Have You Considered These Creative ABM Email and Direct Mail Plays?

Think Account Based Everything is relegated to phone outreach from your sales team? Think again.

Marketers are like coaches, preparing their players to perform, galvanizing their team towards victory, and choosing when to execute winning plays.

In the playbook of strategies at your disposal, remember the opportunity that email and direct mail provide to creatively engage with your prioritized target accounts.

The rise of direct mail.

Direct mail doesn’t get the attention of more recent digital tactics, but it still grabs a major share of budget for many companies. Because of the focus on highly targeted lists of high-value prospects, direct mail has found a key role in Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling strategies.

The response rate for targeted direct mail is 4.4% – almost 40 times higher than email at 0.12%
– Mail Print study

High-value and highly personalized dimensional mail can break through a noisy marketing landscape for senior executives who may not download white papers or attend webinars. While the digital environment becomes more cluttered via email, online ads, social media, and more, direct mail can be seen as a relief from the chaos.

“There’s a resurgence in direct mail for ABM. I get one or two mailings a day, compared with hundreds of emails. I notice a good piece of direct mail.”
– Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg

In the past, direct mail options were limited as to how creative or out-of-the-box (pun intended) one could get. Today, you can send video content in a physical brochure. You can experiment with augmented reality. You can embed near field communication to communicate directly to a smartphone from a piece of mailing.

Consider these 3 creative examples of direct mail.

  1. BT Global Services sent 100 Chief Security Officers an iPod Shuffle pre-loaded with audio interviews and security-related tracks (Rescue Me, etc.)
  2. Another B2B company sent C-level executives an iPad pre-loaded with personalized video content and white papers.
  3. Ariba famously sent executives a remote control Porsche Boxter. To get the remote controller, they had to attend an event or take a meeting (a “give to get”).

The personal touch.

Simple, 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. Consider services like Bond.co, which can generate and deliver handwritten (or seemingly handwritten) notes from an online web form.

“Digital is high tech, low touch… direct mail is low tech, high touch.”
– Sangram Vajre, Terminus

And don’t ignore the team! Go beyond the decision-maker. If you’re sending fancy direct mail to an executive, consider sending $5 gift cards to other influencers on the account who might otherwise feel left out.

One-to-one human email.

In account-based strategies, email is not a broadcast medium like it’s used in traditional demand generation (in fact, ABM teams often remove their contacts from broader lead generation and generic nurture mailing programs.) Email is also simply not the cog in an automated campaign or nurture flow. Instead, ABM email is a one-to-one human communications medium, with each email carrying a distinct, personal message to the prospect.

When used in this way, control of emails in an Account Based Everything context tends to pass from marketing to sales. Marketing may create email content, but the SDR, sales rep, or customer support professional will decide who it goes to – often with considerable personalization.

Make an offer they can’t refuse.

Some organizations choose to supply a $50 gift certificate for attending a one-house online product demonstration. This method can be very effective, but you’ll want to target such expensive offers at the right people in the right accounts.

“It’s not unusual to see 5, 7 or 9 touches to get a prospect to move to the next stage of conversion.”
– J.J. Kardwell, EverString

When considering how to engage your target accounts, remember that a cross-channel approach will almost always outperform that which relies too heavily on one method of delivery.

Now, get out there and get your targeted message in front of the people you most need to meet!

What’s working for you in direct mail and email?

Jon Miller
Jon Miller
Jon Miller is CEO and founder of Engagio. Previously, Jon was the VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. He is a speaker and writer about marketing best practices, and is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. Jon has a passion for helping marketers everywhere, and is on the Board of Scripted and is an advisor to Optimizely and Newscred. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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