Boost ROI with intent data and personalized multichannel marketing campaigns

Coronavirus is causing large and small businesses to drastically cut marketing budgets. In Forrester’s self-described “most optimistic scenario,” the analysts project a 28% drop in U.S. marketing spend by the end of 2021. Even Google is cutting its marketing budget in half. As marketers move forward, Forrester predicts marketing automation platforms will grow despite an overall decline in marketing technology investment.

Automation platforms help marketers scale their communications. However, scaling communications is not a substitute for intimacy, which all humans crave. Because of the pandemic, it is harder than ever to get attention, let alone make a connection. More mass email blasts from your marketing automation platform are not going to get you the connections with prospects you crave. So how should marketers proceed? Direct mail captures 100% of your audience’s attention. It provides a sensory experience for your prospects and customers, and that helps establish an emotional connection.

Winning marketers are strategically merging automation and digital data with the more intimate channel of direct mail. We call this tactile marketing automation (TMA).

TMA is the integration of direct mail or personalized swag with a marketing automation platform. With TMA, a marketer doesn’t have to think about creating direct mail campaigns outside of digital campaigns. Rather, direct mail experiences are already fully integrated into the pre-built customer journey.

TMA uses intent data to inform content, messaging and the timing of direct mail touchpoints that maximize relevancy and scalability. Multichannel campaigns including direct mail report an ROI 18 percentage points higher than those without direct mail. Plus, 84% of marketers state direct mail improves multichannel campaign performance.

Read on to see how you can merge digital communications and direct mail to deliver remarkable experiences that spark a connection.

Incorporate intent data

Personalization is a key ingredient of a remarkable experience. Many marketers automate processes by introducing marketing software and then call it personalization. But, oftentimes it’s just quicker batching and blasting. Brands can’t just change the first name on a piece of content and call it “personalized.” Real personalization is necessary and vital for real results. Our consumers expect more. The best way to introduce real personalization within a marketing mix is to use intent data and trigger-driven campaigns.

Intent data is defined as “the set of behavioral signals that helps you to understand the intention of your prospects to purchase a product or service.” Basically, your prospects’ web browsing habits are your business intelligence.

Intent data can and should influence all the ways you market to prospects, even your direct mail. You can use tactile marketing automation to apply intent data to direct mail and increase your brand’s impact and audience engagement.

For example, when looking at the B2C environment, retail marketers seek to adjust strategies based on just one specific consumer. That way, if a potential buyer views a product on a retailer’s website, it can trigger an automated piece of direct mail based on the results of their search. A consumer who looks at a backpack online and abandons their cart can trigger a piece of direct mail to be sent to their house containing a selection of backpacks and a 25% off coupon. Or, if they actually bought the backpack, it can trigger school-related messaging for other products they might need, like new shoes.

This is real personalization based on specific recipient actions and fully customized content.

Orchestrate personalized multichannel campaigns

Timely and relevant direct mail creates a remarkable moment for your prospects. But don’t stop there.

Channel orchestration elevates your campaign from a direct mail send to a remarkable multichannel experience. According to the “2020 State of Multichannel Marketing Report,” surveyed marketers indicate their greatest success is when they use four to six channels. Using your channels in a unified manner to tell a relevant, meaningful story makes each channel more effective.

For example, FedEx’s mail delivery notification can automatically trigger an email to the prospect and an alert for the sales rep to make a call. A timely follow-up capitalizes on the moment of attention the direct mail earned and gives recipients an easy way to respond digitally.

You can even use the delivery notification to trigger display and social media ads. According to Kenshoo, retargeting has the ability to lift ad engagement rates up by 400% — the average click-through rate (CTR) for display ads is around 0.07%, whereas the average CTR for retargeted ads is about 0.7%.

This coordination of channels and timing creates a VIP feeling for your prospect, leaving them thinking, “That company went above and beyond, and that’s the kind of team I want to work with.”

Paycor, an HR software provider, has brought this concept to life for their prospects.

Tactile marketing automation in action

Paycor is positioned in a highly competitive and crowded market. They knew that to stand out and make strong connections with their prospects they needed to move away from a blast messaging toward human-centric marketing.

Paycor created intent-driven and topic-focused nurture streams to provide relevant content to prospects. When a prospect engages with a specific topic on Paycor’s website or in a general nurture stream, an automation campaign plugs the prospect into the related topic nurture stream. If the prospect engages with an email in the topic-focused stream, the campaign triggers a piece of direct mail to be sent.

The package includes a wine key, a personalized note card and a thought-leadership guide. The guide in the package depends entirely on which nurture stream the customer belongs to, ensuring a continuous message and increasing the likelihood of engagement. The personalized note includes a request for a meeting, along with the promise that, following the meeting, the Paycor rep would send a bottle of wine to go with the wine key.

Within 15 minutes of package delivery, the assigned sales rep receives an automatic notification to make a timely follow-up call and email. Reaching out when the package is in the prospect’s hands significantly improves email and phone response rates.

This campaign is an excellent example of the ultimate trinity of marketing automation: It’s evergreen, multichannel and personalized. Paycor can use it for months and years to come because it will adapt to the customer’s behaviors in digital channels, and it offers an incredible ease-of-use through automation.

With this strategy, Paycor blew past their original meeting-booked goal of between 5% and 10% to reach 13%. Not only that, but they saw 5x ROI.

As you can see, there are many channels marketers can use and integrate within their multichannel campaigns and strategy, but those with automation capabilities should be prioritized because of budget cuts and shrinking marketing teams. For multichannel marketing campaigns to break through the clutter, digital and physical touchpoints need to be used through an automation lens.

To understand the value of data-driven brand experiences and insights, CMOs and senior marketers need to optimize campaigns by utilizing customer analytics and personalization features via intent data to create truly one-to-one experiences and conversations.

Because, with automation and intent data, brands more easily connect with leads, prospects and customers at a personal, intimate level. It’s, simply put, a better strategy than batching and blasting — even when those campaigns are done through a digital channel. In order to increase ROI, invest in intent- and trigger-driven channels; otherwise, you’ll fall behind in today’s cluttered environment.