We’ve been working with several B2B clients recently on outreach programs to help them find and engage new customers, and one of the tactics we’ve had success with is the use of dimensional mail. The main reason is that while overall mail volume is down in the last two years, the amount of mail reaching top executives is up slightly, as gatekeepers have been removed through attrition or layoffs as company’s pare staff, and we were finding that we needed to break through the clutter in the C-suite to get noticed and to actually engage these busy executives with our message.
While the list is still king, the package is gaining in importance. We’re not talking about a simple A-B test between red and blue carrier envelopes, we mean a full blown package – a box of some type – that contains illustrative media, video, audio, print collateral or other physical, three dimensional object that requires time and thought to understand. It takes a few moments to open, to pick through the parts, to see the story unfold as you peel away layers and get to the meat, the point, the main message. Once you get there, it’s got to make sense to the recipient, to be relevant, to be personal in a way that says “hey, these people know my business and are here to help me run it better!”
Personalization plays a large part in these packages. Good use of personalization has been shown to boost response significantly, and the combination of personalization and 3D engagement means your target spends a good deal of time with your message, enough to thoughtfully consider your offer and put it in the “investigate further” pile. Now, it’s time for the follow-up!
The dimensional package is a great way to bait the hook, it’s intriguing, interesting and gets people thinking about your message. It may not be enough to close the sale by itself, few DM packages are when there’s a service or high-ticket item in the mix. But by pushing personalized, strategically-timed follow-up messages through different media, your product is now what we call “Self-vetted” – it appears to come from a variety of directions, and sources, so that it appears to be very safe, legitimate and reasonable. Since top executives are generally a conservative bunch, financially and emotionally, this plays on their natural caution and lowers their defenses, usually enough to make them receptive to a phone call, which is the knock-out punch of the campaign.
So far this scheme is working for clients, and we have several variations in the works, tweaking timing, packaging, levels of personalization and frequency. The key to effective execution of these campaigns is the homework you do on the list of recipients – each of these packages represents a significant investment by direct mail standards, and you want to keep your waste level low and your responsive recipients ratio as high as possible. Better to send out 5 and have 2 hit with real sales, than to send out 20 and have that same 2 hit.
A good list, an intriguing, personalized package, heavy follow-up and a persuasive phone call may seem like a lot to go through to reach a handful of individuals – but if they’re the right individuals and the sale is worth thousands or tens of thousands or more, the discipline and forethought is certainly worth it.
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