DirectMail.com Offers Passports to a World of Data

Promotional ballpoint pens and “To Do” memo pads are typical take-home items from your average print shop tour. Visitors to the Prince Frederick, MD, offices of DirectMail.com, however, receive a personalized passport that looks surprisingly like the real thing.

From the familiar gold seal on the dark blue cover to the complex guilloche pattern on the interior, the DirectMail.com Passport is a realistic simulation of the official document—but wisely, the phrase “NOT INTENDED FOR USE AS A TRAVEL DOCUMENT” is clearly displayed on the back cover. A digital photo snapped on-site at the beginning of the tour appears above each participant’s unique “Passport No.,” along with the relevant tour date and realistic entry stamps.

International Tours

The passport is an appropriate symbol for DirectMail.com, whose international guests have included Chinese trade groups and a British fundraising counsel. According to Kirk Swain, principal of DirectMail.com, these tours are an important way to inform existing clients and potential prospects about their full range of available services. Offering web offset continuous forms shells for monochrome laser imprinting as well as full-color cut-sheet digital printing, the company can satisfy the needs of businesses both large and small.

“What we’ve found with the plant tours,” explains Swain, “Is that we may have brought a client in to discuss a specific mail package or campaign, but they’re not even aware of our other capabilities. Folks who visit the shop like to see the noisy stuff, like our web presses, but what we really like to do is showcase the ways we can enhance their data.”

Passports symbolize the ability to move across geographic boundaries, a concept that is at the heart of DirectMail.com’s patented GeoSelector system. Rather than forcing users to define areas of interest by a specific radius, the data segmentation technology of GeoSelector allows marketers to create polygons that encompass specific neighborhoods while accommodating natural boundaries such as rivers and mountains.

“And we’re accurate down to the rooftop,” notes Joe Leger, vice president of Data and Analytics. “You could draw a line down the center of a street; you could circle just a single subdivision or an apartment complex, or any combination of such choices, into a series of distinct polygons. Our customers know exactly where they want to mail to, and now they can truly pinpoint that mail.”

Response Rates

Evoking the best possible response from the prospects on each client’s list is critical to DirectMail.com’s mission, and a variety of techniques can be leveraged to realize that goal. For example, a direct mail campaign might offer participants the chance to respond via a traditional Business Reply Card (BRC) or via the Internet, using the company’s internally developed personalized URL (PURL) platform.

“Increasingly, direct mail is driving the response, but that response is coming back through a different channel,” Leger says. “If you take a look at one of our key accounts and how they did business five years ago, they were receiving 60 percent of their responses through BRCs, and the rest came in to an 800 number. Recent mailings for that client have included a personalized URL, and as a result we’ve seen the BRC responses drop off to only 25 percent, with the balance coming in through the personalized URL.”

Beyond the ability to track the campaign’s success more quickly and easily, the company has discovered an unexpected advantage to capturing response data online. “What’s key is that we can actually collect more data,” observes Leger. “A very high percentage of people who respond to the PURL are willing to provide additional data, including their email address, phone number, interests—even when it’s not required.”

Innovative software, leading-edge data analytics, and deep experience with traditional mailing techniques have all made DirectMail.com a hot destination for marketers.

“Its not just single-channel anymore,” says Leger. “We’re seeing real combined channel campaigns now. We also recognize that recipients want to respond using a variety of different methods. What ties it all together is the relevance of the message, and a personalized document—whether it’s a letter, a statement, or a passport—makes it relevant to them.”

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