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B2B Direct Mail Marketing

B2B Direct Mail Marketing

In 1983, David Ogilvy referred to direct mail as the “secret weapon in the avalanche of new business acquisitions” which catapulted his agency to “an instant success.”
A decade and a half later, however, the rise of digital marketing was said to usher in a “new era” of marketing, replacing direct mail with email, digital ads, and inbound tactics.

But as we welcome a brand new decade, many B2B marketers are assessing their marketing mix and integrating direct mail marketing into their holistic marketing strategies, and there’s little surprise why:

  • Campaigns including direct mail are 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance, and 40% more likely to deliver top-ranking acquisition levels, versus campaigns without mail.
  • 57% of people claim that receiving mail makes them feel more valued. Sending mail creates a more genuine two-way relationship between the brand and consumer.
  • Direct mail is easier to understand and more memorable than digital media. It requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and elicits a much higher brand recall.

Direct mail isn’t a B2B marketing tactic of yore. Instead, it’s a touchpoint you need to incorporate into your 2020 marketing and sales strategies to see the solid results. Here are best practices to drive an effective B2B direct mail marketing campaign.

How to Use B2B Direct Mail Marketing Throughout the Funnel

Direct mail marketing tactics are effective throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Everything from driving brand awareness to preventing customer churn rates can be strengthened through direct mail efforts. For instance:

  • Top-of-funnel B2B marketing: Direct mail marketing can be an effective tool to drive brand awareness at your targeted accounts. If your goal is to encourage prospects at targeted accounts to book a demo, consider sending them a handwritten note introducing your brand, and follow-up with an email to book a demo. The personal touch of a handwritten note will make it more likely for them to open your email.
  • Mid-funnel B2B marketing: After your targeted accounts are aware of your brand, it’s likely they’re evaluating if your product is the right fit for their current needs. Direct mail is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can even use it to reward a prospect or customer’s engagement with your company. For instance, after a prospect or customer attends a webinar, send an eGift coffee with a quick note saying ‘thank you.’
  • Bottom-of-funnel B2B marketing: By the time prospects reach the bottom of the funnel, they know about you, and they’ve taken the time to understand your company. To get your prospects across the finish line, send them personalized direct mail and gifts.

Your upfront direct mail investment is dependent on the buying stage of your buyers. You’ll like invest more in a prospect who is at the bottom of the funnel, than you would a prospect at the top of funnel. It simply wouldn’t make sense to spend $20 or more dollars on every top-of-funnel prospect, when you can be more strategic and save big sends for prospects who are more likely to purchase.

B2B Direct Mail Ideas and Examples

Direct Mail for Brand Awareness

This has traditionally been the main goal of direct mail campaigns, but there are still ways to go above and beyond old school coupon mailers.

  • Small “out-of-the box” swag item: AirPods case, car freshener, metal tumbler, fidget pens, hand lotion, etc.
  • Branded mints, energy drink, or bag of coffee to fuel people’s day or give them an energy boost at events.
  • Coded message that recipients have to wear 3D glasses to read—either hand out in person or mail them to your audience.

Direct Mail for Demand Generation

Unlike brand awareness, your demand generation sends should have a clear call-to-action that drive recipients to take the next step.

  • Oversized postcards with a short link to a targeted landing page you want prospects to visit.
  • Branded bottles of wine for the top target accounts in your account-based marketing campaign.
  • $5 coffee eGift card for people who fill out a form on your website: newsletter signup, eBook download, webinar registration, etc.

Discover more ideas for B2B Direct Mail Marketing in the 63 Unique Ways to Use Direct Mail in the Digital Age ebook.

Direct Mail for Account-Based Execution

Many B2B companies have adopted an account-based-marketing (ABM) strategy that targets accounts (i.e. companies) rather than generating as many “leads” as possible. Given that ABM is all about creating a stronger connection with each account, it’s not surprising that direct mail is a key aspect of a successful ABM program. Here are some tips to see the most success out of your direct mail efforts in an ABM campaign.

Tips for ABM Direct Mail Marketing

1. Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales


B2B organizations operating an account-based approach cite bridging the gap between sales and marketing one of the top challenges. It’s always important for marketing and sales to develop target account lists together. But when incorporating direct mail into your ABM strategy, it’s absolutely vital for both departments to work closely to ensure you’re focusing your efforts on the most valuable prospects. After all, you don’t want to dwindle your precious marketing budgets on direct mail campaigns that aren’t likely to convert prospects into paying customers.


When operating an ABM model, it’s likely that the same prospects will be nurtured by marketing and sales while they move through the funnel. Therefore, as packages are delivered to accounts, it’s important for everyone on the team to be kept in the loop. Consider bringing on a Sending Platform that automatically sends updates to internal stakeholders attached to a campaign. The right Sending Platform will also align sales and marketing follow-up activities after direct mail packages are delivered. It should even suggest packages that have historically been successful with similar audiences throughout the buyer’s journey for quicker, intuitive direct mail sends.


2. Engage the Entire Buying Committee


On average, more than 15 individuals are responsible for making the decisions for enterprise purchases. From the lowest on the totem pole, to the final decision makers, each one has a voice in the buying process. But it can be difficult to keep the entire committee engaged and excited about your solution. Direct mail creates the kind of buzz that gets the entire account talking and influences decision-makers; it gets your marketing message noticed, and your solutions considered.


A great strategy to engage multiple people in the buying committee is to send a gift that they can share like cupcakes, a bottle of wine, or even a board game. Additionally, tangible pieces of marketing leave a more profound impact on the brain and people tend to take an immediate, emotional investment in direct mail.


3. Operate a Tiered Approach


Taking a tiered approach to ABM will enable you to scale your ABM efforts more easily. Here’s a quick overview of how it works:


  • Strategic ABM: One-to-one ABM with a very limited number of accounts worth seven figures (or more) annually.
  • Scale ABM: One-to-few ABM for high-value accounts worth six-figures grouped into micro-segments.
  • Programmatic ABM: One-to-many ABM for five-figure accounts that are worth some customization and personalization.


If you’re interested in seeing a few successful ABM plays our friends at Engagio executed throughout the customer journey, check out this blog.

How Modern Data Improves Direct Mail

Direct Mail Plays for ABM

After you’ve segmented your accounts, research each segment to understand what direct mail sends will appeal to prospects throughout the buyer’s journey. Here are some direct mail plays you can copy for accounts in every category:

  • Strategic (One-to-one) ABM: Your strategic ABM efforts should be limited to priority accounts or those late in the decision making process. As such, the direct mail packages you send to prospects in this group will be highly personalized and might require a bigger investment. An impactful direct mail send for buyers in this stage might be a pair of branded headphones or a sports team jersey.
  • Scale (One-to-few) ABM: Scale ABM efforts are an effective method to surround the buying committee and build meaningful connections with prospects at a lower investment than one-to-one campaigns. A solid direct mail send for buyers in this stage might be a surprise swag box or a desk succulent.
  • Programmatic (One-to-many) ABM: Programmatic ABM efforts should focus on driving awareness and prioritizing accounts based on engagement and insights gleaned during initial conversations. A good send for buyers in this stage might be an eGift or a handwritten note.

If you need more inspiration for your B2B direct mail marketing campaigns, head over to our resource center. Eager to learn how Sendoso can help you become a B2B direct mail send-star? Let’s chat.

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Peter Tarrant, Account Based Marketer, Tipalti

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