Account Based Mail
Why incorporate direct mail into your Account Based Marketing?
When you think of Account Based
Marketing (ABM), what sort of words
come to mind? Most likely terms like
personalized, targeted, impactful.
What about tangible?
It might be
something you've never related to
ABM, but it can help your campaign
make real human connections and
drive response rates.
Tangible pieces like direct mail can
augment your digital practices and
gain higher response rates than
email alone. According to a recent
Info Trends report, response rates
jump from 7.4% (print only) and
7.9% (email only) to 9.5% when the
campaigns are multi-channel. Direct
mail's engagement rate is very high,
with two-thirds of direct mail being
handled. The integration of direct mail
into your ABM campaign can be both
strategic and scalable.
In this guide, we'll show you just how to do it!
Direct mail is a must have for great ABM.
Direct mail is memorable, forges
stronger connections than digital
messages and can leverage the
law of reciprocity to boost your
Within an ABM campaign, direct mail
can cause a lot of chatter between
decision makers and influencers,
getting everyone on the same page
to at least discuss your solution.
Why? ABM campaigns have a holistic
focus, targeting everyone involved
in a specific account. Direct mail can
create strong connections with your
marketing message and keep your
solution top of mind while generating
buzz, discussion and even advocacy
within the account.
In a recent study, market research firm
Millward Brown joined with Bangor
University's Centre for Experimental
Consumer Psychology to test the
effect of direct mail on the brain. Using
MRI technology, scientists saw how the
brain reacted when viewing a piece of
digital communication and a physical
copy. They found the physical piece left
a much deeper footprint on the brain.
Direct mail engages parts of the brain
that have to do with visual and spatial
"suggesting that physical
material is more 'real' to the brain.
It has a meaning, and a place." This
connects direct mail to your prospect's
memory and emotional centers,
creating a powerful connection unique
to tangible marketing.
"You have to remember that the
whole point of ABM is that it's
spearfishing. You have to reach out
to the right people at the account.
That means outbound channels like
direct mail, which is a great door
opener. People get hundreds of
emails a day, and probably get one
or two packages a week. Direct
mail is a really good way to break
through the noise."
— Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio
By incorporating direct mail into your ABM efforts you can:
- Spread brand awareness across your target account
- Create memorable connections with your accounts
- Improve engagement rates
- Accelerate sales pipeline
- Improve the success rate of your ABM strategy
"Direct mail is the new black in B2B.
There is nothing more personalized than
a hand written note with a personalized
direct mail that is fully customized for
your prospect or customer."
— Sangram Vajre, CMO of Terminus
Using direct mail in your ABM campaign.
If you don't know how to send the right direct mail piece to the right
person, at the right time, you won't get far. It is critical to leverage the
science behind direct mail.
The kind of direct mail you send to your target accounts depends on factors such as:
- Buyer Journey Stage
BUYER JOURNEY STAGE
The direct mail send has to follow the basic
principles of the buyer's journey: you wouldn't
send awareness building content to someone
that has already been engaged several times.
Map out how you want to engage prospects
with direct mail, when it makes sense and
what behaviors trigger direct mail sends.
We have a few examples for you on the
"Don't start pounding the phone once
you've got your list, warm up not just the
lead, but also the entire account (all the
people in that department and executive
team) with advertising and direct mail
i.e. non-interruptive messages. This
way you are "warming up" the account
proactively before sales starts calling
them. It creates a halo-effect around the
company stake holders and an affinity
to your brand, making you more likely to
get appointments and demos with your
— Sangram Vajre, CMO of Terminus
Buyer Journey Stage Example
Build Awareness, Pique Interest
Brand awareness across the organization is critical
to the success of your ABM efforts. Direct mail can
help warm up an account before you start reaching
out via phone and digital to sell.
You have a brand champion at your target account,
but he's just one voice in a big company. There are
4 stakeholders that have to sign off before you can
move the deal forward. It's been almost impossible
to get them together, much less to agree that your
solution is the one they need.
Help your champion by providing extra awareness
of your solution in the organization. Send your
champion a key and send stakeholders a locked
box with a message that prompts them to visit the
champion to unlock the box. Inside the box are a few
handouts that demonstrate ROI and some branded
coffee mugs. This will start a conversation on their
end. Your sales team will receive delivery alerts, so
that they can step in and direct the flow, pulling
them closer to a deal. You have web personalization
and follow-up emails with additional resources to
round out the personalized experience.
