Back in the 1980s, I met my future and current wife who grew up in the family print business. I loved walking around the shop and seeing, and sometimes feeling (I couldn’t help myself!), all the cool jobs flowing through the printing and bindery processes.
But I was a design engineer. My world was numbers. Testing and refining. Logic. While I developed a passion for print, it wasn’t my calling. No ink in these veins.
Fast forward a few decades. My career evolved and landed me as the general manager of a digital bookmaking company for digital photographers. Websites, web applications, email marketing, and social media all became part of my toolkit.
Lots of numbers. I could test and refine just like I did in my engineering days. I learned to love digital marketing.
Today I’ve expanded on those first digital marketing experiences but never gave up on print. I’ve been writing and discussing the advantages of integrating direct mail and digital marketing for years.
So why are digital marketers learning to love print? Because it works!
Reach Ideal Customers for Lead Generation
We all know about purchased marketing lists. For years digital marketers would purchase email lists and blast them out in the hopes of engaging a small percentage on the list. These days this is a quick path to clicks on the spam button and getting blacklisted. It’s against almost all email and marketing automation service providers’ terms of agreement, and it’s illegal in Canada.
This is where direct mail can be extremely effective. Buy the mail list. Segment the list based on job titles, industries, and any other useful criteria. Use variable data digital printing to create very specific messaging unique to each person.
You know this already. But the digital marketers at your customer companies might not. And they’re the ones that would quickly understand the value.
Nurturing as Part of an ABM Strategy
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been all the rage in many marketing circles. ABM is a major accounts sales and marketing strategy where marketing resources are focused to support the sales process to go after key identified accounts.
Rather than creating marketing assets that target a specific industry or a specific role, marketing assets are created to communicate with a specific person at a specific company.
While sales teams have always modified PowerPoints for customer presentations and write emails to address particular prospect questions or needs, ABM makes this a repeatable, systematic approach that is formally supported with marketing resources.
ABM is a high touch, high resource strategy. Direct mail is commonly used in ABM programs.
Retain Existing Customers
It is generally considered that it takes 7X the money to get a new customer as it costs to keep an existing customer. Show your customers some affection.
A customer retention program can consist of an onboarding sequence of communications that includes phone calls from sales or customer service, automated emails to ensure the customer says engaged, and all types of direct mail.
While there may be upsell and cross-sell opportunities, engaged and happy customers may also speak highly of you to colleagues at other companies, or remember you when they move on to a new company.
Direct mail communications can consist of postcards, letters from the president asking for feedback or offering a direct line of communication, and gifts that are presented with custom packaging that reflects highly on your brand.
What Digital Marketers are Saying
As a print or direct mail salesperson, espousing the benefits of direct mail might not be trusted. Of course, a print rep is going to talk about print, just like a car salesman is going to talk about the benefits of the brand he sells, and Google is going to say how critical search advertising is to your business.
But a well-known digital marketer talking about the benefits of direct mail? That will open some eyes!
Neil Patel, a well-known digital entrepreneur, and digital marketing thought leader, has written several articles about the benefits of adding direct mail to your marketing mix. In The Power of Direct Mail in the Digital Age, Neil discusses how direct mail has more impact and can help instill trust. He provides all kinds of ideas useful to a print sales rep is his blog post 13 Reasons Why Direct Mail Isn’t Dead.
Email marketing providers like MailChimp are also getting into the act by making postcards almost as easy to send as an email. On their Direct Mail Marketing page, MailChimp provides numerous reasons why direct mail works and provides numerous tips. Don’t be too worried about MailChimp being a competitor to your direct mail business. As I wrote in MailChimp Postcard Beta – A Printer’s Perspective, their postcards offerings are limited and likely not of the quality your customer’s need.
You can do your own search and find numerous other articles about the benefits of direct mail written by digital marketing thought leaders. Share these articles with the digital marketers at your customers and with your contacts at the digital agencies in your area.