By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Late in 2015 we started producing a radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which currently runs every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific. It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.
We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests coming up. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg. Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise. Recent Guests: Jim Keenan; Joanne Black; Aaron Ross; Josiane Feigon, Meagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.
We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes. You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.
Why is direct mail back?
What problem does PFL solve for its customers?
When people say that direct mail is old school or irrelevant, how do you typically respond?
Tell us how PFL is taking an offline channel and making it high tech.
Demonstrating ROI is a key priority for marketers. What’s the biggest mistakes marketers make when measuring the success of their campaigns?
Marketing changing rapidly over the past several years. What can marketers do to keep up?
A bit about our guest, Daniel Gaugler:
Daniel is a business-driven, entrepreneurial-minded marketer with an extensive background in: marketing automation, integrated marketing programs, direct mail, search engine marketing, eCommerce, email, and direct sales. He has a proven track record of implementing multi-channel marketing systems that leverage technology to drive awareness, acquire customers, grow sales, and improve the customer experience.
Connect with him on Twitter
Matt: I appreciate everyone joining us on Sales Pipeline Radio today. You can join us every week at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific right here on Sales Pipeline Radio. You can always catch us on salespipelineradio.com and you can always catch past episodes at salespipelineradio.com or through our podcast at Google Play or the iTunes store. Every week we are featuring some of the best in B2B sales and marketing leaders insights, and today is no exception. Very excited to have with us Daniel Gaugler who is the CMO at PFL. Those are a lot of acronyms, but I’m going to have him talk a little about what he’s working on these days and sort of what is not just a return to direct mail, but the rise of tactile marketing and integrating online and offline channels to increase regeneration and prospect engagement. Daniel, thanks so much for joining us today.
Daniel: Yeah, thanks for having me man. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Matt: So, talk a little bit about your role, and more importantly the evolution of PFL, and why you guys are such a champion of not only better integrated marketing, but increasing tactile marketing, and physical marketing and physical mailers and physical mailing marketing opportunities in today’s more digital age.
Daniel: Absolutely. I’ll give you just a little bit of context on just PFL. PFL is actually better known as PrintingForLess.com. Just in terms of the hundreds of thousands of customers we’ve served offering standard printing services via e-commerce. We have been around since 1999. We were the first people to do that. Over the years we’ve evolved beyond just providing print to evolving to solutions that really help people get more value out of those interactions with their customers. That’s what we’ll talk about just a little bit today.
My world here … I’ve been with the company for 12 years. I started in customer service and did a variety of different things throughout my path to CMO. I’ve been a CMO for about half that time and today it’s really about evolving our brand. Evolving our strategy on how do we really help our customers be successful with tactile marketing and direct mail in a new and different era?
Matt: So why is direct mail back? What is it about direct mail that is working well? Is it something different that we’re seeing today? What is it that’s working so well now?
Daniel: I think there’s a lot of factors that play into that. So, direct mail was kind of a forgotten channel. I think largely because it was so much easier to move to digital, and people were seeing such great results with digital marketing. My career largely was stemmed around digital marketing, even for a good chunk of that when I was working at a printing company. We focused really, really heavily on digital marketing. A big part of that is because it was difficult. It was hard to actually get a campaign. It was hard to just get it out the door to get your list and all these different details. Whereas doing some digital marketing, sending emails, doing display advertising was kind of a few clicks. It seemed a lot easier, and it seemed like it was lower cost, and we could get more benefit out of it because of the number of people.
That was kind of a continuation of the trend in television and radio of mass media marketing. It’s why we were having such success with digital marketing, it’s not that we were such great marketers, it was just because of the pure volume of what we were able to do with a somewhat captive audience. A lot of that has changed today. Thank God we don’t have AOL saying “You’ve got mail!” every time we get an email, right? Because it would just be a continual hum all the time. I think marketers fled from direct mail. We kind of forgot about it as a channel. Our inboxes aren’t that full, and now we have a whole new generation of business people who haven’t really been exposed to it, but actually really enjoy it. That’s millennials. There is a bunch of research out there that says how much value … how much they enjoy checking the mail, they enjoy getting mail and particularly dimensional components.
