Offline: Advancing Direct Mail with Dan Dunn, Paperplanes (episode 150)

by April Buencamino-dy

Long-time marketing enthusiast Dan Dunn founded Paperplanes back in 2017 to merge the latest digital marketing technology with the power of print. They’ve now helped hundreds of brands to create personalised direct mail campaigns triggered by what customers actually do on your website.

Dan Dunn Paperplanes Offline Marketing

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Deciding to Get Into Direct Mail

Working mostly with eCommerce businesses, Dan says there really is value in investing in direct mail based on what he has seen.

It’s a marketing channel that hasn’t been affected by issues that online channels usually get. It’s not to say that there are no challenges that come with it, but for Dan, there are ways to navigate around these things.

If you’re able to personalize your direct mail and make it relevant, it’s going to get action. This is why brands should consider investing in this channel.

Insight-Driven Programmatic Direct Mail

Dan says true performance-driven marketing strategies are ones focused on return on investments. If you can get specific and granular about who you target, you have the best chance of maximizing returns.

For direct mail, the best practice is in targeting relevance and personalization. You have to be smart about how you use your data and who you target because you don’t want to bombard people on this channel.

With today’s technology, there’s no limit to the personalization you can do. It’s no longer just about using the customer’s first name, but also about the right product combinations and even the images used on the envelopes. All of this helps drive performance.

Abandoned Cart Follow-Ups and Extensions

Abandoned carts continue to be a challenge for eCommerce brands everywhere, and for Paperplanes, this continues to be an area where conversion rates are higher compared to email. But Dan says you can absolutely use direct mail together with email and SMS strategies to address abandoned carts.

An extension of the abandoned cart follow-up is being able to use it to trigger a next purchase as well. Based on the available data, direct mail can both fast-track a second purchase and increase the average order value.

Direct Mail in Today’s Economic Conditions

Year after year, the CPMs for the various online channels are increasing. Dan says this is really the time and reason why marketers should consider other channels that can make a difference. Considering your ROI, look into direct mail to help you drive performance.

One piece of advice Dan offers is to not have any inherent bias around the channel because if your customers can be found on the channel and they’ve never received anything personalized or relevant in the post, then use it to boost your other marketing activities.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with offline marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Like any other marketing strategy, this form of marketing should be ROI-driven. You don’t need massive volumes to get a sense of significance or confidence levels.

So make sure to apply the same levels of data science and testing to learn on this channel as with other channels.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve offline marketing performance?

For Dan, it’s classic AB testing and incrementality analysis. The latter is the standard one, which means not just sending out everything but being able to hold back a certain percentage for incrementality.

Then extend this further so you can understand whether an incentive is needed or not. Take that selection right at the end of the marketing process, so it’s completely randomized. This is the only way that you can truly optimize and improve campaigns moving forward.

If someone listening wants to learn more about offline marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Check out Paperplanes’ blog for Whitepapers via direct mail.

They recently released a Whitepaper titled Retargeting in a Recession and how direct mail can help you do more for less.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in offline marketing?

Dan says to get ready for increased consumer confidence and possibly increased marketing budgets again in the next 12 months. This will lead to eCommerce growth and an opportunity to test more and apply data science to help you personalize your channels better.

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