The following Q&A was posted in BizReport on February 15, 2016. Click here to see the original article.

When most of us think direct mail, we think of those postcards sent out to residents of a school district or city. But there is a new kind of direct—programmatic direct—that may change direct mail's stats.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What is Programmatic Direct Mail, and how did PebblePost come up with the term?

Lewis Gersh, CEO & Founder, PebblePost: PebblePost™ invented Programmatic Direct Mail to dynamically transform online activity into personalized mail sent that day, applying real time analytics to optimize messages and creative. Programmatic Direct Mail allows marketers to deliver your message to your customer's home mailbox when they are actively interested. When you say "Programmatic Direct Mail" the term explains everything a marketer needs to know. Programmatic gets them in a digital and automated mind set, and Direct Mail gets them thinking about their most effective marketing channel after TV. The combination of the two is so powerful it rarely needs more explanation.

Kristina: Why does Programmatic Direct Mail close the deal better than digital advertising?

Lewis: Digital media is a high volume, and today a highly cluttered environment (when ad blocking is not turned on). The reason why Programmatic Direct Mail is so good at converting customers is that a) it's in a less crowded environment - the home mailbox, b) its relevant because its delivered in 3 days from an online visit based on data from that visit, and c) it is a high quality piece of mail from a brand with which the customer is already familiar. Of course, it does not explicitly reference that visit, but our customers see the value in reinforcing the interest that was displayed by product or category type as well as their brand.

Kristina: What tips do you have for marketers to help move customers along the sales funnel, and complete their transactions?

Lewis: Make it easy to buy - add incentives to the products. With a great-looking image and a discount coupon (and let's face it, many folks prefer a discount), the incentive to buy is right in front of the buyer -- i.e., consumer who has expressed user-driven segmentation and intent. They can enter the special code they've received and make the purchase.
• Identify the window shoppers - Using tags on your site, you can flag visitors that come and go without transacting or identify those opportunities to upsell. They're the ones who are unsure if they are getting the right price for the product, or if they truly want the product, kicking off repeat visits to the site.

Kristina: How can retailers capture customers that come to their site, think they found the right gift, but don't "close the deal"?

Lewis: The intent to buy comes from the visitor to the site who looks at a number of different products, but doesn't hit the "Buy" button out of concern that the gift is "not quite right," a work email or phone call causes a distraction, or something else needs attention. For customers that aren't ready to hit the buy button, retailers can use Programmatic Direct Mail to test which offers work best. They can determine which segment - maybe those who look at shirts vs. pants - a test offers ranging from free shipping to percent discounts to see which follow up message drives the most return visits and conversions. Because we can optimize and change creative on the fly, when something is deemed to be working the marketer can see that and focus on the success.

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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