Matt: You know, I think that we get so many emails, we get so many digital ads in front of us, and I think a lot of marketers are enamored with the marketing of more. Right? More emails, more digital, more clicks, more retweets, and maybe aren’t doing the math on what it’s really worth to get the attention of their most important prospects.
Yes direct mail costs a little more. In many cases, yes it may take a little more time to get up next to you. But are we worried about more, or are we worried about better? Are we worried about better quality? Do we want responses and metrics and conversions that we can buy a beer with? I think for me, that’s one of the reasons why direct mail is really becoming more involved in marketing programs, especially in strategic account environments.
Daniel: Absolutely. I can’t agree more, and I think that connection … the higher impact that people kind of crave too, because the impact of an email, or the next banner that you see today is just not that great to a customer. So how do you show from a marketer’s standpoint that you value a customer’s time and how do you have a little bit higher impact piece? I think direct mail fulfills that need from both the customer’s perspective, and from the marketers perspective.
One thing I think also, just kind of a fun thing for marketers, as a digital marketer, I really only get to think in 2D. I know there’s augmented reality, and virtual reality and stuff that is coming, and that will be a channel that marketers are able to leverage, but in digital marketing I really get 2D. When I go to direct mail now, I can do 3D. Because I don’t have to send a postcard or letter, I can send a package, things like that. So, from a creativity level, it’s a lot of fun to work on projects like that. We see that from a lot of our customers who just are really excited about the things they can create now.
Matt: Do you tend to see that you’re working with marketers that are really making the jump from quantity to quality, that are more focused on sales pipeline contribution, more focused on sales metrics? Is that another reason why they are now looking at direct mail as a tool that can more directly and more precisely achieve those revenue results?
Daniel: Absolutely. So, be more strategic. How do I reach the people I really want? How do I reach the people I really want? How to form a relationship that is of value? It’s not just about if I send 10,000 emails, 20% will open and 1% will click, and that will work. And then on that more targeted demand, that’s also happening with more traditional mailers that we might think of. Large B2C companies as well are also looking at how do I become more focused in people who enjoy getting direct mail, respond to direct mail, who result in a purchase. How do I identify who those folks are? How do I find more people like them? How do I target them as well?
We’re seeing it from people who are just starting to do a strategic count focus, who may have been largely digital marketers. We’re also seeing it from the traditional folks who are the big mailers today, move towards this more strategic target approach with direct mail.
Matt: So it’s one thing to say we have a strategic approach to our direct mail, and saying direct mail is making a comeback, but one of the things I really like about the approach you’re taking is this isn’t stand-alone direct mail programs. You guys are doing a nice job of integrating these with their campaigns and really taking what has been an offline channel and making it high-tech. Talk a little more about what that means for PFL and what you’re seeing in the market that’s driving success.
Daniel: The reason we are having success, and our customers are having success with direct mail is not because we think of it as a single channel, because the reality of it is we don’t live in a single channel world. We have lots of different things coming at us. So we don’t make a decision to buy or to engage with a company based on a single interaction, and that’s what we are really setting out to help marketers understand, and be able to do is to … okay great, we can have an orchestrated experience across both digital marketing and our offline marketing. Those things can work together. They can use the same sort of message. They can inform each other, and they can just make all of our marketing way more powerful from the consumer and customer’s perspective.
Matt: Now, how do you know what’s working? Attribution becomes a bit of a challenge here and I think when you’re doing digital channels across social versus email versus targeted online adds, attribution is a little easier. Is it more of a challenge when you integrate the offline channels as well, and how do you solve that problem?
