Author: Justin Nelson, Director, Strategy & Agency Services

Lately I’ve been having a lot of discussions with marketers interested in leveraging direct mail to grow their brand but struggling with the initial investment cost. With uncertainty surrounding 2021, senior leadership is reluctant to invest in such a costly channel at scale or internal resources in the longer lead times associated with direct mail. Furthermore, the challenges that marketers face has been compounded by congestion within digital channels. Performance and reach aren’t what they used to be as digital becomes more fragmented and competitive.

Where can marketers turn when they need to revitalize their marketing mix and put productive impressions in front of their target audience?

Shared mail.

Partnership marketing and collaborations are more prevalent than ever. Almost every brand is looking for a way to bring something new, different or otherwise experiential to their existing audience while getting their message in front of a new one. Collabs are the rage. If you disagree, please explain the partnership between Bad Bunny and Crocs…and why their “baby” sold out in record time.

As far as marketing is concerned, shared mail could very well be the next greatest collaboration opportunity for the brand. Here’s the play:

  1. Identify a group of high-performance customers that you’d like to grow in size or replicate
  2. Identify other brands that meet the following criteria:
    • Appeal to the same audience of high-performance customers
    • Are not competitive and will NOT cannibalize your efforts
    • Have similar brand values and mutual admiration with your brand
  3. Develop a shared story or central theme across participating brands that enhances / expands / engages the target audience in a fantastic way
  4. Develop a method to reach like customers with an understanding that you’ll likely have the opportunity to engage new customers as well as existing ones
  5. Develop the medium and design the creative ensuring that the components of a good direct mail campaign (message, creative & call to action) are represented

With the exception of finding other brands that share an affinity for a similar customer every aspect of planning and executing the campaign aren’t too different from any other marketing campaign you or your team support.

Case in Point.

In early 2020, a colleague, Matt Whipple, and myself were discussing how we would build a program where the whole could be greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, how could we increase the net impact of a brands message while reducing the associated investment? Shared mail presented itself as the solution.

Given that we specialize in life event data and marketing and many organizations struggle with getting their messaging in front of new movers, we developed a program specific to new home owners. We partnered with a third-party printer to create a mail format that would appeal to this audience and then ran the numbers to ensure that response and conversion thresholds offset cost and would generate a favorable outcome for the six to eight non-competitive brands with products or services that would be of interest. We secured buy-in from our leadership group to launch the program and are currently discussing participation with client brands that have a product assortment that resonates with the audience.

What’s the outcome?

Feedback and engagement from interested brands is good. The idea of sharing package with premium brands that aren’t outright competitors is enticing. Furthermore, the idea of combining several money-saving calls to action (CTAs) to the benefit of both participating brands and customers creates the win-win outcome that is so often sought for but infrequently achieved.

The first deployment of the package is planned for February 2021 and commitments are coming in. My goal is to draft a follow-up post with high-level shared mail performance outcomes as well as learnings.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s not too late to participate if you represent an interested brand. Ultimately the requirements are below:

  • Your brand has a national presence
  • Your brand is able to offer meaningful value to the target audience of new movers
  • Your brand is able to provide creative / artwork & offer relevant to the audience

Click here to find out more about the Speedeon New Mover Shared Mail Program, Speedeon as a partner in life event marketing or to discuss other customer acquisition opportunities.