By Elyssa Steiner
Director of Marketing
USA Technologies



You hear about direct mail coming back, but how many times do you look at advertisement postcards in the mail? Many people are like my husband, who throws mailers away before he even gets into the house! So, how do you leverage direct mail to truly break through the digital noise and make an impact on your business? In this article I will share a direct mail program that my company implemented, including key learnings. Hopefully, it will inspire your next package delivery to your target accounts.

The Pursuit of Top Target Accounts

USA Technologies realized early on that when going after top accounts, or what others may refer to as “whales,” email and our standard tactical methods were yielding poor results. With that in mind, marketing met with sales and found out that if they could get a meeting with a prospect that was more of a consultation, rather than a product pitch, they were seeing higher close rates.

So, we decided to see how marketing could help. After understanding more about key prospects (their business model, customers, pain points, etc. ) we targeted only those target accounts where our reps were not getting their foot in the door, i.e., no return call, nor any response from the prospect. These became our direct mail opportunities.

The Power of the Nike Shoe

Our objective was to get consultation meetings with our 40 identified targeted accounts. We called it the Nike Shoe Campaign and  it included: prospects receiving a box with toddler size Nike shoes inside and a postcard/flyer that read, “Trade Up – If you schedule a consultation meeting with us, we will swap out these toddler shoes for a pair in your size.”

The concept was not only fun and playful, but one we knew would resonate with our audience of mostly males in their mid40’s to 50’s on average, who typically played golf.  We sent pre and post emails to the targets to ensure they knew a package was coming, and to also tie the campaign message in a digital form as well.

A Cheeky Door Opener with an ROI

So, what happened after the mailer was complete? We had a few individuals reply to our post-package arrival email and one company set up a meeting right away. The prospect scheduled a consultation meeting, and we closed a deal in the next few months. One prospect was all we needed to out-weigh the costs of our investment.

Key Learnings for Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

  1. Work hand-in-hand with sales to understand their strategy. Meet with them regularly, ask how are winning new business, where they struggle, and what paths have led to success. If you can understand and uncover what works, then you just need to figure out how marketing can close the gap to making it work 10 times more, so sales is more effective in doing what they do best, closing the deal.
  2. Understand your target audience. Do persona development to really hone in on who your target is, what they like (brands, products, etc.), and what they do outside of work.
  3. The cheekier the better. A play on words can always make someone laugh, so think of a creative way to grab their attention. If your prospect golfs on the weekends, what if you sent them a small sand trap for their desk with a play on “let’s get you out of the trap and onto the course.” You get the idea, have fun with it!
  4. Engage the prospect and track success. At the end of the day, always track and define success. For us the objective was to get our foot in the door, to engage with a prospect by setting up a meeting, and ultimately to convert them to a customer. For us one deal made it worth the investment, so take the time, define the metrics, and track against it.

In the end, direct mail can be not only a door opener, but it can be another great addition to your overall marketing strategies. Remember every customer is different, so take the time to understand who they are and how you can best support sales in their daily paths to securing the next customer.

As the Director of Marketing for USA Technologies, a software services company that provides end-to-end technology solutions for the self-service retail market, Elyssa develops and implements marketing strategies to strengthen the company’s demand generation, marketing communications, event management, and product marketing initiatives. She subscribes to the theory that marketing is the soul of the company, and strives to bring out the soul of USA Technologies for the world to see!

Before joining USA Technologies, formerly Cantaloupe Systems, Elyssa served as the VP of Sales and Marketing for Avanti Markets, where she grew and educated a new segment in the unattended retail industry, micro markets. In this role, she learned how to be a leader who thrives on the success of her individual team members; today she carries this knowledge with her and applies it to all her marketing initiatives.

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