This article compares the functionality of Who’s Mailing What! with Competiscan. A previous article compares Who’s Mailing What! with Comperemedia. These are the three competitive intelligence platforms on the market with a focus on direct mail marketing. Designed with the intent of providing advertising campaign insights, all of these products have similarities. There are, however, some significant differences between them and we will attempt to outline these with the goal of identifying which product provides a better value for each capability.
Who’s Mailing What!
Who’s Mailing What! is the largest and longest-running collection of direct mail advertisement scans, enriched with mailer profiles and key decision-maker contacts. The Who’s Mailing What! collection spans more than 30 years, and contains over 120,000 campaign histories, complete with searchable images.
Who’s Mailing What! gathers data using information from a large sampling of direct mail marketing campaigns. Panels of recipients include both consumers and business owners, from a wide range of demographic groups, including varied gender, ethnicity, location, and consumer type. Patterns are identified using two different groups. The first panel is a static collection of mail recipients, whose makeup remains consistent and can provide longitudinal data sampling and help identify patterns in direct mail campaigns. The second panel is a rotating group so as to be able to identify new marketing campaigns that may not necessarily reach the first group.
WMW! provides access to a customizable dashboard, where you can organize various searches, marketing controls, industry trends, and a wide range of articles providing in-depth analysis of current trends for effective direct mail marketing.
Searches can be performed on several key criteria, such as company, industry sector, and mailpiece format. You can narrow searches to campaigns that have been identified as controls (repeated campaigns), and grand controls (repeated campaigns over several years). You have the ability to view the full content of each campaign, including all components, ranging from envelope type to full-color postcards of various sizes.
Competiscan was designed to provide data-driven analysis for direct marketing.
Like WMW!, Competiscan uses panelists who contribute the advertising messaging they receive. Their panels are made up of consumers who help track longitudinal data with direct mail marketing campaigns as well as other marketing channels. They also make use of business-owner panels.
Direct mail and email marketing data come from the same panelists. They also use a subset of consumers who have installed an application to help track digital marketing efforts.
The creatives are displayed in a story format; it is possible to get a clear picture of what mail pieces are being mailed to which panelists; one can track longitudinally what different mailings are being sent from the same company to the same people.
Other Marketing Channels
Who’s Mailing What!, Competiscan competitor, is designed specifically for tracking Direct Mail. While there is an archive of email campaigns, the vast majority of the materials included are from physical mailing campaigns.
Competiscan, on the other hand, is more focused on omnichannel marketing, wherein they try to draw a picture of full integrated campaigns engaged in by marketers. Beyond Direct Mail, Competiscan provides analysis of several other marketing channels. These include:
Which product is better depends on whether you intend to analyze a wide range of marketing activities beyond direct mail. If you are interested in monitoring varied marketing channels within the more limited vertical markets covered by Competiscan, and if you have the budget for the additional channel coverage they offer, you will benefit from Competiscan’s offering. However, if your primary goal is to focus on direct mail, with the broadest coverage of industries, WMW! is more singularly focused on this market at a markedly lower cost.
Competiscan will not release data on how many scans they capture on an ongoing basis.
In contrast, WMW! openly provides this information. WMW! identifies around 250 new advertisers per week and tracks campaigns from more than 20,000 direct mail advertisers. WMW! captures up to 10,000 scans per month from these marketers. After duplicates are accounted for, WMW! ends up with more than 12,000 unique new campaigns added to the collection per quarter.
The data from WMW! is impressive. Why is Competiscan unwilling to share their numbers?
WMW! allows you to search by keyword, name of marketer or brand, and provides functionality to filter by panelist location, format type, controls, and business model. WMW! also offers the ability to find small, medium, and large mailers, as well as all mailers using the same production facility as other marketers.
Similarly, Competiscan provides a wide range of searchable criteria. You can search by company or market sector and have the option of narrowing by mailing type. You can sort by direct mail delivery method, either as mailers or as inserts. You can also sort by package type (e.g., postcard, envelope, etc.).
Competiscan includes the ability to sort and search materials by marketing style. These are divided into categories such as adverse action, bonuses, COVID-related, change in terms or requirements, and more.
Both products provide excellent search criteria. The marketing style information that Competiscan provides is unique. In WMW!, keyword searches can be used to find the same type of information, as well as interesting details such as all campaigns using business reply cards.
Both WMW! and Competiscan provide full-text searching and various unique classifications.
B2B and B2C Coverage
While the vast majority of their panelists are consumers, both WMW! and Competiscan capture B2B campaigns as well.
While Competiscan doesn’t identify agencies at all, WMW! provides a database of agencies and also provides access to key direct mail professional contacts at agencies.
WMW! provides access to agencies, and Competiscan does not include this data as part of its service, so WMW! is the clear choice here.
