Summer holidays mailing: Data-driven direct mail perfection

3 minute read

Never underestimate the power of good data. CreatorMail, a UK marketing agency, harnessed valuable customer data to make an efficient and effective direct mail campaign for Thomson Al Fresco, a leading bespoke holiday company. They tapped into customer demographics, records of customer vacation purchases, and search preferences to create custom mailings designed to entice each customer to purchase their dream vacation package from the company. It worked very well, leading to more vacation purchases for the business, and happier customers.

We’ve all done it — browsed travel agency websites for hours, planning trips we never actually booked. How would you feel if someone gathered all your search preferences, translated them into a brochure for an ideal-for-you vacation, and mailed it to your door? We would most likely be stunned and intrigued – just like the recipients of CreatorMail’s genius campaign. So intrigued that many of them booked the trip they were advertised. In fact, the mailing resulted in an additional 300 bookings compared to the company’s 2011 campaign.

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The campaign worked incredibly well because it offered a gentle nudge to customers who were already debating making a leap towards a purchase. Short of being a mind reader, gathering good data is the best way to get inside the heads of your customers.

Here’s what marketers should take away from this case study:

1. Collect more than standard data

While first names, last names and email addresses are a good starting point, the data you gather from customers can go way beyond that. Gathering detailed data is very helpful over the long term, especially if you want to show customers that you know them and understand what they like.

By keeping tabs on their search history, past booked vacation history, as well as their demographics and status (families with toddlers, families with children or couples with no kids, for example), Thomson Al Fresco had the opportunity to show its customers that it knew exactly what trips they might want to take. This data enabled Thomson Al Fresco to send a custom mailer to each recipient to inspire customers to shop with them again.

2. Use your data to the fullest

While many companies do a stellar job of gathering detailed data on their customers, most don’t have a clue what to do with it. Don’t just collect, analyze. Let your data speak to you. What patterns does it reveal to you? How can you leverage what you know about your customers to show them that you’re paying attention to them and their preferences? If you already have an outreach campaign planned, it would be a good idea to assess if you can integrate your existing customer data into that campaign to enhance it.

3. Don’t be too invasive

Gathering good data is a bit like walking a fine line – you can veer off course into dangerous ground if you aren’t careful. Don’t ask for (or take) too much from your customers, or you’ll risk violating their privacy and making them feel like they are under surveillance. The trick is to be subtle about data collection. Take up a minimal amount of their time, and ask important questions only.

Harnessing your customer data allows you to experiment with your communications, while minimizing risk in your outreach efforts. It’s kind of like taking a leap, with a net. What does your data say about your customers and how can you use it your advantage? Dig deep to find out.

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