Daniel: Not really. I think the biggest problem we have with attribution, particularly in B2B is we want to give credit to “I did this, and this is what it resulted in.” As I mentioned before, we don’t make a decision on those one things, and so I think we have to look at the interaction, or the multiple interactions that lead up to that sale. At PFO we did our own test, pretty extensively, on doing a four way test on what we call our four dimensional campaign. That includes email, display, which we include social in, direct mail and then web personalization. What we found is when we took any one of those components out of our campaign, the amount of list we lost was significant. Different channels add a different value, but at the end of the day we would be silly not to make sure we’re doing at least those four things on every single one of our campaigns.
Matt: Talking to Daniel Gaugler today who is the CMO at PFL. You can find them at PFL.com. Before we have to Jump to break here in a couple minutes, you guys are based in Bozeman, Montana, which is not always thought of as the hotbed of marketing technology leadership, but you guys have really come on the scene in a big way, and created a really unique culture. Someone who’s been there for, I think 12 plus years, talk a little bit about the advantage of building a company sort of in the middle of God’s country. Quite frankly, I’ve been out to where you guys are at. It’s amazing.
In the couple of minutes we got before break, just talk a little about what culture and what location has meant for the growth and success of PFL.
Daniel: There comes challenges and opportunities with it. I think one of the big positives of being in Montana is the people, the work ethic, the friendliness, and that comes out and how we work with our customers. We really like that. From a business perspective, it also drives the kind of business we create and build. We are the largest employer in our town, outside of the university and hospital. It is the largest private employer and so that guides a lot of our principles on how we run our business, and so it’s a sustainable business. It’s not a built to flip or anything like that because we value the jobs that we create for our local employees, and also the service we provide for our customers. Building an evergreen company is how it’s impacted the culture and we also bring in a little Montana fun so I’m doing this interview with my dog Daisy in the room and hopefully you won’t hear her, but she’s a good dog.
Matt: Well Daisy is welcome to join Sales Pipeline Radio any time. Maybe we’ll come up with a question or two.
No, I’m kidding
We’re going to take a quick break, we’ve got to pay some bills. We’ll be right back with more from Daniel, talking about offline marketing, talking about what we have coming up future episodes.
We’ll be right back! Sales Pipeline Radio
Paul: All right, and after you’ve done that rush right back because Matt’s got a lot more with his guest.
Matt: Thank you very much Paul. Thanks again everyone for joining us for Sales Pipeline Radio. If you are back listening to us live, thank you so much for joining us. If you’re listening to us through the podcast, I hope you’re enjoying what you see here, what you hear here. If you’d like to hear more from Daniel at PFL, you can definitely catch this episode on demand again at salespipelineradio.com in a couple days.
We are here every week at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. In the next couple weeks we’ve got John Hall who is going to join us and talk about influence. How to get it, earn it and keep it in B2B sales and marketing. That’s next week on Sales Pipeline Radio. Coming up after that Martin Lindstrom is going to talk about neuromarketing. We’ve been teasing this for a while Paul. Martin thinks neuromarketing is going to be the next buzzword in B2B. I can tell you right now I have no idea what that means, but we’re going to find out while Martin joins us. Following Martin we’ve got some great presentations, great guests including Grant Cardone, Michael Pici from Hubspot, Nadjya Ghausi from Prezi. Going to talk about conversational sales presentations. Lots of great topics on a variety of angles on B2B sales and marketing today. We’re going to continue our conversation with Daniel Gaugler, who is the CMO at PFL. We’re talking about offline marketing, omni channel marketing, best practices for integrating it with your organization.
We’ve been talking mostly Daniel about the marketing team, an how they are using direct mail, and integrating direct mail into other channels. How are sales organizations using this? Either as they integrate with their marketing organizations as they are using their CRM and doing their own sort of field sales efforts, what do you see in the trends there?
