How to Integrate Direct Mail and Marketing Automation

By Mathew Sweezey

Some people think that direct mail marketing doesn’t work. With marketing automation you create data to demonstrate how effective your direct mail marketing campaign is. You may agree that mass-blasting mail doesn’t work, with regular mail or email. However, targeted mailings work just as well as targeted email.

Here are the basic actions you need to take to integrate direct mail and your marketing automation tool:

  • Create a specific landing page/URL. This is the first move you can make to easily track your direct mail efforts. If you give people a special URL to go to for the offer, you know they came from that direct mail piece.

  • Use a PURL if your tool has this feature. PURL stands for Personalized URL. You can have your marketing automation tool generate a specific URL for each person. If, for example, you provide one person and only one person with the URL www2.companyname/Mathew-sweezey, and someone goes to this page, you can assume with a high degree of certainty that it was Mathew Sweezy.

    This is an older technology but is still useful in integrating the two technologies together. Do note that because this is an older approach, it’s no longer a common feature in marketing automation tools. It has been replaced with one URL for the campaign itself and uses the form mentioned in the preceding bullet to track the individual.

  • Direct mail-in automations. With more people using email, direct mail has little competition in the business-to-business (B2B) space. You might want to consider the following options:

    • Fully integrated solution: Only a few “fully” integrated marketing automation and direct mail tools exist. This means that the marketing automation tool is tied to a direct mail fulfillment house. So direct mail can be sent as one-off marketing pieces in the way that emails may be sent at triggered times. This fully integrated solution is usually an option only at the very high end of the marketplace.

    • Semi-integrated: Many tools have a marketplace through which vendors can add on other technologies. This means that direct mail vendors can add features to your application. This option comes standard with tools that fall below the very high end, as well as on most major applications.

    • Basic integration: The most basic way to tie in marketing automation with direct mail marketing is by using a list. This approach requires no integration with your tool; you just have to keep up with a list.

      When you want to send direct mail, you add the prospect to the list and periodically take the list to your direct mail fulfillment center and have the mail sent. This is by far the easiest for smaller companies.