Traditional direct mail campaigns can be generic and may not individually resonate with potential customers, resulting in low engagement and response rates.
Many marketers experience the dilemma of direct mail vs email marketing when facing lower ROI from direct mail campaigns. However, there are times when the best way to engage with a particular audience is through a direct mail strategy.
This channel offers unique characteristics you’ll learn in this article.
To boost response rates in direct mail marketing, brands should focus on improving content quality and relevance with personalized messaging, segmentation, and measurable, scalable digital interactions.
As you’ll learn in this article, personalized videos offer a unique opportunity to do this.
However, most marketers don’t do this. They miss out on the opportunity creative direct mail marketing brings when combined with digital content, so they get below-average conversions.
To show the impact of these aspects in your direct mail marketing with a real-life case study, keep reading. You’ll learn how an automotive company boosted its response rates by 500% with a combo of personalized video marketing and direct mail.
You’ll also learn the process they followed to successfully launch a direct mail campaign powered by personalized videos.
Why direct mail marketing is still effective
Direct mail marketing is still effective because it offers a tangible and personalized experience that can’t be replicated by digital channels alone.
This is directly related to one of the dimensions of the customer experience (CX): sensory appeal. With physical mail, your target audience can see, touch, smell, and hear what they get in their mailbox.
The only type of content that gathers some of these characteristics is video. This is one of the reasons why the majority of marketers use video. In fact, this is why 78% of marketers say it helps them increase sales.
Additionally, if you have done your segmentation homework, direct mail allows for precise targeting, customization, and personalization. This leads to higher response rates and ROI.
As digital channels become increasingly crowded, direct mail stands out as a unique and effective way to reach and engage with potential customers.
Direct marketing statistics
To better understand the importance of direct mail in marketing, let me now focus on the numbers.
Direct mail marketing spending was expected to reach 43.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. This is a 3.5% increase from the previous year.
According to Forbes, 90% of direct mail is opened, while the best email campaigns struggle to reach a 20-30% open rate.
The Data & Marketing Association estimates that the average direct mail response rate is 4.4%, while the response rate for email is 0.12%.
Email marketing can be more appealing if you have a wide audience, depend on digital funnels, or have a limited budget.
For instance, from an ROI perspective, direct mail brings in approximately $7 per dollar spent, while email marketing generates $38 for every dollar invested.
The main reason for this is that email marketing is cheaper than direct mail. Another reason is that email marketing makes it extremely easy to follow up and instantly track interactions.
But, there is a big opportunity to innovate and be creative in direct mail marketing. Just as reported by Accenture, 32% of companies see tangible value from data.
Companies with quality mailing databases, mid to high-priced products, and segmented audiences may experience better response rates and ROI with direct mail marketing compared to email marketing.
As you can see, these are some solid reasons why direct marketing is still effective. However, due to the logistics and budget, many modern marketers prefer other digital channels like email.
If the characteristics I’ve mentioned hold true for you, there’s actually a more effective method of conducting direct mail marketing.
Let’s cover how and why with a real-life case study in the car industry. This study shows how your team can boost direct mail marketing response rates and ROI with personalized video content at scale.
Case Study: Fighting against low response rates with creative direct mail marketing
The CRM manager of a renowned auto brand in Europe wanted to connect with a targeted email list. To make it happen, he knew that they needed a creative direct mail marketing approach. This could help them get higher response rates.
Without any previous digital interaction with the brand, it was not feasible to interact with the audience in real time, monitor their engagement, or execute email marketing campaigns in a cost-efficient manner.
As a result, they were missing out on a big brand engagement and revenue opportunity through targeted marketing and sales initiatives.
This is why getting higher performance from the mailing database was a priority for the brand’s CRM manager.
They wanted to enhance their communication with potential customers through an innovative and creative direct mail piece and improve ROI.
But how could they get a higher response rate when it’s hard to stand out from the competition with a direct mail campaign?
Yes, studies show that the majority of recipients see the mail pieces, but how could they prompt them to act?
Just to compare, remember that the typical response rate for direct mail campaigns, either for B2B or B2C, is roughly 4.4%.
But, can it be higher? How?
Let’s see some of the challenges they faced. These challenges are common to marketing professionals when crafting direct mail marketing strategies.
The Top Five Challenges of Crafting a Powerful Direct Mail Campaign
Direct mail marketing presents challenges that any marketing team should overcome to succeed in its strategy.
