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Meet the Mailers: Combining Direct Mail & Digital

In this episode, I talked with DirectMail2.0’s Brad Kugler, CEO/Co-Founder, and Morgan DiGiorgio, VP of Channel Sales about how today’s direct mail represents an alternative to marketing through only a single channel.

In this episode, I talked with DirectMail2.0’s Brad Kugler, CEO/Co-Founder, and Morgan DiGiorgio, VP Channel Sales. DirectMail2.0 helps marketers track the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns while enhancing results through the integration of digital platforms.

Our talk covered how today’s direct mail represents an alternative to marketing through only a single channel.

Brad Kugler noted that the company’s cutting edge technology increases the effectiveness of the clients’ marketing:

We take typical ink on paper direct mail campaigns and through adding 7-11 different pieces of digital technology, we raise the response rate on average at 23-46%.

Brad Kugler CEO/Co-Founder
DirectMail2.0

Some of the other topics we covered:

  • A key factor that makes marketing work well [hint: there’s a clue in this article]
  • How the company achieves high response rates for its clients
  • The best post office innovation since the Pony Express
  • Simple ways to reduce the costs of your marketing efforts
  • Direct mail trends for 2022

Here are some questions and answers (edited for clarity and space):

  • Why don’t we go a little bit more into detail about DirectMail2.0, and what types of services the company offers to printers and marketers?

BRAD: [T]he basic unique selling proposition of what we deliver here is we take typical ink on paper direct mail campaigns and through adding 7-11 different pieces of digital technology, we raise the response rate on average at 23-46%. So that’s not the response rate. And I’ll clarify that for some people as if you’re getting a 2-3% response rate on your direct mail and you come to our company and add our services, you would expect to get a 3-5% response rate. And that’s what we’ve seen pretty much on a 1-for-1 basis, other than some outliers do better. Some do worse. That’s what we’ve been seeing for the last four or five years here. This product works and it’s beyond a pilot or an idea at this point, we can prove this day in and day out.

MORGAN: So for our partners, it’s really offering them a competitive advantage. It’s something that they’re doing differently above and beyond just selling direct mail. And as an ancillary by-product, they’re passing along a lot of that value to their clients, they’re creating additional revenue streams for themselves. And it’s a really big value add, not just for our partners or the printers, but for clients.

  • You’ve stated on the DirectMail2.0 website that “It is a well-known fact that most sales take place after the 8th to the 12th interaction”. What kinds of things should marketers do well to get that sale, and if possible, even before that 8th impression?

BRAD: I mean, obviously, I’d like to make a sale the first time I ever meet somebody…but again, repetition. [W]e’ve all heard the statement. “What I tell you three times, you’ll believe” right? So it’s the same thing with marketing and sales. You keep repeating that message. The person becomes more familiar with it. It doesn’t prevent earlier engagements or earlier conversions, but that’s when most of them occur by serving and, you know, the beauty in what the product we offer is we typically see what 8-16 impressions with that we add to a single mailing case. So that’s our target is to get to that 8-16. Because it brings up the likelihood of conversion by a factor of 23 to 46%.

MORGAN: The whole focal point and value prop for the product is to get the direct mail recipient in those contact margins where that conversion is taking place and providing that for just a few pennies per piece, where if you look at, “Hey, what’s the value of one client to you, Mr. Customer?” Usually, that nominal increase in marketing spend is going to pay for the return that you’re getting in the increase of response to your direct mail.

[T]here’s a lot of things that they can do to increase the likelihood of getting a response sooner: Have a good web presence, SEO, do really well at content marketing or positioning yourself as a resource in your industry instead of just sell, sell, sell, sell. [I]t is all about that repetition and keeping that cyclical messaging, good branding…The more you can get in front of them, the better your opportunity to create that serendipitous moment when they’re ready to convert, cash in hand, and your messaging is in front of them.

  • Mailers had 2 postage increases in 2021 and more on the horizon. What are some good ways for them to keep costs under control from your POV?

MORGAN: Well, I think it’s all about educating our clients on the value of what they’re receiving for these costs. There’s a huge misconception out there that the direct mail marketing channel is more expensive than other channels.

[I]f you actually look at response rates of all digital channels and direct mail and actually, direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined. You have to do exponentially more digital to achieve the same response as you would with the direct mail marketing channel. So it’s not really more expensive.

So there’s always going to be an increase in cost, but if you look into digital, costs per CPMs are increasing while results are decreasing for digital as well. It’s not necessarily direct mail vs. digital anymore. I think that we’re all really moving and shifting towards omnichannel where you really should be utilizing the perfect marriage of direct mail and digital in your marketing solution.

If you’re starting with direct mail, it should be following up with digital. You’re starting with digital, you should be following up with direct mail. They all play their part. They all have their value. It’s just about utilizing them in the right way to the right audience to get that effect.

  • What does a future without cookies look like? How can you address these changes with your clients?

BRAD: This question comes up all the time. I’m not saying that cookies are going away, but there is technology in place that will replace that. It’s not a big deal. I mean, there is cohort marketing where they’re replacing cookies with sort of a, all right, well, this is the type of person that we’ve seen on your website, and this is what they look like. So they give you a target audience. So it may not be the exact guy, but that cohort that they give you will include that guy and 20 others exactly like him.

I don’t see it going away completely and there will be substitutes. This is a huge revenue generator for the social media networks and Google and the like, they are not going to walk away from this money.

  • What is the best value proposition for direct mail … why does it still work so well today?

MORGAN: Direct mail is a tangible piece. So when Brad was saying do something different, show up in somebody’s mailbox … I go into my email inbox in the morning and go delete, delete, delete, delete. I couldn’t tell you what one of those emails was about, I didn’t read it, but when I go through my direct mail or my mail, I look at every single piece, even before I throw it in the trash can, I’m going to look at it.
And if I were to see an ad later, or you were to call me to ask me about it, I am most likely going to recall or get that imagery or that impression with direct mail. So it’s that tangible channel. It’s one of the most trustworthy forms of communication.

And it actually works well with all demographics, right?

Even millennials, which there’s a huge misconception that the younger demographic doesn’t respond well to mail, but they do. So there’s a ton of value prop out there for direct mail. It’s just about educating our clients and letting them know.

Here is our conversation. We’ve added timecodes for your convenience.

Thanks again, Brad and Morgan, for an interesting and informative chat! To learn more about DirectMail2.0, visit DirectMail2.com.

Your comments and ideas are very important to us in making your Who’s Mailing What! experience even better for you. Through these engaging and informative talks, we hope you’ll take away practical tips, insights, and stories to inspire and build your own success.

If you have any feedback — or are interested in sharing your expertise with our wide and diverse audience — please reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!

Direct Mail Evangelist

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