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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - How to Improve Your Direct Mail Value

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “How to Improve Your Direct Mail Value” revisits several informational steps that improve direct mail marketing strategies and consequently increases direct mail’s value. In our last post, we covered how direct mail is positioned as a marketing workhorse, (Direct Mail: Your Workhorse Model) and moreover the reasoning behind why direct mail should be a major consideration for any marketing strategy.

Today’s post follows on the heels of direct mail marketing as a marketing workhorse model, into understanding how to increase the relevancy and results of direct mail campaigns incorporating the use of a brand’s data, which is the focal point that drives direct mail outcomes.


Nielsen Television viewer data has been around for at least the last 20 years for certain, if not more. Broadcast marketers, media buyers and brands were consistently being challenged to gain better knowledge over and above the Nielsen program viewer numbers. Capturing just the number of program viewers led to brands and marketers needing more information, and as a result, third party data collection companies quickly transformed additional television data requirements to include more demographic and psychographic information.

This process led to the creation of more new television data mining resources, resulting in the marketing world introducing the various viewer personas that were able to better target the niche markets representative of television viewers. Personas such as Soccer Moms, DINKS (double income no kids), Empty Nesters, and more emerged which provided marketers and brands a more comprehensive approach to understanding viewer targeting.

Fast forward to the here and now in the age of digital, and we can now ascertain a vast array of personal data from spending levels to zipcodes, to shopping habits, income levels and more. Enter print’s variable digital printing technique which is based on data primarily generated by CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools and now direct mail collateral has the capability to engineer distinct targeting by group, or niches, all based on the collection of demographic and psychographic data. That said, let’s get to the meat of this post, which is based on understanding best practices aimed at raising direct mail’s value as a marketing component.

Increasing Direct Mail Relevancy

Customer engagement is solely based on the relevancy of the marketing messages being delivered. As we know from all the recent data marketing surveys, personalization is at the top of the requirement list. Data collection makes personalization work. So, how is the relevancy and results of using direct mail actually fit into a best practices theme?

To begin with, creative direction for direct mail campaigns are based on knowledge of the brand’s customer set. This feat is achieved by a brand’s data collection capability. This data will no doubt be categorized into several data chunks which turns into variable data resources that cover a range of data acquisition models.

Armed with this variable data collection, marketers can now create direct mail campaigns that cut right to the heart of the recipients by focusing on:

  • Impactful Imagery
  • Personalized Messaging
  • Tempting Offers
  • Drive Better Results with Calls to Action

The Data that Needs to be Collected

Developing improved creative that will enhance driving sales and brand loyalty is commensurate with better data collection, which in turn will provide a more in-depth understanding of potential customers. Having knowledge of what drives prospects' purchase decisions is the key to developing creative direct mail collateral that will resonate and ultimately engage prospects.

Additionally, brands and marketers should take inventory of previously collected data, and more importantly, what current data pieces can be applied, which would lead to understanding what types of data may be missing, and finally pointing to what types of data the brand may need to start collecting today. In an effort to better understand the types of data collection, we contend it is wise to log the following data collection types into a data collection marketing strategy.

Identity Data

Identity data consists primarily of contact and other related information that correctly identifies each customer/prospect. Typically, this data type is collected via CRM systems, and existing customer databases. The primary methods of using identity data falls into the following categories:

  • Personalized Communications
  • Welcome New Prospects/Customers
  • Mail Birthday or Anniversary Greetings
  • Send Location-Based Offers or Messaging Pertinent to Local Events and/or News
  • If Customers have moved, Design Messages and Offers to help with Transition

Transactional Data

Transactional data is exactly what you think this data type is based upon. Transactions are at the heart of this data, which is for the most part, steeped in historical, targeting inquiries and purchases. Again, this data can be found via CRM and internal customer databases. The primary methods of using transactional data falls into the following categories:

  • Alert Customers about New Product Offerings Based on Past Interest
  • Thank Customers for reaching Milestones
  • Offer Recommendations Based on Previous Purchase(s)
  • Use Reliable Imagery of Past Purchases
  • Send “Miss You” Mailers to Inactive Customers

In short, any customer interaction that is or was transactional in nature could also make the list of how to implement transactional creative for direct mail strategies.

Descriptive Data

Descriptive data is the culmination of demographic and psychographic information that illuminates persona descriptions across a range of categories such as age, gender, income levels, purchase history, geography, education levels, ethnicity, home ownership, etc.. In the age of persona labeling, descriptive data collection is conducted mostly by customer surveys. This type of data is used to segment various niche market targets across a range of possibilities, including the following:

  • Segment Niche Market According to Groups and Mailing more Targeted Offers and Communications
  • Create Relevant Imagery Based on Demographics and Psychographics

By using descriptive data, marketers and brands will be better able to increase relevancy and engagement rates due to providing each segment with alluring creative and distinct messaging.

Attitudinal Data

Attitudinal data is the collection of information that uncovers how a brand’s customers feel about the organization, namely its product and/or service offerings. One of the most telling aspects of a brand’s equity is based on how customers perceive a brand’s relevance and subsequent value. Conversely, changing a perceived notion about a brand’s likability requires a steady and enduring commitment that engages customers overtime and targets the best aspects of the brand based on existing customer testimonials.

The best resources for collecting attitudinal data is by customer surveys and customer interactions with the brand. The best methods of incorporating attitudinal data are the following:

  • Reverse Negative Customer Experiences with “Give Us Another Try” aimed at Reducing Churn
  • Survey Customers to Uncover the Likelihood of a Receiving a Recommendation. You may want provide a Reason for the Recommendation with Referral offers to Family and Friends

Attitudinal data, when used effectively can become a major direct mail marketing ploy that builds brand equity, not to mention, also has the ability to reduce churn.

In summation, these four types of data sets; Identity Data, Transactional Data, Descriptive Data and Attitudinal Data together offer a more robust customer database that can effectively raise the value of direct mail marketing outcomes.

The Net-Net

Brands, Print Buyers and Marketers can effectively create engaging and alluring direct mail collateral based on database collection using the various types of database sets, each which adds an element of better understanding of their customer sets and the resulting niche groups residing within the scope of the database. Happy Direct Mail Database Improvement Analyzation!

Let’s have a conversation about direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, April 26th, 2018, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com