The Trustworthiness of Direct Mail in the Age of Cybersecurity

 

Author: Bryan Formhals, Senior Marketing Specialist

 

Security and privacy are two issues that impact almost every aspect of the way consumers engage with marketing in today’s world. While much of the focus revolves around cybersecurity and consumer data privacy, what happens in one channel has an impact in other channels.   

For marketers currently working in direct mail, or considering moving into it sometime soon, it’s important to understand some of the high-level issues revolving around security and privacy, which may not always be obvious on the surface.  

In the post, we’ll review how cybersecurity issues impact direct mail, and how agencies like Nahan help marketers navigate tricky security and privacy issues.  

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Are Top of Mind Issues 

The inherent security risks around digital interactions are well known at this point. We all know about spam, phishing and data breaches. They make headlines and we’re all trained by our IT departments about these threats.   

These days, consumers are faced with potential threats anywhere they interact online, whether that’s clicking on banner ads or a link in an email. The threats are everywhere.  

Our inboxes are particularly a prime target which has made us inherently more risk adverse. We look for our billing statements, emails from friends and family and perhaps a few newsletters from trusted brands and media outlets. Anything else is oftentimes viewed suspiciously.  

Along with cybersecurity threats, consumers are weary about data privacy and how their information is collected and used by companies. This has made data privacy a hot button political issue with new laws in Europe fundamentally changing how companies can collect data. There could be similar laws in the United States within a few years, making data collection, targeting and analytics more complex for marketers.  

In this ever-changing landscape, it’s no wonder that consumers are growing weary of, and have a short attention span for marketing messages. In fact, brands have less than 3 seconds to capture consumers attention with an email message.  

So, what does this mean for marketers working the direct mail channel?   

Direct Mail is Trustworthy  

Direct mail has long been a trusted media channel. It might be common sense, but we know that when we get a piece of mail, it’s probably legitimate. There is no threat to your personal data by opening an envelope or reading a postcard.  

Beyond its safety, many consumers actually welcome mail from brands they trust. According to an Epsilon survey, 59% respondents say they welcome and enjoy getting mail from brands to find out about new products.  

Effective marketing requires integrated approaches and finding the right channel mix. These days, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and dynamics are always changing which requires smart marketers to be even more data driven. If you’re looking to break through the noise, direct mail is both safe and effective. According to the Data & Marketing association, around 90% of direct mail gets opened compared to 20-30% of marketing emails.  

We know that consumers trust direct mail, and it can be a highly effective channel with the right message and offer. However, that trust is built on security and established privacy laws and policies, which are critical to understanding in the direct mail channel.  

Direct Marketing Agencies Are Security Partners  

Security is a paramount issue in the direct mail channel. Many types of campaigns require companies to share sensitive customer data with their direct mail partners.  

With security protocols becoming more stringent to meet increasing cybersecurity threats, direct marketing providers like Nahan need the highest level of commitment to security to ensure consumer privacy.  

That’s why Nahan is certified at the highest level by organizations including HIPPA or PCI DSS, SOC2+HITRUST, S2Score (third-party security/risk assessment), PCI DSS, SOC2+HITRUST, HIPAA, CCPA, and GDPR. 

Nahan Security Safeguards   

At Nahan, we have decades of experience in direct mail industry, working with brands across many industries that require the highest security standards. We’re constantly reviewing our protocols and working with customers to develop new security processes. 

We know that protecting our clients’ customer data is critical to building trust, and delivering the results that drive business forward.  

Nahan prioritizes security by protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer data through multiple layers of technical, physical, and administrative controls including:  

  •  Secure file transfer processes including secure transport protocols, Secure FTP (SFTP)

  • PGP file encryption

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) including biometrics

  • Highly-trained staff with weekly, monthly, and annual security training sessions and modules

  • Secure online industry-standard proofing application

  • Customer data access protected with ACL’s, audit trail logging, and file integrity monitoring (if required)

  • Secure data deletion with Certificate of Destruction (if required) 

If you’d like to learn more about growing your business or increasing your ROI through direct mail, please contact us.

 

 

Author Bio: Bryan Formhals is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Nahan. His efforts focus on public relations, trade shows, sales support and other external marketing initiatives. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing working across content, social media, strategy and communications. In his free time, Bryan enjoys photography and art, walking and hiking, and exploring parks and nature.

 

The Risk in Not Testing Your Direct Mail

 

Author: Alan Sherman, VP Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been in the direct marketing space for any amount of time, you’ve certainly heard about the importance of testing. But “testing” means different things to different people, and we see people approach it in a variety of ways. My colleague, Maggie Stack, recently published a blog on Direct Mail Testing. Consider this a prequel – insights into the risks of not testing.

Testing “Approaches” Run the Gamut

Some marketers don’t test on a consistent basis or simply don’t test at all. After mailing the same creative package, list or offer, for months or even years on end, they experience the inevitable performance decline, and think it may be time to test a new creative. Their creative team or agency offers a new creative that hopefully out-performs the old one and then the process repeats itself. Still other marketers occasionally test but are so risk averse that they test small creative attributes, such as a headline in a letter or on an envelope, which rarely moves the performance needle. And data testing happens less frequently than creative testing, even though data has a more significant impact on results.

