Navigating a global pandemic wasn't in anyone's 2020 marketing plan.

Because of coronavirus, it's been a struggle to find the right balance within the media mix, especially when budgets are shrinking. Brands that have remained successful are providing customers and prospects with personalized, immersive experiences. But how are these experiences being initiated?

The three most important factors to multichannel campaign success are data accuracy, a sound understanding of audience needs, and branding, according to PFL's The State of Multichannel Marketing Report, based on a poll of 600 marketers from a variety of industries. That finding proves that to create profound touchpoints, marketers need data to conduct proper segmentation and personalization.

Also, for Marketing to deliver a brand experience, the brand must be visible. Content should relay specific messaging that has a purpose—a call to action or an exchange of value. No one should experience a touchpoint and then wonder what the point was or who it was from.

The channel best suited for such immersive experiences is direct mail.

When my company stopped using direct mail in its campaigns in April, like everyone else, we were trying to figure out how to best reach people who were working from home. But prospect success from just email and phone calls took a huge hit: 99% of prospects never booked a meeting. Compared with pre-COVID response rates, that clearly wasn't the way forward.

So our customer success team developed a new model for gathering prospects' preferred addresses. With that reincorporated tactile marketing automation, we landed 900% more meetings than from email and phone calls alone.

If you don't have home addresses for your prospects, here are four ways to obtain them so you can cut through the pandemic marketing clutter with direct mail.

1. Confirm mailing addresses in exchange for value

One way you can send a direct mail piece is by confirming a preferred address with the prospect after making an offer of value. Many business development reps (BDRs) are already speaking with prospects, so such an interaction should be a simple addition to their efforts.

For example, representatives could offer prospects an option by saying, "Confirm your address and take a meeting, and I'll send a bottle of wine or coffee to enjoy while we talk." That way, prospects know there's something in it for them.

In one of our recent campaigns, once a value exchange was made clear, the campaign achieved a 60% engagement rate.

To show respect for personal information, encourage your reps to communicate that the home address will be used only once and won't be stored.

2. Request preferred mailing addresses through an existing automation campaign

If you already have a marketing automation campaign, it's easy to layer address collection into it.

Have unused swag that was supposed to be taken to tradeshows? Because those events were likely moved online, you can repurpose your physical items to enhance virtual event experiences.

When asking contacts to fill out a form with their preferred address, make clear that you want to send them something of value. We've even seen businesses drive prospects to landing pages where they can select their preferred swag or collateral, which guarantees they'll receive the most relevant package.

3. Use data-matching services

There are a multitude of data-matching services that make gathering prospects' addresses relatively easy. Sales reps and BDRs usually have enough information about prospects to garner an address match. Prospects will be happy you took the initiative to send them something, even if it takes them by surprise.

Also, if bandwidth or timing is a concern for marketing and sales teams, some direct mail solutions can append addresses.

4. Make virtual messaging stand out

When addresses aren't readily available, another option for marketers is a digital brand experience with an e-gift card.

On other platforms, messaging tends to be overshadowed by the sender, sending technology, or the brand and design on the gift card itself. Your brand should be front and center so there's no confusion about who sent the gift and why.

When you layer in a strong visual impact at a strategic moment in the customer journey, you stand out from your competition. Those moments add up.

* * *

Just as your customers have had to adjust to working from home, your marketing efforts also have to adjust. Adding personalized touchpoints through tactile marketing automation can help your brand grow in a world affected by COVID-19 and beyond.

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How Direct Mail Can Cut Through the Pandemic Marketing Clutter (And How to Obtain Those Valuable Home Addresses)

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image of Nick Runyon

Nick Runyon is president of printing solutions provider PFL, where he helps marketers achieve results through direct mail orchestrated with digital marketing and sales.

LinkedIn: Nick Runyon