How Leaders can Leverage Direct Mail Marketing

Erik Kostelnik

What would be more authentic than a handwritten note from Bill Gates asking you to demo his new product? Receiving something like this in your mailbox would be jaw-dropping to say the least.Leaders in an organization have opportunities to give their sales and marketing departments a huge advantage by utilizing their credibility. A CEO, for instance, carries an expansive and impactful voice. They are the face of a company and the primary decision maker in times of crisis or glory.

This means their word carries the most weight and can deliver the significant meaning to potential customers. Personalized engagement provided from the signage of a reputable leader is far more authentic that anything an email could deliver.

Below we talk about how different leadership roles can provide unique customer experiences under various circumstances. According to Xant, 65% of leaders even report that they would be likely to respond to direct mail.

leverage direct mail

Here are 5 Reasons why CEOs should Leverage Direct Mail

  1. Mail is more personal on a peer-to-peer basis
  2. Sending a handwritten thank you note after receiving a present is pretty standard in society. They are by far the most legitimate form of thanking someone for something. The same goes for mail in the B2B world. If you are truly sincere in reaching someone, give them something they won't forget.
  3. Hand-written notes / signage from CEOs are meaningful
  4. This goes back to the Bill Gates example. It would be almost impossible to disregard any message from a big-time CEO, handwritten or not. Customers typically don't have any interaction with executives in a company. Especially in the B2B world, when CEO signage appears, it can make the customer feel especially important.
  5. Eliminate misinformation commonly associated with digital channels
  6. Sources show that an estimated 45% of all emails are spam. That means only 55% of emails contain significant or relevant content. Furthermore, a study from 2016-2018 on social media behavior found that 12% of the accounts they analyzed were bot accounts. This goes to show the extent of misinformation in the digital world. Marketers need to take into consideration the distrust that is associated with digital channels.
  7. Takes your company look like they are trying to improve customer experience
  8. According to Sales Hacker, only 38.5% of B2B companies are using direct mail. Because it is such a targeted and personalized form of engagement, customers take into consideration the extra effort put into contacting them. More often than not, they will appreciate a well-designed piece of mail and recognize the intention of the message.
  9. It’s memorable

Direct mail is more action-oriented than any form of digital media. In fact, it takes 21% less cognitive effort to process a piece of mail than digital media, suggesting it's easier to understand and more memorable. When participants in a study were asked to cite a brand they saw in an advertisement, recall was 70% higher for direct mail than a digital ad.

Many associate automated direct mail as being an operational nightmare. Don’t be frightened, as emerging account-based execution software is making it much more feasible. The process of writing, designing, and delivering pieces of mail can be scaled and employed efficiently. Nearly every style of handwriting can be mimicked and utilized to create postcards with meaningful, personalized messages. Handwritten notes with signage from CEOs will blow people away.

The CMO of a company might be one of the few positions that rivals the CEO in terms of how much passion and excitement they must evoke. Not only are they the ones who create that excitement within the organization, but they are also responsible for resonating that feeling with customers in their addressable market.


Here are 5 Reasons why CMOs should Leverage Direct Mail

1. Average response rates for direct mail are higher

Up to 5-9 times higher in fact. In the chart above, notice how digital channels are struggling to break the 1% mark. Conjoining digital strategy with direct mail can yield even higher response rates as consumers become engaged in the online and offline world. Sales engagement platforms now give marketers the opportunity to integrate these two channels effectively and see tremendous results.

2. It works in-conjunction with ABM strategy

Whether you like it or not, the latest trend in B2B is the account-based approach. Salespeople and marketers swear by it's effectiveness as there's an average of 6.8 stakeholders in every B2B deal. Providing hyper-personalized engagement in the digital world is hard, yet direct mail provides an opportunity to create such connections. Compared to direct mail and gifting, email lacks the ability establish the relationships in a buying committee that's needed to close a deal.

3. Another outlet for marketing team to boost revenue efficiency

As of 2015, over 90% of Americans say they have a very positive reaction to receiving personal letters and cards. Additionally, according to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report (membership and fees required), up to 90% of direct mail gets opened compared to only 20-30% of emails. As a marketer, open rates like these should be a huge eye-opener. With new sales engagement technologies emerging, sending postcards at scale is getting cheaper than ever. Between the efficiency of sending and high open rates, sales and marketing teams can see huge revenue influxes through implementation.

4. Direct mail can be scaled & implemented with internal marketing strategies already in-use

Every B2B sales and marketing organization is going to have numerous marketing strategies already in place. From event marketing to social media, every area can be complimented with direct mail. Adding a new channel to your current strategy can give you a huge edge and show your customers you are looking for new ways to reach them.

