AS A COMMERCIAL printing and mailing company, one of PFL’s strengths is reaching potential customers through direct mail. But when the company launched its account-based marketing (ABM) strategy a couple of years ago, it saw the need to better merge both its offline and online efforts to provide more consistent messaging to target accounts across all channels.
“It’s easy to ignore an invite through email, but much harder to ignore a FedEx package that lands on someone’s desk.” Daniel Gaugler, PFL
Executing an ABM strategy appealed to PFL because it could help the marketing and sales teams focus more of their energy on “superior prospects,” according to Daniel Gaugler, CMO of PFL.
“The content we’re creating now is moving from offline to online channels, creating a bridge between the two,” said Gaugler. “Mapping that structure has been a new experience for us — not to mention the extreme personalization we’re trying to execute in all of our outreach.”
PFL took a much more involved approach to its ABM strategy than it had for traditional lead nurturing. They created teams dedicated to defining and finding target organizations and researching individuals at those companies — using platforms such as LinkedIn — to help them provide personalized messaging to those individuals across channels.
“We are using dimensional mail [direct mail that goes beyond a flat mailer, such as a package], email, webinars and the whole range of standard content marketing staples: E-books, infographics and personalized landing pages,” said Gaugler.
Dimensional mail is still a major part of PFL’s ABM campaigns. The company uses its own Tactile Marketing AutomationTM solution to automate, personalize and deliver the dimensional mail (see “PFL’s ABM Tech Stack” to find out what else the company uses).
“We also use live events like trade shows to get face-to-face with contacts at target ABM organizations, and direct mail has been a big driver for getting on those schedules,” said Gaugler. “It’s easy to ignore an invite through email, but much harder to ignore a FedEx package that lands on someone’s desk.”
He added that the sales team is notified within 15 minutes when a package is delivered to a target account, and someone follows up right away. “That timely follow-up is what sets us apart.”
‘REAL STUFF’ STILL WORKS
The team at PFL has been learning as they go from their ABM efforts, “from list vetting to executing the delivery of content to the right person at the right time,” said Gaugler.
One issue they discovered early on was that messaging was thematically disjointed across channels, requiring the team to examine its strategy there.
“We’ve had to really think through exactly how our solutions impact every step of the customer journey. When you spend months in head-down development on robust software, you can easily lose sight of that, so we had to take a step back, look at how our solution was being used, and redefine how it fit into a journey,” explained Gaugler. “Recognizing that the best features of our solution mean nothing if they’re not in the context of solving a business problem for a prospective customer was a great revelation.”
PFL looked at prospects’ business problems and needs at every stage in the buyer journey, from awareness to consideration.
“We’re creating content that fits an overall theme, but we’re also using our own solution to send tangible, real stuff to our accounts so we can stand out,” he said.
The effectiveness of using “real stuff” such as direct-mail assets is a theme of PFL’s latest ABM campaign, which uses phrases such as, “Real stuff gets real results” and “Real stuff really works.”
Although they said it is too soon to share metrics for this particular campaign, PFL has already seen some tangible results with its overall ABM efforts, including a 189% lift in return on investment (ROI) with its ABM campaigns versus overall marketing ROI, and 292% higher MCA (Marketing Collected Account) to won conversion rates versus overall marketing efforts.
“There’s more research, more logistics and more legwork, but we know it means more closed deals too,” said Gaugler.