How to Run a Successful Direct Mail Campaign


In today’s world, where technology can deliver everything from a list of your ideal customers to paper towels, it almost seems silly to talk about something old-fashioned like direct mail as a key tactic for B2B marketing. But as it turns out, direct mail is still one of the most effective channels for marketers looking to drive engagement and pipeline.

To find out why direct mail works and what really goes into building a successful campaign, we spent some time with our Marketing Programs Manager, Rory Tokunaga, who runs the direct mail arm of our demand gen strategy here at Demandbase. Here’s what she had to say:

Why direct mail?
A few years ago, direct mail was one of the best kept secrets in B2B marketing. Very few people were doing it, and those who were saw great results. Now it’s become more mainstream, and I think it’s because more and more marketers are realizing how difficult it is to capture and keep people’s attention.

Take me for example: I get about a dozen prospecting emails a day, and of those, I probably read one or two. That’s a pretty low response rate, even for B2B marketing. So when someone sends me something in the mail, it definitely gets my attention. It’s this ability to break through the noise that makes direct mail so effective.

So what goes into a successful direct mail campaign?
A successful direct mail campaign really comes down to one thing: sales and marketing alignment. You can send out the most incredible packages (Warriors tickets, anyone?), but if Sales isn’t invested in the campaign, they won’t bother to follow-up. And when Sales doesn’t follow-up, you’ve just wasted a lot of budget, time and energy.

You talked about aligning with Sales. Tell us more about that.
Aligning with Sales doesn’t just mean having them follow-up once the package is delivered. You need to work with Sales from the very beginning, from choosing the accounts you want to target and identifying the key contacts within those accounts. Once you’ve built a list Sales is excited about, you can work together to create messaging and follow-up emails.

Let’s say we’ve just run the best direct mail campaign ever. How do we measure it?
That’s a good question, and it’s one that comes up often. A lot of people think that since direct mail is an offline tactic, they need a whole new set of metrics to measure its impact. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You’ll want to measure direct mail the same way you measure all of your other campaigns, like webinars and whitepapers, with metrics that are tied to revenue.

At Demandbase, we run our fair share of direct mail campaigns, and while we high-five over anecdotes and Twitter mentions, we always go back to three metrics to measure our success:

  • Scheduled meetings
  • Meetings and phone calls completed
  • Pipeline and closed revenue

By measuring metrics that are tied to revenue (as opposed to say, measuring how many people received your packages), you can track the true impact of your direct mail campaigns and then use that data to inform future initiatives or even extend your program to customers or partners.

If you’d like to learn more about direct mail (or want a package from our team), you can send us a note @Demandbase.