Daniel: I think we see sales people do their own direct mail campaigns, their own marketing for years and that is one of the things that PFL is set out to help fix. Do you have a sales person who is packaging up a book, maybe it was written by the CEO, and writing a note and send it to someone, or taking some swag items, or maybe it’s a printed copy of the white paper, and doing their own kind of … call it guerrilla marketing, account based marketing, and the problem with that is, our sales people are not spending enough time actually doing selling activities. Right now they’re finding swag, and they’re writing notes, and they’re putting it in a box and taking it down to the post office or UPS drop off to get that in the mail.
One of our solutions, connect them with sales force. The sales person is able to get access to all of those assets. From swag, to gifts, to books, to white papers. Whatever marketing or the sales organization want to make available to them, and now they can have the power, choose that item, write a personalized note, and send it, and that gets directly delivered to their prospect. And additionally, when it gets delivered, they also get notifications on when it was delivered and that sort of thing, so they can choose to make their next action.
Some of the cool benefits that sales people are getting out of it, now I know when my package has been delivered in addition to the time savings, but you are actually able to do more of it, and they found an effective way to speed up sales cycles, a way to get re engagement from folks who maybe dropped off the radar.
From a marketing perspective, which I always come back to, I love it because now I actually have an attribution metric, or a way to apply something to my swag budget, which has kind of been untractable, just spend money on it because the CEO likes it or because my sales people like it, a kind of line item for marketing. Now I can actually know, what was the performance of that? What am I getting from that? That is one of the big changes we are seeing, how sales teams and marketers work together to do direct mail.
Matt: Let’s talk about a couple of objections people sometimes have for direct mail and offline marketing. One of them is the price, which we talked a little bit about putting that in context. Another is the timeline, a lot of marketers today are enamored with agile marketing and moving quickly and being able to conceive a program and then execute it quickly through a digital channel. I’m sure you guys hear this on occasion as well. Just the lead time it takes for direct mail. What do you typically talk to clients about or what do some of your clients that are using direct mail tell their organizations and sales teams when that concern comes up?
Daniel: My first argument to marketers is that direct mail will make you a better marketer. That’s because it has a real, tangible cost, and if you do an expensive, bad campaign, it hurts a little more. It stings a little more. The reason it will make you a better marketer, is it will make you focus on the fundamentals of marketing, which I think, no offense to digital marketers, but we’ve gotten a little lazy. It’s cheap, and it’s easy to do, and the consequences if something goes wrong, it’s easy to fix. If you have a misprint or something like that. So, by having the discipline of doing direct mail, it will make all of your marketing perform better. So that’s one of the things that I like to share with marketing teams and that I’m a firm believer in, because we see it around marketing efforts here at PFL, so that’s an internal reflection as well. When we want to put something in print, we actually think about our message, and we think about our audience a lot clearer because we know that there is a real, tangible cost.
On the timeline side of things, direct mail projects can move faster than they ever have before. Supply chain has completely changed in the last 10 years or 15 years on how fast you can get stuff. The biggest holdup on most projects is actually the creative aspect, and then if you think about direct mail in a way that it’s not a batch of glass, we want to be doing it data driven, just as we would nurture emails for a market animation platform, or sales emails for our CRM house, how we can kind of have those evergreen strips that we use over again. We can now make them triggered and ongoing and so it can be incredibly fast. Since the template is, like your email template is already configured, and we are pulling data in to send that individual piece, we can have something go out the door as quick as, you know, same day very frequently, but most of the time within 24 hours. It can be in someone’s mailbox pretty much standard nationwide in three days within North America.
Matt: Got a start wrapping up here in the next couple minutes with Daniel Gaugler, the CMO of PFL. Great insights into bringing direct mail back, leveraging it as an asset and a differentiator to get your message across in a crowded world of digital channels, and email, and social and everything else. Direct mail really does seem to be standing out and being leveraged by more and more leading marketers today. We just see so many examples, and even just this morning, there was a mark-tech vendor that was talking about creating a video channel where he will basically start to unbox essentially, some of the direct mail packages that he is getting, that are clearly having an impact. You wouldn’t create a channel like that unless there was some interest and differentiation around. We don’t see that with email and social very often. But what happens over the next several years, or at least the next couple years? Is direct mail going to be cyclical? Are we going to see this sort of wind down again? What do you see as some of the trend lines moving forward and how do B2B marketers keep up?