A Fear of Testing

Why the reluctance to test? Some marketers simply don’t know how. Others may not want to risk the company’s budget on a test that may not out-perform the control. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two – “I don’t know how – so why take the chance?”

What About Data Testing? I hear less about this than creative testing.

Why is there so little data testing? Data can be tougher to test – nowadays it would be less likely for us to test an entire list. With the cost of postage, we must be as precise as possible. Segments or model groups within an audience are not always easily explained or understood. Many lists should not be mailed without the use of effective predictive models to rank prospects. It feels riskier than changing a creative headline, or maybe data is managed by another group in the organization.  Maybe the data testing setup and measurement can feel daunting. We can hold and touch creative – it feels more “real” than data and many of us like to think we intuitively know what works in creative when it’s sometimes best left to the direct mail creative experts. 😊 And yet data has a larger impact on response than creative.

The Risk in Not Testing Your Direct Mail

Some might apply the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to direct mail testing. I would argue if it ain’t broke yet, it will be some day.  I would say that there is greater risk in NOT testing. Every creative package’s performance declines over time, and if you wait until that happens you could find yourself many months away from a new, high-performing package. The same applies to data. Doing nothing is short-term thinking that, over time, delivers inferior results. Regular testing is an investment that puts the long-term odds in your favor. Every test is an opportunity to learn and improve.

How frequent should testing be done?

Testing must be a regular ongoing process. Ideally, that means part of every campaign or at least testing quarterly. The aim is to develop a stable of high-performing creative packages and a precisely optimized audience by testing new data sources and predictive models to continually improve results.

We can make testing work for you. Testing is both art and science – Nahan offers both. We will continue to cover various aspects of testing in upcoming blogs.

 

Bio: Alan Sherman is our Vice President of Marketing Strategy. Alan enhances Nahan’s current value proposition with strategy solutions that support new/existing client relationships. For clients, he leverages market, customer, and competitive intelligence to build achievable strategies for omnichannel marketing success. His marketing plan strategies include targeted data, predictive analytics, testing, and creative that drive ongoing client performance improvement. In his spare time, Alan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to concerts, watching sports (he’s a fan of the NY Giants, Boston Red Sox and Celtics), and walking the dog, even though it was just out.

 

 

 

Excitement Continues With The Success of Nahan’s East Coast Facility

 

Author: Michael Henry, VP Operations

 

As announced in April, Nahan recently acquired a second facility in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. It has been an exciting past several months ramping up the facility and launching production. Our team is incredibly proud of all the hardworking individuals who made this addition possible.

From preparing equipment, to hiring a work force, to installation of new branding, and much more, many people had a hand in the success of this addition that enables faster speed to market.

Nahan East

Nahan East

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate this progress, we asked members of our Leadership Team to share a few sentiments regarding the facility and its team.

“Direct mail is the fastest-growing segment of our business,” said CEO Mike Ertel. “The addition of an East Coast facility strengthens our already best-in-class platform with improved cycle time, which is integral to our end-to-end direct marketing solution.”

“Marketers are seeking integrated solutions to increase agility, efficiency, and effectiveness,” said Mike Logar, SVP Sales and Marketing Services. “The addition of Nahan East puts us in a strong position to produce direct mail campaigns that will deliver high-performance results for our customers and drive business growth in a highly competitive market. We are super-pumped to have our PA facility online and are proud of the efforts by everyone who contributed to the launch.”

Aaron Weekes, VP Information of Technology and Adam Rohde, Manager of IT, had significant roles in getting all the technology in the facility in working order. Aaron stresses that the addition of this location is fantastic, “but the best thing about it is the amazing people. The team there takes pride in their work, they are knowledgeable about what they do, and are fun to work with as well.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exceptional team dynamic that has been cultivated at this location is a testament to the amazing people at this location. Dawn Volante Brown, VP Business Services says “I am impressed by the level of the energy and collaboration created between both our St. Cloud and Montgomeryville locations. We are quickly becoming a global Nahan with the benefit of two geographic locations.”

As the VP Operations of Nahan East, I am incredibly excited about the progress so far and I’m looking forward to expanding and growing the facility to support the platform in the months ahead.

 

 

Author Bio: Michael Henry is the VP Operations at our facility in Pennsylvania. He joined Nahan in 2022 and has over 30 years of leading and direction organizations, bringing valuable leadership experience in the direct mail industry. Away from work, Mike enjoys spending his time on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland with his family and friends.

Gen Z and Direct Mail: Reaching the Newest Consumers

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

Did you know that Gen Z makes up 20% of the population? While it may be hard to believe at first, the newest generation of consumers (born between 1997 and 2012) are now a major contender in the world’s retail scene. The oldest of this generation is a recent college graduate and starting new life stages, while the youngest of which are just embarking into their teenage years. This generation of consumers boasts a spending power of approximately $140 billion (Rolling Stone, 2021), making them an extremely valuable target audience that you should be reaching. They’re ready to spend their money, but they hold brands to high standards.

