailing address to enhance the virtual meeting or event with something physical. You can include swag originally purchased for trade shows as a “Booth in a Box Experience,” or simply send a treat to enjoy while attending the event.
The best marketing teams are moving quickly to adjust their omnichannel strategies. Now, with prospects working from home and decreasing department budgets, it’s important that businesses still achieve campaign goals through programs that are driving actual results. Tactile marketing automation has proven time and time again to be a reliable source of engagement, providing a meaningful physical touchpoint in a coordinated multi-channel campaign. For marketing teams to succeed right now and achieve their 2020 goals, implementing direct mail is their best bet.