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Vol. 28 • No. 2 • february 2015 The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations
❱ 4
❱ February 2015
By Nick So and Mike Cowan
oday more than ever, ...
//7 ❰February 2015
different personal stories from across
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Direct Marketing Magazine Article

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Direct Marketing Magazine Article

  1. 1. Vol. 28 • No. 2 • february 2015 The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations PM40050803 ❱ 4 Special Report: Creating the perfect DM package ❱ 11 Dimensional Mail Supplement ❱ 19 Contact Management Ready…Fire! Oh Canada, did we forget to Aim? ❱ 8 Jennifero’Neill eTail Canada 2015 Media Partner Show Issue MAY 2015 To advertise in this issue contact Mark Henry,
  2. 2. ❱ February 2015 //6SPECIAL REPORT CREATING THE PERFECT DM PACKAGE By Nick So and Mike Cowan T oday more than ever, your customers are constantly bombarded with marketing messages. In the constant battle for attention, you can no longer simply rely on good creative to stand out from your competitors. When your piece finally does get your customer’s attention, it better be relevant and engaging on all levels in order to get them to respond. A recent direct mail campaign we at Kirk Marketing did with the University of British Columbia Development and Alumni Engagement department, themed around CHANGE, exemplifies successful execution in best-response direct mail. Using this campaign as an example lets look at what they did to achieve successful response. 1. The objective Keep your objective simple and limit it to just a single one, so the entire campaign development team is dedicated to one goal. Better yet, quantify the objectives so there is something tangible for you all to strive for: e.g. ‘Achieve a 15% response rate for the CHANGE annual alumni appeal by communicating a clear message of need by X date.’ While other objectives such as “build brand image”, “showcase our latest products/services” may come up while developing the brief, it’s important to recognize that these should be supporting objectives that aid the single primary objective. If it does not directly support the primary objective, it should not be included in the brief because you’ll add confusion, which will reduce response. 2. The list As much as cleaning your database may seem an unnecessary cost, approximately 15 to 20 percent of Canadian households change addresses each year. If you don’t clean your database, you could be wasting one-fifth of your potential responses even before you get started. Alternatively, if you do clean your database before you mail, it just might be the easiest lift in ROI you might ever achieve. 3. The recipients If you profile and segment your prospects, you give your campaign development team insight and direction to decide the most relevant and engaging messages to increase response. Even just basic demographics like gender and age can guide the messaging to get a better response. And, if you know more about your customers like their interests or purchasing history, then you’ll be able to write even more personalized messages that will get you even greater response. With the UBC alumni appeal, the Development and Alumni Engagement department decided to segment their list based on the faculty the recipient graduated from – such as arts, or sciences, or business – so that they could write messages that spoke to each graduate. Doing this, they were able to create copy and creative that made the package truly memorable and relevant to the recipients. 4. The copy Copy in poor performing direct mail campaigns usually talk about a brand’s features or organization’s benefits which, to be honest, most people aren’t interested in hearing about. What they really want is the classic WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?” Also, poor performing direct mail campaign usually have too much copy, which usually occurs when the brief has more than one primary objective. This will dilute the message, reduce the readability, and lessen response. With effective segmentation as in step 3, you will be able to develop your message with copy that speaks more personally to the recipient, and answer their question: “What’s in it for me?” The UBC alumni appeal featured variable copy that was highly personalized and targeted, by having the heads of each faculty and department contribute their own ‘CHANGE’ story. This allowed the copywriter to communicate the broad theme of ‘CHANGE,’ while leaving opportunity to showcase the many to best response direct mail 7 steps
  3. 3. //7 ❰February 2015 SPECIAL REPORT CREATING THE PERFECT DM PACKAGE different personal stories from across faculties, resulting in a total of over thirty copy variations of the letter. 5. The design and imagery When Canadians get their mail and sort it, they glance at each piece an average of 7 seconds. In these 7 seconds, they are looking to find something that has meaning to them personally. Poor performing direct mail packages often include design and visual imagery that is relevant to the brand and not the customer or recipient. The UBC alumni appeal not only featured variable copy, but also ‘old’ and ‘new’ photographs of specific faculty buildings, classes, professors, and students, that varied from segment to segment and further supported the CHANGE message. By doing this, they increase relevance and also response. 6. The physical The physicality of direct mail makes it more engaging than any other channel. However, this can only benefit you if you give it the same thought and attention as the rest of the piece you are developing. Everything from the paper stock, ink, coverage, dimensions, and weight should be given some level of consideration. The reason for this is because not only do each of these elements reflect the quality of your brand, but also the credibility of your message. The creative team at UBC certainly gave the physical elements of the package a lot of thought. The letter featured a complex die-cut ‘CHANGE’ text that allowed the variable imagery to show through when folded. This was presented through a unique envelope featuring a large showcase window that allowed the entire creative to be seen within the sealed envelope. This means that if you too, like UBC, want to create a campaign that generates response, you will have to think about your envelope. Do you want an envelope with a window or without a window? If you do want a window, how much do you want to show? Will there be a message printed on the front? Will you use custom postage indicia? The physical design should also be considered on a mail induction level as well. A fraction of a centimeter in size or thickness can make a large difference in your postage costs if it gets bumped up to the ‘oversize’ tier. However, would the extra postage cost be worth it to you if the piece stands out more to your customer by being larger than the rest of the mail? With all these questions that you need to answer to create a campaign that gets response, it’s ironic that this is the step that often marketers pay the least attention to. 7. Testing and repeat What worked today might not work tomorrow. Continually testing different, but still relevant campaigns, against campaigns you found to work in the past will ensure you are continually improving your responses. You test what you are mailing and you mail prospects more than once. For example, if you went with a non-windowed envelope on the first mailing, perhaps try a windowed envelope on the next mailing. Or perhaps do an A/B test and send both versions to see the results. The variations and testing possibilities are endless, and each test will provide you with great insight to further strengthen the effectiveness of your direct mail program. What worked yesterday, with a few tweaks today, will be more successful for you tomorrow. As an added bonus, you will capture responses from customers who may not have been ready to take action on the first mailing. If you only sent it to them once, they may forget about you or forget to take action at all when they are ready to do so. That’s why it’s important to mail more than once. In conclusion, although logistically complex, the UBC alumni appeal campaign successfully achieved its key objective. It got great response because they followed steps above to get the direct mail response they were looking for. The campaign managed to solicit over 15,000 alumni over 32 departments and they achieved a 19% response rate, 4% above their initial target. Vancouver-based Kirk Marketing provides expert direct mail strategy, data management, database marketing, digital variable and offset printing, letter shop and fulfillment services. As Western Canada’s most respected direct marketing services provider for over 60 years, Kirk Marketing helps clients reach prospects, grow customers, and deliver measurable results. Check us out online For online editorial opportunities contact Amy Bostock, For online advertising opportunities contact Mark Henry,