The customer experience has shifted to focus on what the customer needs and expects from a brand versus what the brand can provide to the customer. With a breadth of customer data available to brands, customers expect a seamless, personalized experience when they shop.
Today, a personalized customer experience relies on the use of cross-channel marketing. This includes digital channels like mobile and email, but it also includes the tried and true: direct mail.
With a surge in ecommerce retail (sales are up 39% year-over-year), customers are increasingly shopping from the comfort of their homes. Therefore, brands have a unique opportunity to use direct mail marketing and reach customers where, and while, they shop.
Direct mail has gone through a transformation of its own. Instead of sending a batch of impersonal postcards to anyone with a mailing address, direct mail can be adapted to fit within the customer journey. From generic flyer to an integral component of a triggered, individualized workflow, direct mail helps create a cohesive customer experience.
Why Direct Mail Matters for the Customer Experience
In a digital world (increasingly so post-pandemic), it can be hard to understand the role direct mail can play in creating a holistic customer experience. We know digital channels work. Email, specifically, has the highest ROI of all marketing channels. Mobile marketing channels are also incredibly effective. Push notifications have a click-through rate 7x higher than email. Digital channels are easily trackable, can be personalized and can reach the customer wherever they are.
Brands know digital channels work, so the majority of brands incorporate mobile or email, if not both, in their marketing strategies. With this onslaught of promotional messages flooding lock screens and inboxes, consumers have become somewhat desensitized to this type of marketing. While digital marketing may reign supreme, up to 90% of direct mail gets opened.
This is why direct mail matters.
Direct mail has become more personal because of the volume of marketing conducted via digital channels. There's a new novelty to direct mail. As Neil Patel puts it, “With direct mail becoming less common, there is less noise. You can capture the undivided attention of your customers with its romantic appeal.”
Direct mail is also less isolated. An email inbox and a phone screen are very personal, often viewed by only an individual consumer. Direct mail can be viewed by multiple people in a household and, because of that, direct mail has a longer lifespan and can initiate conversations that lead to purchases.
Because of the different ways email and direct mail contribute to the customer experience, it’s important to unsilo these channels and use them together to create a cohesive CX.
Automation Brings Digital and Direct Mail Together
Marketing channels can no longer be pitted against one another. Each marketing channel plays a vital role in creating a cohesive customer experience, which consumers now expect. As consumers bounce from device to device or from location to location, your brand needs to deliver a unified experience to show the customer you’re paying attention as you guide them through the customer journey. If a customer is browsing on your website via desktop and adds items to their cart, the same items should be in their cart when they log into your mobile app.
To create a seamless experience, utilizing all available marketing channels, automation is key. Using event triggers, different channels can be introduced into the customer experience depending on how the customer is interacting with your brand. Iterable and Inkit keep this process tidy and easy to execute. When Iterable initiates mail delivery, Inkit automatically renders the necessary PDF from HTML and manages remote printing and delivery. The document production, storage, and shipment are fully automated. And with postal address verification, mail reaches the destination within 1-2 days across the US.
For example, say the same customer abandons their cart on your desktop site. You follow up with an abandoned cart email, but the customer hasn’t opened it. If they still haven’t opened the email after a day, you could trigger a push notification in your Iterable workflow, reminding them of the items in their cart. If they still haven’t opened your email or the app, you can follow up with a direct mail through Inkit—perhaps a postcard with a coupon, reminding them of the items in their cart. Using strategic delays keeps a steady pulse of awareness with your brand.
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Traditionally, these triggers have been used with digital channels. However, with new technology, direct mail can be added to your triggered marketing campaigns to fully round out the user experience, both online and offline.
As abandonment and engagement data is collected in Iterable, it can be turned into actionable next steps and used to adjust workflow triggers. Thanks to Iterable's integration with Inkit, you can set these cross-channel campaigns and direct mail campaigns in motion simultaneously to ensure timeliness is the utmost priority.
Creating a Cohesive CX is a Breeze with Iterable + Inkit
With the right marketing platform, customer data is centralized, allowing your brand to understand each customer as an individual. With Iterable, you can design workflows based on the customer data you’ve collected. These workflows ensure that your marketing messages reach each customer where and how they want to be reached.
With the integration between Inkit and Iterable, you can automatically trigger direct mail sends using your custom Iterable workflows. Inkit also supports HTML to PDF rendering for email archiving, online and offline document delivery, record-keeping, and other uses. Address verification is another handy feature. It will help you check customers’ identities and increase the accuracy of mailings.
To learn more about how you can weave direct mail into your marketing automation strategy using Iterable and Inkit, request a demo today.
Brooke Grief is a Content Marketing Manager at Iterable. Prior to working at Iterable, Brooke managed content strategy, production and ideation for a handful of brands, including Aveeno, Planet Fitness, IBM and GE Healthcare.