Access to Contacts
As part of its Sales Lead membership upgrade, WMW! provides detailed information about contacts at many of the 20,000+ organizations that do direct mail marketing, including phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts. Especially interesting to business development professionals is the WMW! proprietary DMPRO database of direct mail marketing decision-makers. As an added bonus, the WMW! algorithm identifies which executives at these direct mail marketing organizations are most likely to respond to communication through social media channels.
Competiscan does not provide contact access as part of its service.
WMW!’s rich contact tracking tools make it a clear choice for those who wish to use it as a sales-generation platform. To be able to access contacts using Competiscan, you would need to make use of a third-party tool; the functionality does not exist within their platform.
Competiscan provides email alerts based on user-set triggers. Similarly, WMW! provides a similar service, and access to notifications is included within most of its service plans.
Both companies provide detailed triggers for generating reports.
Between the two companies, this is a tie; you can create notifications for a wide range of events under both products.
Competiscan provides access limited by the channel or vertical you have purchased and where they have coverage, for example, financial services.
WMW! provides different levels of membership plans. With the low-cost Essential Pro plan, you have access to 100 campaigns per month, however, if you need more, you can increase your membership commitment to access additional campaigns. An Enterprise level membership provides unlimited access across all industries.
WMW! offers savings of 60-70% based on limits tailored to your needs. Both vendors offer unlimited plans for large-scale users.
Performance of Campaigns
While it is always difficult to determine how successful an exact campaign was, there are a few criteria that may be used to be narrow in on the best performing campaigns. For example, companies are more likely to repeat strategies that have worked in the past.
Within Competiscan, you can see data of the number of pieces that were mailed and when they were received. You can also see a number of data points at the campaign level, including methods for tracking control packages and through the story analysis, you can see whether or not creatives have changed.
WMW! has built the control and grand control analysis directly into the search algorithms. You can identify which particular pieces are repetitions of prior campaigns. WMW! generates a proprietary Performance Score, which ranks campaigns based on the likelihood a campaign is successful. At the enterprise level of membership, WMW! provides access to a team of AI-trained data analysts who can help extract various trends in what works and does not work for direct mail marketing campaigns.
Both companies provide good access to information about controls, however, the AI tools built into WMW! give an edge for identifying the success of campaigns.
Other Data (number of pieces mailed, where received, etc.)
Competiscan has an algorithm which estimates the number of pieces that have been mailed in a campaign. Both vendors have additional data points, including demographic data about who has received the email. Both WMW! and Competiscan have the ability to do “mailbox studies” which can show longitudinal experience for individual customers. These can help create a story by identifying trends in marketing mailers received by an individual recipient on the panel.
WMW! categorizes mailers into small, medium, and large mailings. It is also possible to sort mail by locations where it was received.
Most users will be satisfied with WMW!’s offerings. If you have a budget for more granular information about mailings, you may be able to get some more details from Competiscan.
Competiscan offers direct communication to talent (inside staff), to create custom reports, such as the ability to show changes over time and to see changes in campaigns. It is relatively easy to identify the top direct mail companies sending out the most direct mail. They also provide quarterly trend reports regarding each industry.
WMW! offers a similar custom report capability for Enterprise level memberships, leveraging the latest machine learning tools. WMW!, through the use of its Performance Score, enables you to easily predict which campaigns are most successful WMW! maintains proprietary algorithms allowing you to examine industry-level controls, grand controls, and Performa controls. The WMW! Performance Score identifies patterns in successful campaigns using similar structures and messaging.
Both companies provide quality insight. However, the proprietary AI algorithms used by WMW! give us an upper hand in being able to spot systematic patterns used in the most successful campaigns.
Competiscan Pricing vs. WMW!
Competiscan’s pricing comes in between $9000 (for single verticals) up to about $50k/year.
In comparison, WMW! offers plans for as little as $999/year for single categories, and the investment tops out at $14,900 for the highest level unlimited access membership. WMW! offers an online pricing calculator here to get an exact quote.
While you get a number of valuable resources from Competiscan, WMW!’s pricing model is more approachable for many companies, especially those focused on direct mail advertising. The products are nearly equal on many criteria, and with the added benefit of being able to identify decision-makers via the WMW! platform, WMW! comes across as the easier choice especially if you sell services to direct mail marketers. When comparing the two options, it is also important to check coverage for industries of interest to you. The WMW! collection covers all industry categories of direct mail marketers sending solo mail campaigns.
Competiscan is a good choice when focusing on omnichannel marketing. In this regard, Competiscan competes with Comperemedia. They do have direct mail coverage, however, this is integrated with other marketing channels. Their goal is to gain a big picture of an individual company’s marketing strategy.
WMW! enables you to focus specifically on direct mail marketing campaigns at a cost-efficient investment level. Additionally, WMW! enables service providers to make use of contact resources for the purpose of growing sales. WMW! combines highly focused direct mail competitive intelligence tools together with sales lead access, and at a relatively low cost, particularly in comparison with WMW! competition.