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modern direct mail marketing

It’s a new decade, and direct mail marketing is even more effective and efficient than ever — largely due to the advancements in marketing automation technology. These advancements bring a new host of do’s and don’ts when it comes to modern direct mail marketing programs, such as Programmatic Direct Mail®

Modern direct mail marketing is different from traditional direct mail marketing because it integrates directly with your digital marketing efforts. The two are no longer siloed, and in tandem, provide a powerful marketing channel. In fact, the most modern direct mail channel is now described as Digital To Direct Mail.

To help you explore the new Digital To Direct Mail marketing channel, we’ve put together this list of five do’s and don’ts to make you an expert in no time.

5 Do's and Don'ts of Modern Direct Mail Marketing

1. Do Segment Your List Before Scaling

Whether this is your first direct mail marketing campaign or you’ve been running them for years, it’s essential to revisit the campaign objectives and segment your list to align with those goals. Also, ensure you are working with the right partner offering proper segmentation capabilities.

A simple yet effective place to start is separating current customers from prospects. The strategy for acquisition may be very different from a customer retention and or loyalty approach. By segmenting your list, not only are you ensuring you reach an audience that aligns with your campaign objectives, but that they are also receiving the most relevant direct mail, specifically tailored to them.

2. Do Prioritize Data Hygiene

You have a host of data available at your fingertips — put it to use! By leveraging the first-party data made available through website traffic, in-store data, transaction history, and email lists, you can begin to layer on additional segmentation criteria to ensure the direct mail pieces are relevant.

Digital attributes can include demographic, psychographic, geographic — for example, age or gender, what hobbies they like, where they’re located — the list goes on. Look to your CRM or customer data files to get this information.

For best results, we recommend adding an Always On approach to your current marketing campaigns in which direct mail is sent based on recent intent or activity, ensuring that you’re using the freshest data to connect with those who want to hear from you.

Keep in mind, whichever digital attributes you choose should align with your campaign objectives. A key advantage of Digital To Direct Mail programs is the automation and algorithmic intelligence that automatically selects the right piece of mail for the right user according to your objectives.

It's impossible for a human to choose all the right attributes at scale, and working with a platform to algorithmically ensure the data being used to drive the most relevant mail is key.

3. Do Measure Performance (with Incrementality Tests)

As a marketer, measuring performance is an essential part of any campaign and marketing channel — you want to know that what you’re doing is working. Historically, marketers looked at available data before, during, and after a campaign to evaluate performance and determine impact, return on ad spend, incremental lift, and more. 

In the present day, the best way to measure the success of your campaigns and evaluate which marketing channels yield the best results is to measure incrementality. Incrementality is a way to measure an event that wouldn't have occurred without a specific interaction, such as an ad view, resulting in the desired outcome, such as a conversion.

PebblePost provides incrementality tests on every campaign by performing a Transaction Match to measure lift and to paint an accurate picture of the true impact of Programmatic Direct Mail.

4. Don’t Forget About the Customer Experience

Are you sending a lot of direct mail but not seeing a spike in sales or return on ad spend (ROAS)? The frequency could be the culprit—popping into people’s mailboxes too often is inefficient, wasteful, and is more likely to be deemed junk mail.

Take a step back and examine your mailing schedule. More often than not, sending more than one mailpiece every 30 days can be considered “too much” — however, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if you’re running a time-sensitive winback campaign from your CRM list and a lapsed customer re-visits your site, it may be worthwhile to send a retargeting mailpiece.

In addition to frequency, relevant and personalized creative is even more important as the mailpiece may end up on the fridge, acting as a billboard in the home. For more tips, check out this article where we discuss how to create a great Programmatic Direct Mail postcard.

At the end of the day, it comes down to ensuring respectful communication with the consumer because the better the consumer experience, the better your campaign will perform. 

5. Don’t Confuse Immediacy with Effectiveness

When it comes to direct mail marketing, the results will grow steadily as digital performance drops with channel fatigue. While digital can see an initial spike in performance, more often than not, interest wanes as quickly as 24–48 hours.

Why? Because most purchasing decisions, especially of high-value items, take longer than a week to make. In fact, over one-third of purchasing decisions take a month to make (The Shopping Shift). Direct mail can help speed up purchasing decisions and has a longer shelf life — if your mailpiece makes it to your prospect’s fridge, your brand has prime billboard space in the place where it matters most: the home.


Further, we see an average peak performance between 8–12 weeks after a Programmatic Direct Mail campaign begins. 

BONUS: Don’t Forget to Integrate Your Marketing Efforts

The best way to communicate effectively with customers is to reach them across multiple channels with streamlined and consistent messages. Ensure your direct mail campaigns feel like your social, digital, and email campaigns for the best performance.

In Conclusion

As you think about expanding your marketing mix, consider the new Digital To Direct Mail channel and Programmatic Direct Mail®. PebblePost invented PDM to offer marketers a seamless way to integrate real-time online intent data with impactful direct mail.

Talk to our team directly to learn more about Programmatic Direct Mail from PebblePost and how it can complement your marketing efforts. Sign up or reach out at hello@pebblepost.com.

Free Guide:
PebblePost's Guide to Programmatic Direct Mail

Download our short guide and learn the who, what, why, and how of Programmatic Direct Mail.
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