State of Sending 2020: 5 Direct Mail, Gifting, Swag Management Trends to Watch

By Brianna Valleskey on March 31, 2020

This week, we released our inaugural “State of Sending” report. Below are some snippets from the report with trends to watch in 2020. Click here to download the full report

The first quarter of the year has proven challenging for every facet of the sales and marketing industry. With an unprecedented number of people working remotely, finding ways to connect has never been more important. 

Sending direct mail, gifts, and swag has always been an excellent way to make contacts and strengthen connections to customers and prospects near and far. And in times like these when building relationships in person isn’t possible (and likely permanently for the future), sending has become a vital component of the overall playbook.

That’s why we wanted to share insights garnered from this report, so that sales, marketing, and customer teams everywhere can get a better understanding of how their colleagues and competitors are sending. Keep reading for an overview of the insights shared in the report, or download your complimentary copy here

Sending Gains Steam

Within recent years, more companies have been incorporating direct mail, gifting, and swag into their go-to-market mix, eager to rise above the noise of email and digital ads. And companies that have embraced sending are ramping up their programs, impressed with its results. In fact, with monthly sends of direct mail, gifts, and swag growing 36% year over year from 2018 to 2019. Experts in the industry expect this trend will continue to gain traction in 2020. 

More Teams Get Sending Power 

While sending is still most popular with marketing teams comprising 32% of overall users, more companies are realizing the power of personal connection across the organization. Customer success teams, sales teams, HR departments, SDRs and beyond are sending mail, gifts, and swag to connect with the prospect relationships they want to cultivate. 

While HR departments represent only a small portion of total use (just under 2%) they are using sending as both an internal retention and recognition tool, and an external tool for recruiting candidates and welcoming new hires to the organization. Sending has also gained traction with HR teams in recent weeks due to the need to engage newly remote workforces. (Learn how our team has been adjusting to that here.)

There is also a strong trend toward multi-team sending initiatives. Fifty percent of companies responding have at least three teams sending, and a robust 30% have five or more teams engaged in direct mail, gifting, and swag-based relationship-building. 

Senders Provide the Custom Experience

There are endless options for gifting. You can send dimensional mailers, eGift cards, handwritten notes, plants and personalized gifts that run the gamut from a simple gesture to an elaborate basket or swag collection.

But by an large, the most popular option for sending among our experts this year? Custom-branded bundles that both cut an impressive figure and allow for a truly personalized experience. These bundles can be personalized based on your campaign theme or the preferences of your recipient. They can integrate branded items, delicious treats, useful items, thoughtful messages, and more. 

Here were the other top five most popular sends in 2019 … 

  • Coffee: Branded beans perfect for giving your recipient a boost. 
  • Experiences: Sporting events, concerts, cultural events, and even airfare. 
  • Perishables: Fresh fruit, branded cupcakes, fine foods, and other sweet treats. 
  • eGift Cards: The gift that keeps on giving, providing your recipients with a world of choice. 

To learn more about the whole top 10 sends list— and find out which perishables are most popular among senders—download our report.

eGift Cards Take Off 

Pairing the ease of a digital send with the power of making a real-world connection, marketing, sales, and HR teams are embracing eGift cards in a big way. Companies sent 96% more eGift cards (including coffee and lunch eGifts) per month in 2019.

Personalization is a big part of the eGift trend; senders are taking the extra time to make an impression with pet lovers, athletes, movie buffs, outdoorsy types, and more. 

Impact-focused eGift cards are another popular option this year. With the help of organizations such as CharityChoice, senders can provide the funds for recipients to opt into a charity of their preference.

Integration Drives Results 

Integrations with marketing, sales, and customer tools are popular for sending; they can help you automate sends, trigger them based on criteria, and measure the return on the investment of your campaigns. 

We knew that many sales teams were including a direct mail or gift send in their automated prospecting sequences, but our research found that this integration had the largest share of voice among integration use.   

Owing to the success of these numbers—and the importance of integration in achieving and analyzing results—9 in 10 current senders report that they’ll be exploring integration for their sends in 2020.

How Will You Grow in 2020?

As more companies adopt direct mail, gifting, and swag as part of a multi-channel approach, they’ve reported some intriguing results: 

  • 73% of senders said they’ve experienced increased opportunity creation from sending 
  • 27% of senders said they’ve experienced increased close rates from sending 
  • 64% of senders said they’ve experienced increased campaign ROI from sending 

The success of sending over the last two years will only continue to gain steam. With a world of options available to connect with your audience and powerful tools at your disposal, there has never been a better time to rise above the noise and build meaningful relationships.

For more insights into the sending trends that will drive businesses this year, check out our full report: 2020 State of Sending

Sending our best to revenue and go-to-market teams during this time. We’re with you. 

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