- Data management: To reduce the risk of returned or misplaced mailings, they had to verify and maintain an accurate mailing list.
- Printing and Mailing: Printing and mailing thousands of pieces of mail can be a time-consuming and expensive process. For instance, you might face problems like printing errors, quality control issues, or delivery delays that could impact the campaign deadlines.
- Targeting the Right Audience: It takes time and effort to create a mailing list that is targeted and relevant to your campaign.
- Personalization: Personalization requires marketing teams to segment the mailing list based on specific criteria. It also requires creating data-driven content that is highly relevant.
- Tracking and Measuring: Unlike digital marketing, tracking and measuring the success of a direct mail campaign can be difficult. Thus, this brand needed a system to track responses, such as using a QR, a lead generation landing page, or video analytics.
As you can see, digital marketers also experience most of these challenges.
However, launching and iterating based on real-time results is easier through digital channels. It is also easier to provide a more compelling and personalized experience to potential customers.
As a matter of fact, according to ActiveCampaign, 94% of companies convert more leads into customers with automation.
The car company wanted to gather more customer data to improve future interactions, and engagement, and prevent revenue loss from ineffective mail ads.
Getting the direct mail campaign right comes down to getting the recipients engaged quickly and prompting them to act without delay.
In my experience, this translates into having the right segmentation in place, creating relevant content from a recipient’s perspective, and using a clear call-to-action (CTA).
Even better, if you had information about your target audience thanks to previous interactions, you can also use micro-segmentation.
Watch the following video to learn more about micro-segmentation in marketing.
Let me show you how this brand created relevant content and encouraged users to participate, resulting in a quick and effective response rate.
Personalized video marketing: An effective tool to grab contacts’ attention in direct mail marketing
The automotive company realized that utilizing personalized video marketing was an effective approach to differentiate itself from competitors and prompt contacts to act.
A personalized video is a video automatically created with customer data such as the recipient’s name, location, or product of interest. This is why this type of video is often called data-driven video.
Its effectiveness has made it of one the main video marketing trends, along with AI video and interactive videos.
Here you have an example of a personalized video:
Before you ask…
There is no need to create these videos manually. With a specialized personalized video platform, you can automatically create data-driven videos at scale.
The most advanced personalized video software doesn’t limit their game to text personalization. They also use dynamic video clips, images, and voice-overs.
I’ll explain more about this later.
But why do companies create personalized videos in the first place?
For the same reason this CRM manager had in mind.
One of the main goals behind data-driven videos is to deliver a more engaging and targeted message through the type of content we all love—video.
With personalized videos, the CRM manager for the car brand realized that they could deliver targeted video messages to their audience at scale.
Their goal was to increase campaign conversion rates and drive lasting engagement.
This would help them build a stronger connection with their audience. As a result, the audience would feel valued, leading to increased customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
This is why the majority of companies with better customer experience than their competitors have better financial performance.
Defining a workflow and a deadline to launch on time
After deciding to personalize videos for their contacts, they needed to define a suitable workflow to fit the campaign’s timeline.
They needed to produce numerous data-based videos targeting their customers, include customized URLs for individual recipients in direct mail, and guarantee prompt delivery.
They also wanted to use the landing pages with dynamic content provided by their existing CRM and marketing automation software. Yet, it didn’t take them long to notice that the CRM had certain limitations when embedding video content.
Providing their own branded video for mass personalization
Similarly to direct mail, personalized videos are created from templates. To adhere to brand guidelines, the CRM manager decided that the brand should provide its own video for the template for mass personalization.
Below you’ll find an example of a direct mail piece with a personalized video. In this example, I’m using a QR to access the personalized landing page right away.
By working with a local agency, they wanted to accelerate the production of the base video, making sure that all aspects met their brand requirements.
They also wanted to increase the effectiveness of the campaign, so they hired an influencer as the face of the campaign.
They needed a fast personalized video platform that could help them use their own content without incurring additional production expenses.
The platform needed to handle bulk video creation at speed to commit to the campaign’s timeline.
Finding personalized video software and service that fits their goals
They had to quickly implement video personalization into their direct mail marketing strategy. However, finding a personalized video platform that met their specific needs was a significant hurdle for the automotive company.
Many marketers struggle to adopt video personalization due to the limited or complex software options available on the market, especially for those who aren’t video experts.
But there is more to that.
