The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently surveyed a range of consumer brand marketers to understand their 2021 customer acquisition objectives, marketing strategies, and media buying decisions. The survey results made it clear that 2020 set new rules for consumer sentiment and brand loyalty, and marketers have responded by positioning customer satisfaction as their number one marketing and advertising priority in 2021.

Top 5 Marketing/Advertising Objectives

  1. Drive customer satisfaction
  2. Identify high value audiences
  3. Increase customer leads
  4. Increase customer retention/loyalty
  5. Drive first purchases

Direct mail marketing has been adopted by growing and established brands alike due to its ability to reach, resonate with, and convert both prospect and house audiences. The mail channel is also well suited as an anchor platform for direct marketing programs because it can support the integration of digital marketing efforts (including CTV|OTT) for a more targeted and profitable marketing strategy.

Surveyed marketers agree, as 41% indicated they invest their advertising budgets in offline media – with the majority spending on direct mail and print. The results also confirm the channel is worth the investment, as marketers recognize direct mail provides an acceptable customer acquisition cost (CAC) and delivers quality, high lifetime value (LTV) customers.

If your growth goals mirror the IAB research, here is how you can use direct mail marketing to reach your top marketing objectives.

Drive customer satisfaction

Today’s consumers are not focused on a channel, but rather on their own preferences and expectations to purchase on their timeline and channel of choice. In a recent CMO Council survey, over 85% of global consumers admit a blend of both digital and physical channel experiences is their preferred way of interfacing with brands, and even more say multichannel touchpoints (including direct mail) are critical to satisfying their needs.

After a successful launch into the mail channel, a top-ranked meal delivery brand wanted to integrate its digital campaigns with mail to continue to improve brand experience and prospect engagement. The multichannel strategy increased sales by 35%, reduced the campaign’s overall CPA, and lifted year-over-year sales by 67%. “Direct mail is now the centerpiece of our integrated marketing strategy,” announced the brand’s CMO.

Identify high value audiences

USPS research confirms mail recipients spend an average of 13% more than non-recipients.

At its core, the consumer data available for direct mail list generation is strong – naturally positioning the offline channel to effectively identify and reach your best audience. Top performing customer models come from a strategic blend of optimal customer subsets, relevant consumer characteristics, first-rate modeling techniques, and in-market testing to identify your best audience. Not only are you reaching a high value audience with mail, but you are leveraging a medium that has a significant impact on purchase decisions.

An auto insurer continued to test customer models to ensure the campaign was optimized for scalable growth – an industry best practice. The insurer tested a proprietary model, plus 20 other list sources, against the control. The proprietary model was the top performer and beat the control by two times, validating itself as the insurer’s best and biggest audience – and increasing sales rate by 133%.

Increase customer leads

The latest ANA data shows direct mail response rates are six times higher than all digital channels combined. Therefore, it is common for brands to utilize direct mail marketing early in the buyer journey to drive brand awareness, capture leads, and move prospects further down the funnel. The channel’s data science capabilities, such as postal to pixel and reverse-append, allow you recognize your anonymous audiences for retargeting campaigns. You can also use modeled audiences and acquisition campaigns to educate and influence new prospects on your product or service.

Looking for scale in a highly competitive market, an insurance brand tested direct mail to gain brand recognition and drive sales leads. The inaugural campaign immediately established the validity of the mail channel, producing a 1.85% lead rate and providing thousands of new leads and hundreds of new policies.

Increase customer retention/loyalty

Not only are you 70% more likely to sell to an existing customer, but it is more profitable for you to sell to a repeat customer than acquire a new one. Unfortunately, brand loyalty is harder to secure with today’s consumers than in the past. Through CRM segmentation and trigger-based mailings, you can use direct mail to deliver the relevant and personalized messaging your audience values to build long-term customer relationships.

Rather than target past customers with a one-size-fits-all program, a DTC specialty brand leveraged its CRM data to segment and retarget both past customers and new leads with personalized direct mail. This strategic retention program now delivers the highest ROI of all the brand’s direct mail campaigns. It has also increased revenue-per-policy by 21% and multiplied the customer lifetime value by eight times.

Drive first purchases

When it comes to making a first-time purchase, a consumer must trust a brand and its offering. This rings especially true as consumers become more selective in times of uncertainty or financial strain. Direct mail has two advantages for achieving this marketing objective: it is delivered by the most trusted brand in the U.S., and consumers trust print more than digital advertisements. Therefore, more than 60% of DTC brands rely on the mail channel to reach new audiences and drive first purchases.

Looking for added growth channels, an identity theft brand decided to test direct mail ability to expand audience reach. Since launch, channel performance has been through the roof – converting over 2 million first-time members. The CMO now views the channel as “irreplaceable,” as it generates 40% of its annual sales and has driven more than $500 million in revenue.

New to the direct mail channel? This free e-book, Direct Mail 101: How to Grow and Scale with Direct Mail, is filled with how-to guides, best practices and checklists to help you build a targeted and valuable program.

This article originally appeared on the SeQuel Response blog and has been republished with permission.