Direct mail (DM): 3 winning campaign examples from B2B brands | B2B Marketing

Think direct mail (DM) is dead? Inbox overload means decision makers are paying more attention to what comes in the post.  Michael King looks at three examples of awesome B2B campaigns demonstrating DM is far from dead

1. Workfront: Finding your perfect match

Management software company Workfront recently ran a highly-targeted campaign – aimed at engaging with a competitor’s customers – after the rival announced it wouldn’t be investing further in its product.

The competing company issued a press release stating that it was looking to sell its marketing applications business and would no longer be supporting it. This gave Workfront a perfect opportunity to target its customers.

Workfront used a telemarketing company to do research to find users of the competitor’s product, and during that discovery phase, ask a series of questions about what those users liked/disliked about the product to help tailor its subsequent messaging.

The messaging was around a relationship break up, and looking for a partner who wouldn’t ‘dump you’, as well as ‘finding your perfect match’.

A bouquet of flowers was sent directly to premium prospects (the top 500) – who were identified using a predictive analytics tool – together with a handwritten miniature card with their personalised URL to create intrigue.

Using its analytics tool, Workfront identified a number of characteristics from accounts the company had previously won, such as the type and size of the company, the types of roles they were hiring or, what other software they used and how big their marketing team was as a few examples and matched these characteristics against target accounts.

Alongside this, 1500 Valentine’s cards were sent to additional prospects’ desks, also directing them to their personalised landing page.

Direct mail: 3 winning campaign examples

“Many of the premium prospects enjoyed receiving the flowers, especially as these were unexpected. The biggest problem with DM is getting people to open it, but who’s going to ignore a big bouquet of roses on their desks?” explains Workfront’s marketing director, Jada Balster. “It led to a lot of intrigue as to who had sent them and really positive feedback on the creativity. And the cards opened the door for our account development team to have conversations with companies who hadn’t necessarily heard of Workfront before and didn’t know there was an alternative product on the market.”

Workfront followed this up with an email campaign referencing the flowers, again directing them to their personalised web page. Out of the 2700 or so follow-up emails sent, Workfront received 465 responses, generating seven qualified sales opportunities and a pipeline of more than $370,000. 

2. O2’s personalised ‘Digital Dave’ hologram

O2’s ‘Digital Dave’ campaign idea (

read the full case study

) sought to address the frustration its existing customers felt about not having a consistent point of contact for any queries or complaints.

O2 also found that its average revenue per user was declining and the needs of its business customers changing, sparking the idea to extend into a new market offering digital services. Targeting existing customers would be key in driving new sales.

Getting in front of its IT-based audience and getting them to listen was hard for O2 because those professionals are notoriously very busy. Therefore, O2 needed sales collateral that worked extra hard as a result.

This led to the idea of targeting the top 50 key accounts with 50 customised messages to outline the personal service offered by O2, achieving its objective to open up conversations with top mid-market prospects and ultimately securing more sales appointments.

To achieve its objective, O2 sent a personalised digital hologram adviser (

Digital Dave

) to break the ice with those 50 prospects via direct mail and tracked each hologram to enable a member of the sales team to follow up with a call.

The digital hologram was sent in a DM pack to key prospects – in this case, to IT directors and managers – at each target business. These specific prospects were targeted because it was their responsibility to build a case for switching providers and then convince other key business decision-makers that this was the best course of action.

Customer feedback was very positive, and as O2’s head of mid-market acquisition Michael Maine explains: “The customer loved the innovative technology, as that’s the way they want their business to be.”

From concept to the analysis stage, the campaign took place over 17 weeks. In that period, the campaign generated ROI of 13 sales appointments and £2 million in sales.

3. RCI Financial Services – driving people to the portal

RCI Financial Services – UK finance partner to Renault, Nissan, Infiniti and Dacia – rolled out a direct mail campaign in an effort to persuade more of its existing customers to register to its online portal, where all their account information can be stored in one place, alongside FAQs and offers.

RCI called on the help of integrated marketing agency JJ Marketing to give its existing customers a clear idea of the benefits of activating their online account and how they could go about doing it.

JJ Marketing sent a four-page brochure directly to RCI’s existing customers, using creative and customer data in a way that made it very personal. It used customer name, town and car make on the inside left cover, and displayed what customers could do after activating their account on the inside right cover.

direct mail three winning campaign examples

To persuade more people into activating their registration, JJ used a prize draw. The idea behind this was if customers registered their account, they would be automatically entered into a prize draw to win £250 worth of IMO car wash vouchers.  

The campaign was a big success, delivering a significant number of registrations. Its impact was measured by analysing the number of portal registrations following the roll out of the DM, which was sent to 70,000 existing customers, achieving a click-through-rate of 9.51%. The total number of customers who activated their online portal wasn’t far short of 7000 – a conversion rate of 9.67%.

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