If there’s such a thing as nirvana for PebblePost, it would look a lot like this year’s &Then conference in Las Vegas. 80% of the conference focused on the fusion of big data to solve two key issues for marketers: higher performance and more accurate attribution and conversion validation.
That fusion is the whole point of our Programmatic Direct Mail®.
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Other than the agenda of the panel we were on, PebblePost had no advanced knowledge that the conference would place such heavy emphasis on the blending of performance and conversion. Still, we can’t say it was a surprise. PebblePost is uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership in this area because of the way we connect the digital and physical worlds. And we’re happy to share what we’ve learned as the creators of one of the first hybrid online and offline marketing products.
The signs that the rest of the industry is finally catching on are here, most notably with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)’s acquisition of the Data & Marketing Association (DMA, formerly the Direct Marketing Association) last spring. This signaled a growing awareness across the industry that true omnichannel marketing requires higher levels of attribution — and accountability. It’s not about pushing out vast amounts of digital ad spend and blindly hoping for results. That old approach is backward.
The new approach is about measuring results based on conversions and adjusting spend accordingly. It’s about carbureting all that data to maximize impact and achieve specific goals, whether it’s direct response or branding or something else.
And it’s about time.
Gaining traction: Where the rubber meets the road
The irony of rebranding the DMA is that its former identity, as the Direct Marketing Association, actually describes its greatest source of strength. In traditional direct marketing, the most important thing is the list. How relevant is the list? How targeted? Marketers test not only various attributes of the list itself, but also the creative collateral elements and calls to action, and then put all of that together to fine-tune the campaign. As I’ve said before, it’s all about regression, regression, regression.
So the rebranded DMA really is about data and marketing. It represents a true omnichannel approach, where you can track the campaign on purchase channels and regression analysis off conversions.
Take Programmatic Direct Mail®, for example. We use online intent signals to generate a piece of direct mail that is relevant and respectful, many with a call to action. And shoppers can respond on desktop web, mobile web, in-app, mail order, telephone order or in a physical location.
You really don’t find that in digital alone. That’s why the promise of omnichannel held such appeal in the first place.
The circle is coming around
As I’ve said before, a lot of marketers initially misinterpreted what omnichannel meant. Five to 10 years ago, omnichannel amounted to, at best, some kind of dashboard where you could look at the different channels of spend in one place. And you could maybe see some of the conversions by different places. But very little of that purchase was cohesively integrated. So a lot of marketers soured on omnichannel.
They shouldn’t have. With some refinements in the process, as well as recalibrated expectations, marketers are starting to develop true cross-analytic dashboards. And they’re able to use data science and algorithms to try to get a sense for what’s impacting what where. And that was the dominant theme of &Then 2018.
Now you know why &Then 2018 was nirvana for us. We’ve been figuring out the fusion of big data and omnichannel for our own products for a while now because we’ve had to. We’ve had some very eye-opening perspectives on how and why Programmatic Direct Mail® is so powerful and why it overperforms to the degree that it does.
We’re on a remarkable journey with our brand partners — including Laura Hymes, Marketing Director at Founders Entertainment, who joined us onstage to talk about the incredible success Programmatic Direct Mail produced for the Governors Ball Music Festival. We delivered 10.5X incremental return on ad spend by driving ticket sales through direct mail pieces targeting eager millennials.
How’s that for higher accountability in an omnichannel world?
As an &Then panelist, it was very gratifying to share our insights with the industry. Our room was SRO, with people lined up out the door. The questions were all spot on, from all walks of the industry. Attendees were eager to hear that in fusing big data with the measurement methodologies in direct mail, we’ve actually come up with a new channel that leverages all the best practices and learnings of the prior two. And from what we’ve seen it can be much more powerful than either one alone.