How to Use Direct Mail and Gifting to Engage ABM Accounts

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November 2, 2022

4 mins read

feature image using direct mail and gifting to engage ABM accounts

How to Use Direct Mail and Gifting to Engage ABM Accounts

Nothing beats tangible stuff — as long as it’s relevant and on-strategy. And with ABM (account-based marketing) and ABX (account-based experience), you’re focusing on high-value prospects, so you can justify doing something special. Get creative!

The more focused your GTM and the better your account research are, the higher value offer you can deploy. A successful mailing might cost as much as a hundred to a thousand dollars per prospect — enough to make a real impact.

Breaking through the noise: High-value and highly personalized gifting can break through a noisy marketing landscape for senior executives who may not download white papers or attend webinars. Think about how many emails you get each day compared to how many packages land on your desk. According to a Mail Print study, the response rate for targeted direct mail is 4.4 percent — almost 40 times higher than email.

Cognitive psychology: Direct mail engages the parts of the brain that have to do with visual and spatial information. Physical material is more real to the brain and connects to your prospect’s memory and emotional centers. Furthermore, sending a gift to someone can increase the likelihood they’ll respond to your other outreach; it gives you a reason to reach out, and according to PFL, a direct mail vendor, people who receive packages are 10 times more likely to act when asked for something in return.

Impact duration: Research shows that a gift is forever bound to the giver. Get something valuable into people’s lives and they’ll remember you whenever they use it or see it. Kind of the opposite of email!

What kind of gifts?

Take information from sales conversations and social profiles to identify things the prospect enjoys, such as food, outdoor activities, travel, etc. (Note: Alyce, a B2B gifting vendor, uses AI to figure out a prospect’s personal interests for you.)

Then, surprise and delight them 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.


  • BT Global Services sent 100 Chief Security Officers an iPod Shuffle loaded with audio interviews and security-related tracks (RescueMe, etc.).
  • Another B2B company sent C-level executives an iPad pre-loaded with personalized video content and whitepapers.
  • Ariba sent executives a remote-control Porsche Boxster. To get the remote controller, they had to attend an event or take a meeting (a “give to get”).
  • Inkling sends a package with a die-cut printout of a gift, like an Amazon Echo, with a note asking the prospect to take a demo to get the real thing.
  • UberFlip used gifting to get 80 percent of their customers to complete onboarding tours.
  • Create a “swag menu” that the sales team can use to send ad hoc items on their own.
  • At Demandbase, we send gifts to advocates, thanking them for going on the journey with us.


Gifting Experiences eBook

Gifting tips

What about addresses?

Many databases don’t include a postal address for contacts, especially a home address. Companies can solve this simply by letting the prospect know they have a gift and asking them to confirm the correct address. Or they can leverage e-gifting, which can range from a $5 gift card to encourage prospects to show up for a meeting, to a nice meal delivered via Uber Eats, to a significant contribution to the charity of their choice.

Don’t ignore the team!

Go beyond the decision maker. If you’re sending fancy direct mail to an executive, consider sending gift cards to other influencers on the account who might otherwise feel left out.

Alternatively, send packages that require people to get together and discuss your solution. We had one customer send a locked box to one stakeholder and the key to another, with a note prompting them to get together. Or, if people are together in one office, you can send a box of branded cupcakes or cookies.

The personal note

Handwritten, personal notes can have just as big an impact as the high-value direct mail piece — as long as they’re timely, well- targeted, and demonstrate insight about the recipient. And direct mail vendors can generate and deliver handwritten (or apparently handwritten) notes based on automated plays.

Get your copy of my book, The Definitive Guide to Smarter GTM™ with Account Intelligence and ABM/ABX. You can download it here.

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Jon Miller

Former CMO, Demandbase

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