Direct Mail Marketing

3 Direct Mail Marketing Takeaways from Iterable’s Benchmark Report

October 23, 2018
Author
Rachel Wedlund

Marketers know creating a unified customer experience, online and off, pays. We see it time and time again—cross-channel marketing campaigns deliver the strongest returns. They are usually based on the side-by-side use of direct mail marketing, mail campaigns, social media, ads, and other channels.

But how many marketers are really utilizing cross-channel tactics to the full effect? And what are the best practices when it comes to cross-channel marketing? Where are the opportunities?

Leading growth marketing platform Iterable answered questions like these in its recently released benchmark report. So if you’re interested in cross-channel engagement, it’s worth checking what Iterable found out about direct mail marketing, dynamic content, and other marketing trends. Iterable’s direct mail statistics are a valuable resource to guide your mail campaigns.

The white paper provides fascinating insights on how real marketers employ cross-channel marketing techniques across the customer lifecycle, and we highly recommend our customers, and all marketers for that matter, take a look.

Iterable is uniquely positioned to analyze cross-channel marketing, as the platform has sent hundreds of thousands of campaigns across email, direct mail, mobile push, web push, in-app and SMS over the last several years. Its benchmark report dives deeper into some of these campaigns, studying how today’s marketers use various channels to successfully activate, nurture and reactivate customers.

Here at Inkit, we’re most interested in Iterable’s commentary on direct mail results, so we picked some takeaways to share with you. Today’s article focuses on:

  • Reasons to rely on Iterable’s direct mail report and statistics on other channels
  • 3 key findings about direct mail marketing in the latest Iterable’s report (dynamic content, cart abandonment benchmarks, and the predominant role of email marketing)
  • Additional cart abandonment benchmarks overview

What Makes Iterable’s Benchmark Report So Valuable for Planning Direct Mail Campaigns

Iterable is a marketing platform that helps businesses enhance their marketing campaigns with cross-channel practices. It provides broad functionality and integrations to simultaneously power customer engagement online and offline. That’s why these guys know everything about advanced marketing.

The 2018 Cross-Channel Engagement Benchmark Report is based on the key marketing channels analyzed by Iterable (direct mail, email, mobile, and web). More than 200 Iterable customers and 1,500 contacts participated in this survey. 49% of the surveyed were enterprises and 51% – mid-market organizations. Although the report mainly reflects the situation in the B2C sector in North America, it takes into account responses from across the globe. The main industries that participated in the survey include retail and e-commerce (18%), technology (15%), health and wellness (12%), finance (12%), and media&entertainment (11%).

As you can see, the research provides data on different types of marketing campaigns and covers various industries. Such information reflects the leading marketing trends and can help business owners or marketers to choose the right marketing approach. Data-driven marketing decisions usually result in better effectiveness and higher ROI.

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Here are a few Iterable’s takeaways on direct mail marketing that surprised us:

1. Dynamic content is still a huge opportunity.

Personalized content works in all channels. Modern consumers want to receive relevant messaging. This much marketers know—and have known from some time. However, Iterable found that only 64 percent of survey respondents are using dynamic content to personalize marketing promotions. Those who fail to do so cite things like a lack of technical resources, time or customer data.

Dynamic Content Metrics
Source: Iterable 2018 Benchmark Report

This stat surprised us because, when you have the right tools, dynamic content insertion should be neither time nor resource intensive. For example, Inkit’s postcard builder now has an easy-to-use dynamic content insertion feature. And when you use Inkit’s mail integration with Iterable’s workflow studio, you can even pull in any variable data housed within Iterable’s mailing list to personalize your direct mail marketing.

Note that with mail integration, such campaigns will have a higher response rate than traditional mail. And thanks to automated design and print, you won’t have to worry about hiring a separate vendor for each process. Inkit also takes care of mail delivery, so you may steer clear of the post office for the rest of your professional life. Using modern software, anyone can add direct mail to their marketing workflow within several minutes, really.

Iterable’s report has a wealth of additional information on how to add dynamic content to your cross-channel marketing strategy, so check it out for the best practices on direct mail marketing and other high performing channels.