Buyer Journey Stage Example
Getting commitment for a demo or meeting is a
very good step in the right direction, but it can also
be the hardest step. A high-impact direct mail piece
is often the perfect catalyst to reignite that stalled
or slow deal.
After a flurry of emails and voice mails, your sales
executive is struggling to schedule a demo with a
decision maker at the target company.
It's time to make an offer the decision maker can't
refuse. Set up your marketing automation to identify
opportunities that have stalled and trigger the send
of a package that includes a personalized note, a
branded presentation, and a die-cut print out of an
The offer is straightforward and compelling: If
they're willing to take a demo with the executive,
they'll receive the real watch. Your sales executive
will receive a package delivery alert from your
automation system, allowing them to make a
perfectly timed follow-up call.
Buyer Journey Stage Example
Close the Deal
The courtship is well underway, and love (for your
products and services) is in the air. And while
the proposals have been crafted, the coveted
signature hasn't appeared anywhere. It's time to
open the throttle for increased sales velocity and
tap into the power of packages.
Legal sent the redlined contract back to the
prospect. It's in the hands of the decision maker,
but he's been so busy that he hasn't been able to
put that last critical piece on it: his signature. You
need to drive a sense of urgency and compel him
Set up your marketing automation to identify
opportunities that have been sitting in the
negotiation stage for over a week and then
trigger the send of a branded, custom package.
The package includes a personalized note and a
remote control for a high-end quad copter. The
offer is simple: When the signed contract is back
in your sales executive's hands, you'll send the
actual flying unit to accompany the remote.
Your proactive outreach and the offer will help to
move the deal forward, and his inner 8-year-old
will love the aerial acrobatics.
An average of 17 different people
are involved in the decision making
process for enterprise purchases
and each of those people will pull a
different weight in that decision. Each
will also have different needs, pain
points, goals, motivations
, etc. These
could vary depending on whether
or not you're talking to sales versus
marketing, operational people versus
managers and directors and so on,
so it's important that you keep direct
mail sends aligned with a prospect's
persona and role in the buying cycle.
And don't always target just the
decision makers. Buy-in from
influencers is crucial as well, and
the shareable nature of tangible
marketing collateral will kick start
a conversation about you.
among influencers can grow into a
storm decision makers can't ignore.
Lower cost sends make sense to
this audience, but they will still be
meaningful and engaging.
The obvious challenge to including
direct mail in an ABM campaign is
scalability. Who has time to research
every person in a prospect company
and make a specific direct mail piece
for each? Consider defining group
personas ahead of time
a list of items you might send based
on those personas.
You can also create direct mail pieces
that have variable content and images
that speak directly to the persona's
pain points and goals. When your
direct mail sends are orchestrated
from within your marketing
automation platform or CRM, you can
automatically populate the variable
content fields and trigger the send of
direct mail pieces on demand.
KEEP IT PERSONAL
Use variable data technology to print
personalized messages for each
member of the account. You could
address them by name and title, tailor
specific pain points for their persona
or include a special mention toward
one of their interests. Personalization
elevates direct mail into a new
category, delighting and engaging
The key to great ABM is personalization.
Personalize by persona, but then kick
things up a notch later in the sales cycle
with "personality" personalization.
information from sales conversations
and social profiles to identify things the
prospect enjoys, such as food, outdoor
activities, travel etc. Then surprise and
delight that prospect with a direct mail
package that ties into their interests and
a note that prompts them to complete
the desired behavior, whether it is to give
you a call back or sign the contract.
People who receive packages are 10
times more likely to act
for something in return, so this can be a
highly effective tool for your sales team.
Just as you did with personas, you can
make this strategy scalable by grouping
personality interests into categories and
then choosing a direct mail package
How to send direct mail within an ABM campaign.
Direct mail can be integrated into
any automated ABM campaign
the help of PFL's solutions). This
allows you to send mail at different
times to influencers or decision
makers within the same account. You
can trigger the send of direct mail
based on user behavior. For example,
you can trigger the send of "meeting
maker" packages to decision makers
once your account reaches a specified
score threshold. Or, you can trigger
the send of a printed guide book when
you haven't seen engagement from an
account contact in over a week.
The key to using direct mail in an ABM
campaign is keeping it multi-channel.
