How effective is direct mail?

Real insights in effectivity of direct mail.

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About EasyLife

Serving 5000+ customers, this professional housekeeping company has 12 offices in Belgium and employs 700+ staff members. Besides offering domestic cleaning, they also provide services such as ironing and grocery shopping. Their system is efficient and user friendly as clients can register online in order to request a housekeeper.

The Goal

Our task was to analyse the online and offline marketing efforts of EasyLife and determine which of these provided the best return on investment (ROI), and to ensure that the budget available was being fed into the most effective advertising channels. While online advertising is transparent in its outcome, offline is more difficult to gauge. The main challenge was whether the flyers that EasyLife spreads via direct mail had a positive ROI.

Our Translation of the Goal

Our gut instinct told us that the cost of producing and distributing flyers far outweighed the number of customers gained, resulting in a negative ROI. But we needed the data to prove this hypothesis. When we collect this kind of data, we insist on it being clean and comprehensive – in other words, it must be indisputable and every interaction that could potentially create value must be measured. This allows us to acquire a holistic overview of the response rate.

 

Our strategy included measuring the impact of every marketing effort by EasyLife, both on and offline. Once we determined which methods were the most effective, we would be able to advise on how to allocate budget. As a result, we would help the company to realise maximal ROI with the available budget.

 

  • Collect quantitative data to measure ROI
  • Measure every interaction that could create value
  • Determine the most effective marketing methods

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Dennis Peeters, Manager at The House of Marketing

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"The first meeting with Bossdata was enlightening. I’ve spoking with many other ‘online-marketing-agencies’. The guys at Bossdata started with a police-like interrogation : who are you, what do you want, how are you going to get it,… . Honestly, it freaked me out, what did this guys want from me? Then it struck to me: understanding who we are, what our goals were was their blueprint. They analyse every possible solution to achieve my goal. Until today they still bother me weekly with new ideas and results. I’m getting a little bit tired of them, but I’ll survive!"

Louis Balleger, Owner & CEO of Easylife

Metrics we Measure

Unique Website Visits & Telephone Calls

Each flyer listed a unique URL with a tailored landing page along with a unique telephone number.

Branded & Direct Traffic

Monitor the number of people who arrived at the website directly or via a branded search.

Offline data

Calculate the number of walk-in customers at each of the branch offices of EasyLife.

From Goal to Action

When using flyers as a form of direct mail marketing, it’s important to implement tactical strategies that allow you to track how effective they are.

 

To ensure that we could receive feedback on any interaction created by the flyers, and therefore measure the value generated, we produced flyers specific to each region in which they were being distributed. Each flyer listed a unique URL with a tailored landing page along with a unique telephone number. All of this together allowed us to accurately evaluate the interactions resulting from the flyers while separately quantifying all other interactions.

 

In addition we monitored the number of people who arrived at the website directly or via a branded search, because there was a possibility that potential customers might have seen the flyer and searched for ‘EasyLife’. However, we did not see a significant increase in direct or branded traffic during the period that the flyers were spread. Lastly, we also calculated the number of walk-in customers at each of the 12 different branch offices of EasyLife.

 

  • Target different regions with specific flyers
  • Create unique URLs, landing pages and telephone numbers
  • Compare online and offline efforts to determine which is more profitable
Yes

Actionable insights

Yes

Increase in ROI

Definitely

Better allocation of budget

Yes

Positive impact on the entire business

Results

We directed our marketing campaigns towards several different regions but overall we did not see a significantly positive effect on new customer numbers. There was a small increase in clients, but the value of this new business did not justify the cost involved in producing the flyers. Furthermore, there was no considerable difference in effectiveness of the direct mail campaign between the existing regions and the new ones we targeted.

 

The results proved our original hypothesis to be correct: creating and distributing the flyers was a costly but largely ineffective exercise. They were not generating a high enough response rate and therefore they were not a profitable form of advertising. In turn, the company was able to reduce costs and subsequently realise a higher ROI.

 

*It should be noted that the Easylife thesis cannot be generalised for all companies. Although in this case the flyers did not achieve the desired marketing effect, this is not necessarily true for every business. It is also possible that the flyers themselves could have been at fault. For every individual business, market and situation, the results could be different. Which is why it is always essential to test the marketing campaigns in the field and measure the response received.

What’s Next?

Direct mail campaigns may be considered a tried-and-tested advertising tool but their success often depends on the type of business and customer as well as supporting campaigns that run concurrently and help to secure new business. In many cases, they have proven to be effective, but it’s important to measure the results.

 

For EasyLife, we advised that the company stop spending money on producing and distributing flyers and rather allocate this budget to more ROI positive marketing channels. This way, the company will experience both growth and profit.

 

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