Inspiration from PFL

Marketing to marketers is the toughest job, but occasionally I see things that really make me step back and think wow.  Several people in my office recently received an assortment of account-based marketing (ABM) materials from PFL, a direct mail company out of Montana.  I loved the campaign’s creativity so much I just had to share it with everyone.

First, I received a box that just showed a cartoon woman screaming.  On the edge, it reads “Therapy Doll Inside”.  Upon opening it, I found a large voo-doo looking doll and a note with my company’s name on it.  The note showed how disappointing digital marketing response rates can be so they sent me a Dammit Doll to help me get my frustrations out.  They argue that combining “tactile marketing” with digital campaigns can boost “digital engagement by 4X” – although they do not specify how they got to that number.  I assume I’m supposed to call to find out.

Interestingly, within minutes of opening the package I received an email and a LinkedIn message from the business development rep named on the package.  I assume this is triggered by delivery confirmation.  Regardless, it lent to a seamless experience, which is exactly what you want.

In addition, the doll is actually an interesting gift.  It reads:

Dammit Doll

Whenever things don’t go so well,

And you want to hit the wall and yell,

Here’s a little dammit doll,

That you can do without.

Just grasp it firmly by the legs

And find a place to slam it!

And as you whack the stuffing out

Yell “Dammit!  Dammit!  Dammit!”

The fact that they had the guts to send me something like this proves two things: They don’t take themselves too seriously (which means they could be fun to work with) and they understand they’re customer.  Marketers are not (usually) up-tight corporate types.  We like to have fun and a well timed joke.  Takeaway: Don’t let your corporate brand be too stuffy.  Even B2B can have fun.

Additionally, my colleague received a pop-up card of a mountain, made by Lovepop.  The message on the connected insert was one about setting steep goals and achieving them.  The message was more aligned to PFL’s decades of experience.  My marketing brain sees an A/B test, but its possible they’ve segmented messaging based on different factors regarding the two of us.  But to do that, they would need some pretty sophisticated persona targeting.  Not saying they can’t, but it’s unlikely at this stage of engagement.  My gut says A/B.

Regardless of who they targeted, this is clearly an strong attempt at ABM.  I do wonder how they might combine this cold-call campaign with a digital strategy to keep me engaged.  The initial statement is meaningful, and given the tactile nature of the gifts, I am very unlikely to discard them.  However, let’s assume they get a 20% response rate (good by any measure), there are still 80% that received, opened and did not engage.  That doesn’t mean they weren’t impressed or that they are bad targets.  They’re just not ready right now.  Having a strong re-engagement strategy is just as important as the initial big splash.

Have you sent a direct mail campaign?  What results did you see and how did you measure success?  Let me know in the comments below.

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