Make Friends With Your Client’s CRM to Improve Direct Mail Marketing

crm data driven direct mail

Send Personalized Direct Mail Using CRM Data

Previously I wrote about four ways a commercial printer can Leverage Client CRM Data to Improve Print Sales. But despite the fact that CRM systems are extensively used across all industries and company sizes, only 46% of companies have widespread use of their CRM system. (Source: Forbes)

This creates opportunities for a commercial printer. Clients that have implemented CRM but aren’t fully using it will appreciate ideas on how to get more benefit from it. Clients that are extensively using CRM are likely more open to implementing new processes.

You can make it easy for customers to implement variable data-driven direct mail programs while at the same timing allowing them to get more value out of their CRM investment.

Depending on the complexity of the customized content, setting up variable data print templates can be time-consuming for both the client and the printer. The investment involved too frequently drives the decision to send the same version to everyone. But if the variable data template can be used frequently, the return on the time and cost investment can be very high.

CRM Campaigns

Most CRM systems also have a “Campaign” concept. Campaign functionality varies between CRM systems. At the simplest level, a campaign is just a bucket that contacts can be added to that identifies contacts that receive a campaign. More complex campaigns can include logic and send email. Regardless of the feature set, the Campaign feature can be used to select users for a direct mail campaign.

There are three ways sales and marketing teams can determine who to add to a campaign to send direct mail communications to:

  • Direct Selection
  • Segmentation
  • Automation

Let’s take a look at your options.

Direct Selection

Direct selection is typically a sales process. Using a CRM system, sales reps can select which contacts to send a direct mail campaign to. A custom field can be set up in the CRM system that the rep can select when viewing a contact record. The rep could also filter their contacts based on whatever criteria they’d like, then mass select the filtered contacts.


The client’s marketing team can filter CRM data to define marketing segments to send direct mail campaigns to. The segmentation criteria can be industries, company size, customer or prospect status, or behavior-based criteria. One common behavior is sending direct mail to contacts that have stopped responding to emails.


Once the CRM system is programmed, direct mail becomes an automatic process for your client. The programming required is not normally difficult to do, but it does take expertise. Normally larger companies have the resources in-house to program their CRM system, but smaller companies normally outsource this. Either way it is normally not a large project but it is not trivial.

Further automations can be done, such as selecting customer’s that have not ordered in the last six months, or prospects that have not opened an email for a few months. More detailed behavior based criteria can be used if your client has a marketing automation system implemented.


With a little training, selection and segmentation are easy for sales reps or marketers to do.

A well-designed direct mail variable data template can be used for a variety of campaign types. The message and imagery can be changed based on where a prospect is in their customer journey, for cross-sell opportunities to existing customers, or for event marketing.

Re-using variable data templates makes it easy to leverage both the investment in creating the template as well as the client’s investment in their CRM system.

Once contacts have been selected or segments created, the data needs to be exported out of the CRM system and sent to the printer. This can be done manually each time a direct mail is to be sent, or it can be automated with CRM system programming.

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Tod Cordill helps small and medium-sized companies integrate digital marketing channels into existing sales and marketing efforts to more efficiently drive business growth. Tod has worked in a variety of industries including software, manufacturing, printing, and eCommerce and continues to work with similar companies via his work at Moderno Strategies. Tod combines his P&L perspective with engineering problem-solving structure to help clients grow their business. Connect with Tod: @todcordill on Twitter and on LinkedIn

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