Some vendors might obligate you to utilize their video production services or collaborate only with high-volume customers. Others will not offer the type of legal compliance or infrastructure global brands need to succeed.
Marketing teams are often looking for a reliable solution they can manage and a team that walks with them to help them succeed and deliver a campaign on time.
I made an infographic that visually explains the difference between personalized video platforms when it comes to marketing teams that are just starting with personalized video marketing.
This is especially true for teams that are just starting with video personalization.
This is where Pirsonal’s flexible personalized video platform and professional services came in.
Pirsonal tailored a solution to make engaging and personalized video messages for the mailing database at scale according to their needs.
The platform and services were tailored to their needs, not the other way around.
Custom dynamic video template
Pirsonal’s service team created a video template for the CRM manager to save time, allowing their agency to focus on branded video production.
The following image shows a personalized video template works:
To make this happen, all the CRM manager had to do was provide the background video they wanted to personalize at scale. Then, Pirsonal’s professional services team took care of the rest.
Although Pirsonal’s personalized video platform also supports audio, video, and image personalization, the majority of customers choose to start with text personalization in their videos.
This is what this company did.
Their video showed the name of the contact and other relevant information in text format.
Creating videos from an XLS
To fasten the creation of personalized video content securely, they used a spreadsheet with customer data to create data-driven videos from a spreadsheet.
They included a unique ID for each contact in the spreadsheet to link each video with the right recipient.
Using a spreadsheet was convenient because it was the type of document they already used in their direct mail marketing workflow.
Just like when you create a direct mail campaign by providing your own data, with personalized video marketing you can also provide your own data in any format, including a spreadsheet.
The following image shows the process to create videos from a spreadsheet and then sending the videos to the target audience.
The CRM manager asked Pirsonal to create videos with the given XLS, as we provide both self-service software and done-for-you services.
This freed him up to focus on other important aspects of the marketing efforts.
Fast video rendering at scale
With a tight deadline to launch the direct mail campaign, the CRM manager needed the videos to be ready fast.
He was able to quickly receive an XLS file with personalized video links and relevant information.
We owe this success to Pirsonal’s speedy video rendering and processing servers that create personalized video content within seconds, not hours or days.
A personalized landing page for every contact to improve engagement
As mentioned, their CRM and marketing automation software had trouble displaying video content to a few contacts.
But thanks to Pirsonal’s personalized landing pages and interactive video player, this was not a blocker.
The following image shows an example of a personalized landing page.
Pirsonal automatically made a personalized landing page for the mailing list. Also, the videos were displayed through Pirsonal’s interactive video player to reliably showcase videos and track video analytics without cookies.
This way, they could also stay compliant with European data protection laws.
Since both the landing page and interactive video player work across devices, they were able to provide reliable personalized experiences to all users.
The result: 500% Increase in Direct Mail Response Rates Achieved Through Personalized Video Marketing
With an over 500% higher response rate when compared to the average, this company had its best campaign to that date.
Pirsonal’s personalized video marketing platform and dedicated service team helped the auto company surpass its direct mail marketing campaign goals.
There are three reasons for this success:
- An excellent campaign execution from the CRM manager and his team.
- Innovating with creative direct mail marketing with personalized video campaigns.
- A flexible, scalable, and reliable personalized video platform that matched their needs.
This helped them accomplish their goals.
Afterward, they could develop email campaigns with higher engagement to the same audience at a reduced cost per contact compared to email marketing.
Conclusion: Boosting mailing list engagement with personalized videos and Pirsonal
Personalized video marketing with Pirsonal’s platform can transform your next direct mail campaign with data-driven content. When you get higher mailing list engagement, your business can increase response rates.
Unlike other platforms, Pirsonal is flexible and adapts to your team’s expertise, audience size, and workflow. Thanks to this, it makes it easy to start, scale and transform engagement at scale.
With Pirsonal, your in-house team or agency doesn’t have to be an expert in personalized video marketing. Pirsonal’s professional services can optionally help businesses save time by executing any aspect of the video personalization program.
This allows you to focus on other important aspects of the campaigns.
Personalized video marketing can boost lead engagement and customer engagement rates by utilizing customer data and crafting personalized videos at scale. As a result, you achieve higher response ratios from direct mail campaigns and any digital marketing effort.
Want to know how Pirsonal can help boost the response ratio for your next direct mail marketing campaign? Contact us now. A personalized video marketing expert will take the time to understand your goals, answer any questions, and even offer a free trial. Let’s talk now!