Workflow Analysis: How CRM Managers Deploy Direct Mail

We spend a lot of time talking generally about how APIs can make workflows more efficient. But it’s often easier to show than to tell, which is why we launched this series. Last time we looked at acquisition marketing for lending companies. In today’s entry, we consider the applications of direct mail for CRM marketers.

The smartest CRM marketers maximize direct mail with digital methodologies. A more modern automated fulfillment mechanism, creative brought back in-house, and increased customer engagement are just a few of the positive disruptions offered by programmatic mail.

Many companies do better on paper, with brand representation customers can touch and feel. Bringing various segments of operational or marketing mail back in-house also improves ROI. This opens up a plethora of digital use cases that were previously not possible through traditional print and mail vendors.

Digital Channels vs Print

Mail is batched based on time, not triggers, meaning CRM marketers risk missing key checkpoints in a customer retention or dormancy workflow. Most subscribers to a given product don’t start or finish in large batches, so why batch their collateral?

On a weekly or monthly basis, an old-school CRM marketer is dumping a CSV file to their print and mail vendor and waiting for their output. Medium-sized companies may outsource operational or marketing mail, which requires ceding control of creative.

An alarmingly high percentage of CRM marketer man-hours are lost in the weeds of execution. This includes playing phone tag with account managers at print and mail vendors. Business intelligence pulls, internally and from data providers, are manual. Suppression, treatments and de-duping are manual. And when all is said and done and the mail is in the mailstream, poor delivery tracking means a lack of insight into campaign delivery metrics.

The crazy part is most CRM marketers are already using automated workflows. Any email automation platform will create automatic triggers, like sending a welcome email upon signup or lifecycle emails as customers pass various time checkpoints . The only real mistake we see CRM marketers make is treating direct mail as its own channel, with its own rules.

Omnichannel marketing means integrating all channels into your workflow, without exception. Here’s how a programmatic approach can turn direct mail from a bit player to your omnichannel MVP.

The CRM Workflow, Automated

When a customer initially signs up, you have triggers already in place to send an activation email. If there’s no response, you can automatically deploy an activation postcard. The same core principles apply: trigger communications automatically based on behavior, rather than sending ad-hoc campaigns using a batch and dump CSV methodology.

Conversely, if someone cancels a subscription or membership, you likely already have triggers set up to send an re-activation email. If the email doesn’t elicit a response, don’t spam the customer’s inbox. Set up an automatic reactivation postcard trigger instead.

Once direct mail starts to pay off by reaching members in a more timely and relevant fashion, your team will save marketing man-hours at every stage of the process. Every time an email fails to elicit a response, a letter or a postcard provides a higher-ROI vector.

With automation, synergies occur up and down the workflow. With their newfound time surplus, marketers can focus on content and strategy vs fulfilment and execution. In fact, pre-built logic can automatically match variants of artwork and data to maximize efficiency.

CRM marketers, in turn, can begin exploiting more robust data. With non-automated direct mail, working off just a few touch points is all most teams can manage. With programmatic direct mail, segmentation is limitless. We’ve seen ecommerce customers leverage over 30,000 product SKUs to send timely mail pieces to a highly segmented customer base. Each piece had 1:1 personalization on product recommendations.

Smart CRM marketers know that direct mail is not in its own category as a channel. When integrated into your omnichannel strategy with email and SMS, direct mail can become the linchpin of a long-lasting customer relationship.

Want to see for yourself? Give Lob a try today and watch your customers fall in love with your brand, all over again.