Commentary & Analysis
Dynamic Data in Direct Mail
The world has become very “data rich” and companies are using this data in ways that just two decades ago were unheard of. It boggles the mind how much information is available and the ways in which organizations are utilizing it!
By Christine Erna
Published: October 14, 2019
The world has become very “data rich” and companies are using this data is ways that just two decades ago were unheard of. It boggles the mind how much information is available and the ways in which organizations are utilizing it.
Today’s business world is consumed with generating, managing, utilizing and reacting to data to manage their businesses, sell their services and get to whatever information they can to know everything possible about their customers. They know and understand how powerful this data is and that it can drive intelligence about the consumer: What are they doing? When are they doing it? What do they purchase? When are these purchases made? This is all in an effort to discern how to satisfy and take advantage of this information. Organizations spend billions to develop a broad range of interactions with consumers and clients in an effort to remain relevant in every opportunity they find to engage, stay in touch, predict changes and generally deepen the relationship.
We have all heard that with data comes a huge responsibility to manage, protect, secure and use it intelligently. I suspect that most everyone has been affected in some way by at least one of the dozens of data breaches that have occurred over the last decade. For me, I stop and think, what information does the dark web have about me and how is it being stored for use at some future time?
As uncomfortable as it feels, I am reassured by the sophistication and proactive measures the printing and mailing industry has developed and adopted related to data compliance and regulation. Our industry lives by stringent data management and security processes, procedures and regulations which are taken very seriously.
The U.S. Postal Service is Americas’ favorite federal agency. It has become a “data driven beast." The USPS has grown to ingest and generate massive amounts of data that organizations inside and outside of the printing and mailing industry find valuable.
The USPS processes over 150 billion mail pieces annually. Over the last decade, they have enhanced their technology, data metrics and provided access to this data to organizations across countless verticals. Informed Delivery, Informed Visibility and Postal One Mailers Scorecard are all examples. The information can support and enhance omni-channel and multi-channel communication strategies designed to increase ROI and relevance.
These powerful technologies provide data intelligence, which is key to marketers, business mailers and services providers across industry verticals. This dynamic and relevant data enables our organizations to react and engage with consumers and clients more intelligently to drive behaviors that suit our business models. Need some statistics?
Mail Remains Relevant
- Over two-thirds of customers collect their mail every delivery day. Even a majority (53%) of millennials check their mail every day.
- Integrated direct mail and digital campaigns elicit 39% more attention than single-media digital campaigns.
- Forty-four percent of mail addressed to a specific person is read immediately. When addressed to a generic occupant or resident, that figure drops to 36%.
- When direct mail follows an email, brand recall is 40% higher compared to recall for other single-media and integrated media campaigns.
Marketing Mail – Driving Consumer Response
USPS Marketing Mail is preferred by consumers over other channels due to the inundation of digital messaging we all receive. In addition, the response rates and ROI are consistently higher as well.
Overall response rates:
Direct Mail 5.1%
Paid Search 0.6%
Social Media 0.4%
Display Ads 0.2%
Overall response rates:
Direct Mail 5.1%
Paid Search 0.6%
Social Media 0.4%
Display Ads 0.2%
Overall Mail Attitudes: Mail Perceptions
Over 90% of consumers, across generations, review their mail to make sure they are not discarding useful information. Millennials are more likely to read through advertising mail and show an increased preference for shopping at stores that advertise through the mail.
The Value of Informed Delivery
Informed Delivery can help mailers increase the reach of their marketing campaign through a synchronized physical and digital touchpoint. This technology enables organizations to:
- Reach engaged consumers.Tap into the Informed Delivery user base which is proven to deliver significantly higher-than-average email open rates.
- Increase interaction. Generate multiple impressions from a single mailpiece.
- Encourage faster responses. Offers interactive content and a clear call-to-action to help increase consumer response.
- Reach customers digitally from their physical address. Expand your reach and audience base.
- Get more bang for your buck. Potentially increase ROI for your campaign.
- Measure campaign performance. Gain valuable data insights that can help optimize your marketing spend.
The Informed Delivery Calculator allows mailers to estimate how Informed Delivery interactive campaigns can enhance their direct mail campaigns. This tool uses mail volume and spend to approximate the impact of Informed Delivery in four mailing areas: reach, attention, response and conversions.
How This Works for Consumers
Users can view grayscale images of the exterior, address side of letter-size mail pieces arriving soon in their mailbox. Mail piece images are available via email notification, online dashboard or mobile app.
The process is simple:
- Consumer signs up for Informed Delivery.
- Mail is imaged during USPS processing.
- Images are matched to delivery points, and mailer interactive campaigns are applied.
- User receives mail piece images.
- User receives physical mail pieces.
In a recent USPS MTAC presentation, Jakki Krage Strako, chief customer and marketing officer with the USPS, shared these statistics:
- Seventy-seven percent of consumers check their mail five days a week.
- Ninety-three percent are checking for something important.
- Fifty-nine percent read their advertising mail before discarding.
- Consumers spend on average 10 minutes sorting, opening and reading their mail.
- Magazines, coupon booklets and ads from local stores are most engaging.
- Fifty-six percent of consumers have tried a new business after receiving a direct mail piece.
- Informed Delivery has reached 11.8% national saturation and 62% email open rate.
- Seventy-two percent of respondents indicated clicking on an Informed Delivery Interactive ad; 68% made a purchase.
Companion service Informed Visibility Mail Tracking and Reporting is a key element to integrate with Informed Delivery to match and link the data provided to elicit a call-to-action or trigger some response event in the full breadth of the multi-channel marketing message. This dynamic duo can boost an interactive campaign to the next level. Leverage the logical delivery events from IV and the digital reflection of the actual mail pieces from ID by adding email, text and social media options in a multi-channel campaign to increase the engagement value, improve customer response and optimize ROI.
All of this is made possible through this suite of data driven tools:
- Retargeted Direct Mail: Automatically trigger a piece of mail to someone based on their digital behavior.
- Informed Delivery: Turn your direct mail into digital impressions and digital experiences.
- Informed Visibility: Know when mail is delivered to coordinate complementary media.
Technology does not have to be a budget breaker. These data driven tools allow you to use analytics to develop a strategic plan and then strategically determine the associated costs. This enables us to create marketing campaign plans based on accurate and relevant data. Think strategically, starting with your goals and create direct mail using technology to drive predictable response.
For more information, visit the Informed Delivery for Business Mailers website: https://www.usps.com/business/informed-delivery.htm
You are finally on your way to a successful campaign! The goal of every direct mail campaign is not just to send a printed copy, but to get a response. With the help of technology, you will find it much easier to manage the entire process.
For more information on how you can start a formalized mail and postal strategy or to engage a certified postal consultant, please contact Christine J. Erna, President of Strategic Postal Advisors at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Reprinted with permission of USPSDelivers.com, a resource for business knowledge and insights.
- Connecting for Action, Canada Post (2016)