Ep. 120 – This week, Chris is joined by Dave Fink to discuss where digital marketing is heading in 2022 and what he believes is the best kept secret in marketing – direct mailing. Dave has over 20 years experience, has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue powered by viral sensations and has even helped celebrity owned startups. Now, Dave is the founder of Postie and he is on a mission to reinvent direct mail marketing in the digital world. This episode is sure to expand your mind to strategic marketing strategies beyond just social media and email.
You’re listening to the all systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sell systems in your business the right way with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.
Chris Davis 0:32
Welcome everybody to another edition of the all systems go podcast where we invite startup founders and digital marketers to discuss strategies and software used to build automated marketing and sales systems at scale. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis, the founder of automation bridge. And today we get to talk about digital marketing and direct mailing. Some of you may be confused even with that title and say, Well, how does that work? I thought the whole purpose of digital marketing is to no longer sin, snail mail or that old school traditional way of marketing. That’s what Dave is here to dispel. And Dave thinks the best kept secret in marketing is hiding where you least expected and you got it your mailbox. He’s got over 20 years experience, and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue power by viral sensations. Like the Dollar Shave Club. He’s also helped startups for Jessica Simpson. He’s helped launch celebrity he’s helped launch startups. There you go for a celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Kate Bosworth. Now, Dave is the founder of Posty. And he’s out to reinvent direct mail marketing, and digital. I just say direct mail marketing and digital in the digital world.
Chris Davis 1:57
It’s all coming out day, we’ll get it. So welcome to the show. Dave, how are you doing?
Dave Fink 2:02
I’m doing great. Thanks. Thanks for having me. And I thought you did great there. And
Chris Davis 2:07
yeah, it’s well, you know, it’s more of like a tongue twister in my head, direct digital, direct digital. It’s like, well, digital is direct. So but I’m so glad to have you on. Because I love I love, love, love. And we can have founders or just talk strategy, where you take traditional, traditional efforts and marry them with these new upcoming cutting edge technologies. Because I find that a lot of times, these New Age marketers, they like to throw the baby out with the bathwater, they like, oh, everything’s online, forget all of that old school stuff. And it’s like, no, wait, that old school stuff up still works, you just have to figure out that that balance. So before we jump into a give our audience a little bit about your background, and how you your path to where you are right now.
Dave Fink 2:55
Sure, and there’s a lot to unpack in what you just said, and excited to dive into with you. But so my background,
Dave Fink 3:05
but yeah, about 20, maybe 22 years at this point in consumer internet businesses, and had the opportunity to kind of bounce back and forth throughout my career between, you know, building marketing technology platforms, almost always up until Posty, were solely focused on kind of the emergence of the power of digital. And, and then, you know, on the other hand, also worked on launching direct to consumer brands, that, you know, kind of took their advantage from understanding quantitative data driven digital marketing. And, and, and, you know, the principles in many ways are very similar between the two, it’s how do you understand your, your audiences? How do you leverage software technology, measurement in order to make, you know, faster, better, more robust decisions to be competitive, and, you know, with, in oftentimes spaces, that there are a lot of big incumbents and, and, and I think what you what you said was, was spot on, which is, it’s not an all or nothing thing, right? You don’t have to, I think there was a time when we all thought about, you know, if we were a digital brand, you know, everything we did had to be on the internet, everything we had to do at you know, every engagement tactic every way we we spoke to our consumers or or acquired consumers or retain consumers, we thought, you know, had to be in this box of digital and, and, you know, I think now we’re in a world where it isn’t digital verse, traditional, verse wholesale, it’s it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, how do you bring your product to market into life and leverage every thing that could help you do so efficiently?
Chris Davis 4:48
Yeah, and it’s, it’s, it’s a delicate balance because it’s one of those things where, you know, you can run into people who are long winded and they said a whole lot of words, but really meant nothing and you walk away like, man, it was our What did we just talk about, right. And then you have somebody that maybe said a sentence or two and you walk away, like, oh my gosh, that was mind blowing the intelligence, you know, of that individual. And to get to that level of mastery will say, it requires experience. So what I find is that a lot of marketers getting started, do a whole lot, they’re doing a whole lot of stuff, hoping that it does something, where you have the more savvy marketer that after a while, after years, you start to identify, Okay, it’s really only these levers that we need it, we only need these activities to produce results, and these channels will help us do that.
Dave Fink 5:47
Look, I mean, then, that’s, I think, across the board and life in general, I use that this one phrase, with, with my teams, you know, day in day out, which is I truly believe it, and there’s, it’s there are no shortcuts, you got to put in the work, right. And, like I yeah, I’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty darn brilliant entrepreneurs, and, and execute and executives throughout a long career. And, and they’re definitely people that are brighter than others, or who are savvier than others get there quicker. But even they, you know, they had to put in the work, maybe they started younger, they learned a little faster, but you have your hypothesis, and you have to put that into the world, and you have to be aware of, you know, evaluating what works and doesn’t work that’s in life. And that’s in that’s certainly in marketing, and it’s certainly, you know, one of the advantages that digital has kind of taught the world that you can, you can, you know, come up, you really come up with a scientific method of coming up with a creative height series of hypotheses, you know, break them into a number of, you know, micro and macro tests. You know, closed loop measurement allows you to pull away insights and, and kind of just keep keep leading in.
