- Marketing automation platforms are amazing tools to help scale communications and keep multitudes of customer journeys going, all from a centralized hub.
- By utilizing direct mail and tactile marketing automation (TMA), marketers create a sensory experience for prospects and customers to establish an emotional connection.
- Intent data tells us how and when a prospect or customer is leaning toward a particular product or service, and it should inform how you communicate with them.
- Using a unique combination of channels in a unified way to tell a meaningful and personalized story to each prospect maximizes effectiveness.
Marketing automation platforms are amazing tools to help scale communications and keep multitudes of customer journeys going, all from a centralized hub. The one thing they can’t always accomplish, though, is creating the level of intimacy that humans crave.
With a great increase in digital communications in 2020, it’s harder than ever to create personal connections through a screen. So, what’s the antidote to digital communication fatigue? Direct mail; a sensory experience for prospects and customers to establish an emotional connection.
And I’m not talking about the spammy direct mail you might have received in the past. I’m talking about thoughtful and personalized brand moments delivered at the perfect time. Unboxing experiences that surprise and delight. Content that speaks to the prospect’s needs. A follow-up phone call 15 minutes after package delivery.
Leading marketers at Zoom, Salesforce, Proofpoint, and more are crafting memorable brand moments like this for their prospects and customers. It’s driving incredible results for their businesses. Proofpoint generated 12x the meetings and 6.5x the pipeline in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019 with this strategy.
PFL and Demand Metric surveyed nearly 600 marketing professionals and they deemed integrated, branded, and personalized direct mail as the #1 most effective channel for reaching target audiences.
You might be thinking that executing a white-glove experience like this must be a ton of work and unscalable. Luckily, tactile marketing automation (TMA) makes it easy to orchestrate these experiences.
With TMA, direct mail is integrated directly into your automated customer journeys. Here’s how to create remarkable (and yes, automated) tactile experiences for your audience.
Start with intent data and personalized communication
As marketers, we know intent data tells us how and when a prospect or customer is leaning toward a particular product or service. It should inform how you communicate with them about what they’re interested in, including direct mail campaigns.
Personalization is a key ingredient in this strategy. But, personalization shouldn’t be confused with batching and blasting messages. Brands can’t rely on simply adding a prospect’s first name to an email template for a message to feel personal. Customers want more. Combining personalization and intent data for trigger-driven campaigns will produce optimal results.
Here’s an example. Let’s say we’ve got a consumer named Pete. Pete visits a sporting goods website, finds a pair of shoes he likes, gets to the checkout process and abandons his cart.
Though Pete abandoned his cart, if the customer journey in the marketing automation platform is set up correctly, this could trigger a direct mail postcard to be sent to Pete’s house with a 25% off coupon for the shoes he was considering buying. Or, if he actually bought the shoes, it could trigger a postcard with hiking-related messaging for a backpack or other gear.
This is real personalization based on specific recipient actions and fully customized content.
Multichannel campaign orchestration
I wouldn’t be a great source if I told you to stop at using two channels for marketing.
According to the 2020 State of Multichannel Marketing Report, marketers indicate they see the greatest success when they use four to six channels. Using a unique combination of channels in a unified way to tell a meaningful and personalized story to each prospect maximizes effectiveness.
Let’s say a B2B software company sent a prospective customer a printed version of its latest eBook. The FedEx delivery notification could automatically trigger an email to the prospect about the eBook, and simultaneously alert the sales rep to make a follow-up call.
This timely follow-up emphasizes the prospect’s attention on the physical mail and gives the prospect a way to respond digitally.
Don’t stop there. The delivery notification could also trigger display and social media ads for the prospect.
Kenshoo reports retargeting has the ability to lift ad engagement rates by 400 percent — the average click-through rate (CTR) for display ads is only 0.07 percent, whereas the average CTR for retargeted ads is 0.7 percent.
The careful orchestration of channels and timing makes a prospect feel seen. It makes them feel like the organization went above and beyond to create a great experience for them – thus is an organization they want to work with.
Okta is one such organization using TMA to create powerful experiences for customers.
Tactile marketing automation in practice
Okta, a leader in identity and access management, was having a tough time getting IT executives in target “whale accounts” to engage with its sales team. This resulted in the sales team spinning its wheels, spending too much time following up on digital marketing efforts and low overall conversion.
So, Okta turned to the powerful combination of TMA and account-based marketing (ABM). To up the ante for C-level IT executives, Okta added personalized video mailers to it’s ABM campaigns. Once a target contact engaged with Okta digitally via a webinar registration, or email open, they were automatically added to the TMA campaign to be sent a video mailer.
Each mailer included a personalized video that addressed each company’s specific pain points. A notecard accompanying the video with account-specific details and a custom landing page URL, ensured prospects received a highly personalized experience.
Once the prospect received the mailer, Okta used delivery notifications to make a timely email and follow-up call. The results? Okta realized a 73% month-over-month increase in target account web traffic and a 40% meeting booked rate.
As marketers continue to grapple with greater demands for data-backed results and fewer resources, they must create multichannel campaigns that leverage customer analytics, personalization and intent data.
Batching and blasting doesn’t cut it anymore for today’s consumer. Neither do campaigns that are solely digital or solely direct mail. It’s time to start crafting memorable moments for your audience, and it’s okay to let automation do the heavy lifting. Cheers to better experiences and stronger connections in 2021!
Nick Runyon is an accomplished executive with experience developing and implementing marketing strategies that drive fast and scalable growth. As CMO of PFL, he helps marketers achieve unmatched results through direct mail orchestrated with digital marketing and sales.
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