Daniel: I think we are definitely going to see direct mail adoption. I think we kind of have a new era of marketers really learning how to do it, and how to do it well. I expect adoption as they learn, they get some success with it to continue. I think that as marketers we need to be agnostic about the channel that we use, but religious about the results. If the results are there, and direct mail continues to deliver results then it will continue to be a growing channel that is use more and more.
Matt: What are a couple of examples of programs that you’ve seen? We’ve talked a little bit about some integration, either programs that you guys have produced for clients or as a CMO yourself, I’m sure you’re getting some of these in the mail. What stands out from the good to the great here?
Daniel: To me, I think the pieces that stand out the most are the ones that are good marketing, because they provide some value to me. Something that I might even be anticipating because people are really using the data so it may be a new company that I’m not familiar with, but it’s around a topic that I have a real interest in at the time. So, some of the little examples I think do a really good job of getting people’s attention, because they add a lot of value. So we should be thinking about using the data to do that is obviously key.
Then there’s the kind of high impact, get people’s attention but still deliver some value, and I think some of the campaigns that we’ve seen here at PFL … you know we’ve seen account based marketing programs where folks send a full sized theater popcorn machine with everything it takes to make popcorn, to a team. That’s going to get some attention in the office and build some brand awareness, and they’re probably going to spend a few minutes and understand what it is you’re company does with you when you make that sort of impact.
You know there is kind of a big spectrum of what people spend. That’s up there on the upper end. Other kind of fun things are boxes that have lights that turn on when you open things up. You see people using scratch and sniff pieces and stuff like that, that appeal to multiple different senses to really stand out in the marketplace.
Before we wrap up here, talk a little about the conference coming up. You guys did your first user conference in beautiful Bozeman, Montana last year. I had the honors of speaking. It was a great, great event. Now you’ve got another one coming up here in October of this year. Talk a little bit about that. What people can expect to see at that conference.
Daniel: Our second annual conference Big Sky, Big Ideas. We’re breaking into two parts this year. The first part will be a user group for prospects and customers of ours who are really adopting our campaign for success, and for people to really do some workshop style collaborative work together to figure out how they want to launch their strategy for next year and their campaigns. The next part is we’ve just got a fabulous line up of speakers. We’ve got Steve Lucas the CEO of Marketo and Peter Coffee from Salesforce, and Nicole, I can’t think of her last name but she’s the vice president of customer engagement from GoDaddy already on the speaker list. Short speeches with great content, really just framing how can we do better at customer engagement as an industry?
Matt: Love that. Where can people find out more about the conference? And I know you guys eat your own dog food, not only with direct mail packages but also with great content yourselves. Because people want to learn more about direct mail, learn more about omni channel integrated programs, and learn more about the conference. Where should people go?
Daniel: bigskybigideas.com you can find everything you want on the conference. It’s also a link to the site where you can find all of the information that I just mentioned about direct mail and our software solutions, pfl.com. You can find all the information you need right there.
Matt: Awesome! Time is up again, usually these conversations go so fast. We want to thank our guest Daniel Gaugler who is the CMO at PFL for joining us talking about direct mail. If you want to share this conversation with others on your team, or just listen to it again, you can catch it in a couple days on salespipelineradio.com. Make sure you don’t miss any future episodes by subscribing to our podcast at Google Play and the iTunes store, and you can get a summary and highlights from this conversation with Daniel at heinzmarketing.com in just a couple days.
Join us next week again, and every week at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. We feature some of the best minds and best ideas in B2B sales and marketing. Until then, from our producer Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for listening. Sales Pipeline Radio.
Paul: You’ve been listening to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio brought to you by the folks at Heinz Marketing on the Funnel radio channel for at work listeners like you.