Direct Mail Isn’t Dead: Why It Should Be Part of Your Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

By Megan Allinson, Integrated Marketing Director at BKM Marketing 

While the age of digital media is advancing, there are still those who prefer tangible books over Kindles, film photography over digital, and manual cars over electric. Sometimes, the traditional ways of doing things stick around for a reason despite the rise of digital options that threaten to replace them.


Direct mail is another great example of a medium with staying power in the world of marketing. In a digitally dominated space, direct mail still has a time and place where it shines — even outshining digital marketing in some use cases. One secret to gaining a significant return on investment from this medium is using triggered direct mail.


What Is Triggered Direct Mail Technology?


Triggered direct mail essentially automates the direct mail process, making it akin to digital retargeting. Just as you would retarget a customer after they engage with a digital ad, you can use triggered direct mail technology to send them a targeted piece of mail based on specific user behavior. For instance, if prospective customers visit your website or abandon their cart without purchasing, you could retarget them with direct mail based on their digital behavior.


How does it work? The technology behind triggered direct mail tracks IP addresses and connects them to U.S. postal addresses. This process is similar to digital display marketing, but the end result is a physical piece of direct mail sent to the recipient’s address. It’s a way of marketing to people you know are interested in your products or services and breaking through the digital marketing noise.


This approach seamlessly integrates with your omnichannel marketing strategy. By incorporating triggered direct mail, you align it with other touchpoints that consumers encounter daily — such as email, digital advertising including digital retargeting, and search — ensuring your message is present in various mediums.


For example, if a user likes your social page and visits your website multiple times, you can trigger a direct mail ad to reinforce your message. A customer relationship management system such as HubSpot or Salesforce makes this technology even more powerful, as it can automate the capture of trigger events. This enables you to send highly targeted direct mail just as easily as you would send an email.


Pros and Cons of Direct Mail


When it comes to the benefits of including direct mail in your marketing campaign, the statistics speak for themselves:


• Consumers read more than 90% of promotional mail.

• Direct mail boasts the highest ROI at 112% across all marketing mediums.

• More than 70% of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers find direct mail more personal than online digital communication.

• Research shows that significant percentages of different generations would be disappointed if they stopped receiving physical mail.


That said, while direct mail offers substantial benefits, marketers should be aware of potential pushback, especially regarding accuracy. It primarily targets prospects, not necessarily customers, so 100% accuracy isn’t always achievable. However, you can set up suppression files to exclude specific individuals if you have concerns about certain prospects receiving automated mailings.


How to Start Using Triggered Direct Mail


Ready to start incorporating direct mail into your marketing strategy? Use these steps to begin.


1. Determine your triggers.


Direct mail can be triggered by various events, including when a prospect revisits your website or when a customer abandons items in their cart. Direct mail can also take many forms, such as nudging a prospect during a long sales cycle, sending a thank-you note following a sale, or providing a reminder to a seasonal purchaser. Decide what makes sense for your prospective customers based on their behaviors and your business goals.


2. Launch a test phase.


Start by testing triggered direct mail alongside a general direct mail campaign. The assumption is that a small percentage of people receiving the initial direct mail piece will visit your website and trigger the automated mail pieces. Make sure to instill a process that removes mail recipients from the list so customers do not receive multiple mailings.


3. Take an iterative approach.


You don’t have to implement triggered direct mail across your entire website. Instead, focus on specific landing pages by placing a pixel on them. Then, you can demonstrate proof of concept, learn what types of triggers work best, and apply these learnings to future campaigns.


4. Work with experts.


To fully harness the power of triggered direct mail marketing, it’s important to collaborate with companies experienced in handling the backend processes, such as matching IP addresses to postal addresses and ensuring accuracy or linking to a CRM or marketing automation platform. Otherwise, you run the risk of accidentally sending highly targeted marketing materials to the wrong customers, wasting budget at best and alienating them at worst.


Think of triggered direct mail as a crucial component of your retargeting strategy, aimed at reengaging both customers and prospects. By focusing on the response data and numbers, you’ll witness the tangible value it brings to your marketing efforts in the digital age.

About the Author

Megan Allinson brings over 15 years of strategic marketing experience to BKM Marketing. As the integrated marketing director, Megan partners with clients to develop and execute their marketing communication plans and strategies to deliver against identified business and marketing challenges and objectives. Megan’s background ranges across multiple marketing disciplines, including digital and direct, relationship marketing, and traditional advertising while her industry expertise encompasses banking and financial services, insurance, travel and hospitality, and healthcare.