Direct mail should never be set-and-forget—your efforts will be much
more successful when integrated
with account based emails, phone
calls and web personalization. This
way contacts will get a consistent
set of messages across the channels,
progressing them through their path
to purchase. Check out our example
campaign on the next page (note
the language and design choices for
"We'll start with direct mail as the
centerpiece of our marketing campaign,
and then layer in display advertising,
social, emails and outbound calls to
create a true omni-channel experience
for our target accounts. We've found
that high-impact direct mail pieces are
one of the most effective ways to get
our foot in the door at large enterprise
accounts where we've previously not
seen much success."
— Julia Stead, Director of Demand
Generation at Invoca
Direct mail allows for marketing and sales alignment.
Sales and marketing alignment goes far beyond the preliminary research stages.
With the right technology, your
marketing department can create
an ABM campaign that involves
direct mail and give your sales
team complete visibility into the
full customer journey. Thanks to its
integrated capability, direct mail
triggers can be dropped into an
automated campaign, mixing right
in with your digital efforts. This sets
account executives up to receive
notifications when a package is sent as
well as when it's delivered so they can
time their communication perfectly.
Imagine the effect of a phone call
to a prospect from your account
executive just minutes after your direct
mail piece has been signed for. The
package removes the obstacle of the
cold open or the stale message and
opens up an organic dialogue for a
greater customer experience.
Measuring the success of direct mail's role in ABM.
Not only does the integration of direct
mail allow you to track its whereabouts,
you can track its success as well. There
are a few different ways to track the
engagement and response of your direct
mail piece, but all of them boil down to
one tactic: driving digital action with
You can gain visibility into response
with items like QR codes, trackable
phone numbers, personalized URLs, or
specified hashtags for the recipient to
use via social media. All of the results can
be tracked with reporting tools within
marketing automation that let you see
which items within your ABM campaign
are performing well. This lets you adjust
your sends for better engagement and
response for each recipient.
Making direct mail look good.
When thinking about direct mail,
it's easy to picture flat mailers and
coupon codes. But just like any
medium in marketing, direct mail is
what you make it.
Sending direct mail is one of those
rare creative moments most marketers
dream of. At first glance you may think
you're simply sending coffee mugs
or assorted sweets, but what you're
really sending is your brand in a box.
What do you want it to communicate
to your potential customers? Is
your brand one of inspiration and
motivation? The kind that pushes
people to challenge their potential
and find out what they're made
of? Maybe you're the kind of brand
that constantly affirms and reminds
people that they're part of something
bigger and more beautiful than just
themselves. Or perhaps you embody
security, trust and peace of mind to
Whatever it is, direct mail is a portable
experience of that brand. It's not
often in marketing that you get to do
something outside of the digital realm.
Direct mail is your chance to give life
to your brand, to get prospects to
sink their fingers into it and turn it
over in their hands. Don't waste it.
Direct mail examples.
We've seen some incredible pieces come and go through
our doors that are a true testament to the creative
potential that comes with direct mail. Consider options
like these that shatter any assumed constraints that direct
mail is made up of merely postcards and cardboard boxes.
It can be a real challenge to get your foot in
the door at target accounts. MapR's "Message
in a Bottle" piece is a great example of a mailer
that demands attention. Pair it with coordinated
digital and phone outreach and your foot will
officially be in the door!
Account Based Marketing shouldn't end once the
deal is closed. LiveRamp uses this welcome kit to
kick off a strong, healthy relationship with new
members of their Partner Program. The fortunes
in the cookies predict their future shared success.
This kit by Nimble Storage uses eye-catching
colors, highlighted pain points and a clear call to
action to drive recipients to sign up for a meeting.
While the same information could be conveyed
on a postcard, this piece is targeted to account
contacts who have reached a certain engagement
threshold, so it's more effective (and worth the
extra cost) to use a more high-impact piece.
Best practices for creating actionable direct mail.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
Let direct mail give you a competitive edge.
Your competitors are working just as
hard as you to reach and secure the
same prospects. In the borrowed words
of Mark Cuban, you've got to "work like
there is someone working 24 hours to
take it all away from you," because they
are. Branching out into effective channels
like direct mail gives an edge over the
competition that builds real, personal
relationships with your prospects.
The time has come to switch on all your
engines. What are you waiting for?