The One Test You Should Perform This Year!

By now, you’ve probably heard the term triggered postcard program. The question now is, why aren’t you testing this as part of your integrative marketing efforts?

In today’s cluttered marketing environment, many retailers are challenged to find innovative ways to stand out in the print and digital marketplace. The beauty of triggered postcards is that they enable businesses to automatically send personalized communications to customers at a specific time based on your website browsing behavior and actions taken, like adding items to a shopping cart, engaging heavily with specific category pages, etc. By performing such actions, customers show that they are now in the business’ sales funnel. With this knowledge, the triggered postcard program can tailor content to fit that specific customer. Engaging customers in this manner ultimately drives dramatic improvements in conversion and customer experience.

To use this program effectively, you first need to understand what it is and how it fits into your overarching marketing plans. Triggered postcards capture real-time data and turn it into executable campaigns within a specific window of opportunity with customers and prospects before it closes. You can reach highly qualified customers and prospects whose attention is at the peak of their online purchasing interest with relevant merchandise and creative via print.



At CohereOne, we have tested, retested, and are now rolling out programs for several clients. We are finding this to be a truly powerful direct marketing vehicle, and we’ve seen its ability to increase the success of customer acquisition, customer reactivation, and customer engagement programs.

A marketer now can generate direct mail pieces based on variables that might include multiple product pages viewed by the user, how much time they spend on site, various search terms, shopping cart behavior, etc. The site viewers are then filtered through customized business rules that determine which user patterns should generate which postcards. These rules can include prior purchase, frequency capping, list suppression, geo-targeting, promotional A/B testing, and the like.

We compiled a group of 6-7 mailers and aggregated their results to determine the power of the program. Buyers generated a 16.5x Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), and $12.34 per piece mailed. Even more amazing was the ROAS and $/piece for prospecting. Really, when was the last time you saw prospects generate over $4.00 per mail piece? Decades, if ever!

However, to really evaluate this program, one needs to understand how the triggered programs provide incremental sales against controls who do not receive a triggered postcard. For a health and beauty client, we established four segments with each having a test and control panel. For this mailer, we found the greatest lift in incremental performance was in the Lapsed Customer segment. The postcard tended to provide 52% incremental lift to a lapsed customer. Prospects performed only 24% greater; perhaps because they would have purchased regardless of any other marketing efforts at that time.

Keep in mind, however, that each segment that was mailed a triggered postcard provided incremental demand which would have not been generated without the postcard delivered at the browser’s optimum decision-making period. The combination of intent, relevant merchandise in creative, and recency of postcard in the mail is generating significant incremental demand. The key will be tracking this over several months to see if this trend stands the test of time.

I often get asked, “Why should I be doing this when I already have an expensive catalog in the mail?” And my response is, “Unlike mass mailings to semi-targeted groups of customers or prospects, we are actually achieving one-on-one marketing. And this new way of marketing is providing incremental lift in addition to the marketing you are currently doing!” Thanks to our friends at NaviStone and Boomerang, you will be able to cut through the noise with highly targeted and personalized direct mail based on that one site viewer’s specific behavior. The incremental results as indicated above prove to justify the added expense.

How do I fit it into my budget? Just remove some of your poor performing housefile segments and/or prospects and move the marketing dollars to test triggered postcards. It’s that easy!

Digital marketers are very familiar with display retargeting utilizing services such as Criteo or Ad Roll as well as email retargeting, such as abandoned cart and abandoned browse programs. This program is using the same philosophy, but retargeting is now being delivered in the direct mail channel. By using online intent behavior, you can now retarget in print using the same methodology and goals of online retargeting.

As Tim Curtis, our President, wrote last month, the impact of Ad Blockers will continue to challenge your digital marketing efforts, and consumers are now well trained to tune out many of these efforts. In addition, significant percentages of customers have opted out of receiving email communications, severely curtailing the ability for marketers to reach these lucrative pockets of buyers through digital retargeting efforts. Moreover, various components of SEM are getting more competitive and thereby more expensive. In other words, digital retargeting will be harder, but retargeting in other channels will become more effective.

How do I fit it into my budget? Just remove some of your poor performing ad groups or non-branded terms and move the marketing dollars to test triggered postcards. It’s that easy!

It’s time for print and digital teams to come together and work on programs that mutually benefit one another and the company. It’s time to nurture, retain, and grow your customer base with relevant and timely marketing programs. It’s time to use an actual one-on-one marketing program that propels results in a real, meaningful way.

Using triggered programs allow you to stay connected to your customer and always be top of mind, leading to higher retention rates, increased sales, and greater brand awareness.

At CohereOne, we can help you with your strategies and tactics to help you test, retest, and rollout this program seemlessly and effectively. We can help you decide on where to move marketing dollars and work with your teams to kick off ths program the right way to maximize ROI from the start!

Contact Michelle Houston, SVP Client Strategy, for more information. She can be reached at or by phone at 707.235.3529.

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