5. Tangible pieces of mail and gifts convey empathy

Every CMO or marketing manager knows empathy is the quintessential button to push for consumers. It's the easiest way to establish trust with someone and can easily be done with a well-designed postcard or customized gift. No one has ever been able to hold an email and no one ever will. Mail, however, provides a tactile experience and results in superior engagement.CMO, CTO, CEO...they all play individuating and unique roles within each organization. Salespeople and marketers need to look into ways to leverage the authority of executive positions. Incorporating their credibility into mail campaigns is an almost certain way to provide higher engagement with customers.However, without a digital counter-part, direct mail used in this manner alone would be rather ineffective.

Here's where digital marketing comes into play

digital marketing

Every company has its own framework and process for delivering content to their target market through their digital marketing channels. Although this works out very well for select organizations, there is a general overlap in the world of digital marketing. Everyone uses similar language in their emails, LinkedIn messages, phone calls, webinars, advertising, and blog posts.

However, the clutter of digital marketing originates from one commonality: none of it is a physically tactile experience for the customer. This is where incorporating credible direct mail with your current digital marketing strategies can seriously add value to your messaging.

Recently, the DMA released some statistics about direct mail that speaks largely in its favor. In 2018, the direct mail household response rate was 5.1%, compared to the 0.6% of email, 0.6% of paid search, 0.2% of online display, and 0.4% of social media. Clearly digital channels have become stagnated with meaningless content and direct mail is beginning to shine through the cracks.

Yet the reality of using direct mail as your primary marketing channel is far-flung because of how much content is already implemented through your digital channels. Not to mention, studies have shown that campaigns using direct mail and digital ads conjointly have 118% higher response rates than those solely using direct mail.

The combination of the two can be an extremely valuable addition to your sales and marketing departments. In fact, it’s proven that doing so can increase conversion rates by 28%. So if it works so well, what exactly does it mean to use digital advertising and direct mail together?

How to use digital channels with direct mail

direct mail and digital

Define the JTBD

The first thing you need to do before sending mail is make sure you have a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey. This means knowing the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) for each of your targeted personas. JTBD are critical tasks that customers want to achieve and what they want to do in conjunction with them. Understanding your buyer's persona can help map the delivery of content to ensure it's tailored towards the customer’s desired outcome.

Align digital channels with direct mail

Ensure you have the proper bridge technology to align digital channels with direct mail. New platforms such as Postal can easily integrate with your CRM and cater to this. From your CRM or sales engagement platform (SEP), you can set triggers that automatically send mail when a certain action is met in a digital channel (email, LinkedIn messaging, click-throughs, social media, etc).

Establish a messaging strategy

Marketing is content, sales is context. Communicate in a way that revolves around your customers priorities, goals, and objectives. This is where knowing the JTBD of your customers can be seriously helpful. Creative messages that layout how your company provides a solution can sometimes be even more effective when sent with a useful gift. Another good place start is by tracking which messages are generating the most responses in your digital channels and incorporate this into your letters, postcards, and gifts.

Develop an attribution model

This is a model that is consistent and representative of true revenue lift. Understanding the ROI margins of the mail you send will allow you to make adjustments for future campaigns. The best way to develop future mail is by measuring which letters or gifts are generating the highest responses and yield the greatest ROI.

Integrating direct mail with your digital channels is much easier said than done. Keeping these concepts in mind will help you align the two without straying too far off track. Stay focused on your target market. Ensure the message you send is creative and uses authentic language. Make sure you have the ability to track the ROI of what you send.Use direct mail to compliment areas you that you feel may be lacking in your digital channels; do it wisely and you will see how they make a perfect couple.

Clearly, a direct mail revolution has begun. The only challenge faced in the field right now is how to get a higher ROI than digital channels. Although response rate for email is less than direct mail, email still provides the highest ROI due to it’s cheap automation. Direct mail used to be challenging because automating at scale with integrated campaigns has been a logistical horror show.

Email has always been easy because there are no physical parts of the puzzle. Nonetheless, now is the era of direct mail; and sales/marketing teams who figure out how to leverage it effectively will crush competitors. Postal offers a simpler and cheaper approach to direct mail automation.

Account-Based Marketing
Erik Kostelnik

Erik Kostelnik is the co-founder and CEO of Postal, an Offline Marketing Automation platform that generates leads, increases sales, and improves customer retention. Prior to, Erik founded TextRecruit, one of the fastest-growing HR technology companies in the world, leading it to acquisition in 2018 by iCIMS, Inc. He also served as the Head of Sales at Wrike from 2014 to 2016 helping it reach #116 in 2015 Deloitte Fastest 500. Erik was named an Upstart 50 Top Inventor by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2017 and lives in San Luis Obispo, CA with his wife and three kids.