2. Way too few marketers do cart abandonment right (if at all—yikes!).

OK, so we already knew this. But it continues to shock us nonetheless. Seriously, so many marketers squander money by failing to address shopping cart abandonment. They just let customers leave at the last moment of the incomplete purchase, and later humbly calculate the lost sales. The optimization of the checkout process is a huge opportunity, but according to Iterable, just 51% of marketers surveyed have any type of abandoned cart sequence—let alone a campaign with the one-two punch of email+direct mail. 91% of businesses focus solely on cart abandonment emails, neglecting other alternative channels (About 22% of marketers surveyed are using direct mail for cart abandonment, however. Whew). The report states that abandoned cart sequences are likely to generate more ROI than any other email campaign. So, if you’re one of those marketers who doesn’t have any sort of cart abandonment campaign yet, you’ll definitely want to download the report now for recommendations on conversion recovery.

Source: Iterable 2018 Benchmark Report

Additional Cart Abandonment Benchmarks

While researching Iterable’s direct mail takeaways, we’ve found out that abandoned carts are a real pain point for many marketers. Therefore, we want to pay more attention to this problematic trend, so you could choose the most suitable way to reduce the losses. Here are a few additional cart abandonment benchmarks to guide you (P.S. Don’t get too upset, there are numerous ways to make customers finish the checkout process!):

  • 69.57% is an average cart abandonment rate for online shopping
  • $260 million can be recovered with the help of checkout optimization
  • 85.65% is an average cart abandonment rate on mobile devices, 80.74% – on tablets, and 73.07% – on desktop devices
  • The financial sector suffers from the highest abandonment rates with an 81.6% average rate, nonprofits – 81.3%, travel – 81.7, and retail – 72.8%.

These cart abandonment benchmarks prove that bounced customers may become a serious obstacle on your way to business success. This problem strikes anyone engaged in sales, especially if it is an e-commerce business. In order to understand what can make customers stay, you should understand why they are leaving first. According to recent cart abandonment benchmarks published by Baymard, the primary reasons are the following:

  • Too high extra costs, including fees, tax, and shipping cost (53%)
  • Reluctance to create a website account (31%)
  • Too complicated checkout process (23%)
  • Not clear total cost (20%)
  • Unwillingness to share credit card information because the website looks unreliable (17%)
  • Too slow delivery (16%)

Cart abandonment emails and direct mail marketing can effectively help to deal with the most common bounce reason–price concerns. With the right call-to-action and relevant offer, you can re-engage customers and make them return. To mitigate the other reasons, we recommend analyzing your website usability. Most of the listed issues result from poor design and unclear navigation.

3. Marketers are experimenting more with direct mail marketing, but email is still king.

For many marketers, “cross-channel” seems to mean a mix of online channels. Iterable found that most brands prioritize email, with web, mobile and finally direct mail used by far fewer brands. We were disappointed to learn only 10% of marketers use direct mail in their welcome campaigns, since onboarding is where the personal touch and tactile experience of direct mail marketing can truly shine. However, about 20% of marketers send direct mail for promotions, even favoring the channel over mobile push and text messaging. And direct mail is second only to email when it comes to cart abandonment benchmarks (but, as mentioned above, both are vastly underused). Perhaps most concerning, only 8% of marketers send direct mail for re-engagement, with the vast majority of marketers (94%) sending email. This means many brands still aren’t knocking on the mailbox once locked out of the inbox. Here at Inkit, we find that re-engagement is one of the strongest—if not the strongest—use cases for direct mail, with some of our customers receiving double-digit response rates on win-back postcards. Inkit+Iterable direct mail integration is a particularly effective coalition for customer re-engagement. Iterable processes data on customer behavior in real-time and signals Inkit when it’s the perfect moment for sending direct mail.

bite squad

This reactivation postcard from Bite Squad netted an 18% redemption rate.

For more cross-channel marketing insights and recommendations, head over to Iterable to read the full report now.

More of what you’ll find inside Iterable’s Benchmark Report:

  • Statistics on cross-channel campaign strategies at every stage of the funnel
  • Proven best practices that drive brand awareness, increase conversion rates, and foster loyalty
  • Insight from Iterable’s partners (including Inkit) and customers

We highly recommend you download the report to learn more about the latest cross-channel marketing trends. Then, please come back to tell us what you think in the comments below!

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Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
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