Embrace the Physical Quality of Direct Mail

Gen Z may be known as “Digital Natives,” meaning they grew up around technology, but they’re also overly served digital ads. Additionally, in the midst of a pandemic, they have a thirst for the personal and physical touch (Forbes, 2021) that digital ads cannot provide in the same way tangible items can. Utilizing direct mail helps reach this audience that has overflooded inboxes and social ads with something that fills this innate need.

Integrate Technology with Direct Mail

As mentioned, Gen Z is often referred to as “Digital Natives” and most do not know a world without the Internet or smart phones. And while marketers should embrace this opportunity to stand out with the physical quality of direct mail, it is also a chance to integrate technology with it for the best of both worlds. How can one do this? Marketers have found success with using a scannable QR code for a quick way to assimilate information while keeping the copy and creative on a mail piece minimal. The use of augmented reality also provides for a unique way for consumers to virtually try on or place items.

Make Sure You Stand Behind Something

At the end of the day, Gen Z cares about more than service offerings and discounts. They care about what your brand stands behind. They want to know what you support, how you support it, and they will do the research to find out. Gen Z is also more likely than other generations to switch brands to align with their personal beliefs/values (Business Insider, 2021). The social justice movement is one example of a cause that Gen Z is often passionate about. They are more likely to give their brand loyalty to brands that have diversity programs and support related local and national organizations.

Use Gen Z to Market to Gen Z

Who does Gen Z want to listen to? Whose voices do they care about? Your messaging is more likely to resonate with them if you are using those who are similar to them in age and life stage. Gen Z is very different from previous generations in the environment they grew up in, and they are more likely to take the word of those who are coming from that same frame of reference. This generation of consumers is actually twice as likely as millennials to make a purchase based off an influencer recommendation or testimonial (70% of which are under 34) (Rolling Stone, 2021).   Are you ready to expand your reach to Gen Z? We’d love to help you with your direct marketing strategy and creative to do just that.

Sources: Rolling Stone Sprout Social Business Insider     Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is a Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for managing Nahan’s social media, blog content, and other internal and external content communications. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.

Direct Marketing Trends for 2022

Author: Camille Lehmann, Senior Marketing Specialist

The new year brings new direct marketing trends and continuations of ideas that advanced in 2021. Like the beginning of last year, 2022 gets its start in an advertising saturated society with technology at the fingertips of nearly every consumer. In such an environment, knowing how to stand out to the right consumer at the right time, is a necessary skill for differentiation. Below we’ve rounded up five direct marketing trends for 2022 for you to ponder as you plan your marketing strategies:

1. When it comes to words, less is more

Want to catch a consumer’s attention in the mail? Don’t overload it with unnecessary text that crowds the mail piece. You only have a limited amount of time to entice the consumer to act. If the consumer perceives that it will take too long to read the piece, you may have just lost your chance for them to get to your Call to Action. Provide enough to get your point across, but don’t leave the consumer drowning in words.

2. Combining Digital and Print

While both digital and print advertising have their own advantages, together, they make the ultimate power team, especially in the wake of the phasing out of third-party cookies. Whether it’s using QR codes or pre-in-home-date digital ads, the addition of digital to print will become more popular as marketers get creative to increase ROI. Nahan’s solution to this is Direct Mail Companion™, used to create a seamless message before, during, and after your direct mail or catalog in-home date, leading to greater response and higher ROI.

3. Augmented Reality

Marketers can harness the power of Augmented Reality (AR) to layer computer-generated dimensions onto a real-world setting. Consumers can use their hand-held technology to view direct mail and catalogs with AR to view how certain products would look in a space. Utilizing this technology gives consumers a memorable and enriching experience that is hands-on.

4. Targeting by Challenge and Not Demographic

What prompts consumers to pursue a service or product? Most often it is a need that they want to fill and they believe that a specific service or product will fulfill that need. Instead of only looking at consumer targeting by age or geographic region, including the segmenting of your target audience by unique challenges and/or behavior may return more favorable responses and make messaging feel more personal.

5. Use of Informed Delivery

When consumers use Informed Delivery from the USPS, they are able to see ahead of time the mail pieces they are receiving each day. Not only are they aware of what is coming, but they are also able to interact with the mail pieces by clicking on the images and view offers from the business’s website. According to the USPS, by September 2021, nearly 43 million users had registered for Informed Delivery and that number is expected to grow throughout 2022.

Author Bio: Camille Lehmann is our Senior Marketing Specialist and has been on the Nahan team since January 2020. Camille is responsible for assisting in Nahan’s marketing strategies and goals. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Marketing with a specialization in Project Management in 2020. In her spare time, Camille enjoys visiting new coffee shops and restaurants with friends, playing tennis, and finding new Pinterest projects.