Chris Davis 7:08
Yeah, so, in that respect, you know, we we’ve got 20 years, and at least 20, you’re being modest there, because you told me you started marketing, you know, teenager. So we’ll just say you got a lifetime of marketing results, you’ve seen a lot, you’ve seen a lot. So So at some point in your career, you decided that there’s an opportunity to take what you’ve learned there, you know, in blended with this, this traditional medium, or this traditional channel, what was it that led you to go the software route? did was this your first go around at software? Did you try it in the past before with failure? Do you have a lot of friends that have SaaS companies? Like what was that process? Like for you?
Dave Fink 7:53
Oh, well, I mean, you’re talking about day one. Yeah, out of college, or shortly thereafter, it was, it was absolutely dumb luck, you know, is it was 1999 or 2000, somewhere right around there. And graduated college with a degree in psychology and an emphasis in humanities in classic literature, I know, applicable skill set for the business world and, and I had a friend who worked at an internet startup in Chicago, and, you know, told me that they were hiring, you know, by the basket full on on a weekly basis and recommended that I just, you know, take whatever job I could get and get exposure to the business world in this new kind of transformative world. And that was the best decision I ever made. It. Yeah, it really was not calculated at all it was I needed a job, I was recognizing that I wasn’t going to be heading down my original path that I thought I would come out of college and just found myself in a fast growth startup in the beginning of the digital ad revolution, and got exposed to this amazing world of possibility.
Chris Davis 9:04
Wow. Now, I had a similar experience, but much later, I mean, by the time you were getting your experience with your first startup, I was clocking in for my first corporate job, you know, didn’t even know the space existed. Only only knew the way to make more money was to work more hours, you know, go overtime, get paid time and a half. And if you weren’t going to do something, technology sure wasn’t gonna do it for you. You had to hire people. Like that was, and this is me. I graduated in 2000 2005 from college, so it’s not like I didn’t graduate when there were computers and the Internet, and all of that. I just didn’t know. I just didn’t know this stuff existed. So back in 2000 2001 ish. The startup space was like in its infancy you know, like I cuz I remember in College, Dave, you could still buy software that you put in your computer, they were still selling computers with this drives, you know, slow. Wow. So you really got a jumpstart Jumpstart.
Dave Fink 10:13
Yeah. And it’s interesting that you bring up right, that corporate path versus the startup path, it converged a little bit. In yet, in a world where some of the biggest companies in the world are started out as startups 10 years ago, but back, you know, my, the original company that I worked for, I ended up in a sales role a couple of years in which which was a phenomenal for me, because it allowed me the freedom to go and talk with the widest range of brands of advertisers and, and those brands ranged from tiny little startups where I was selling into, and getting to know the entrepreneurs and the founders themselves, all the way up to the biggest, you know, fortune 100 count, you know, enterprise brands. And, and what I learned really quickly, at that time was, you know, I would walk into a big, you know, lobby a big building, take an elevator up, get my badge, like all that fancy schmancy stuff at a corporate, you know, prospect or client, and I would go into probably pretty mediocre, you know, uninspiring office space, and I would, you know, walk into a room and engage with someone, and they were, you know, a mid level marketer that had 14 levels of management above them, and things move really slow. And we’d engage in some conversations and those those, you know, that’s, I’m not saying that that’s, you know, the wrong way for those businesses to behave. But but that was a very specific way for business to behave. And I would come back, you know, six months later and pitch a different person in that exact same role and ask the same questions again, and it’d be like, starting all over in that same office, and six months later, the same conversation again, during that same period, I’d walk into a startup in, you know, in someone’s garage or terrible office space and be talking with these like, like, incredibly creative dynamic thinkers, and I come back to their offices six months later only be across the street, and in an office space four times the size. And, and, and yet, and they will be doing things, there’ll be a ton of energy, the asking really interesting questions, and they would have learned something from that six months of engagement, I’d come back six months later, and there’d be a bunch of Ferraris parked in front of a new office building and fancy signage. And, and, and that was like, the most like, okay, like something’s going on here in the startup world, that is, you know, different. And it’s this world of possibility. And it’s not, it’s not all about, you know, going through, you know, like sleepwalking through this 30 year career of one step in front of the other ear, one or the other. It’s, it’s really about, you know, what you can accomplish and, and, and that, that, like, that was like the bite of the apple that I needed to, like, cut, you know, wake up and, and for me, like, that was the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, or whatever it is, like I was, I needed to learn how to become an entrepreneur, I needed to play in that world. And yeah, it’s, it’s been, you know, kind of that over the last 20 years for me,
Chris Davis 13:15
yeah, and I’ll say this, Dave, I tell people all the time, just because it’s my story, if you want to learn marketing, business, just new age technology, how businesses scale quickly, there’s no other space, like the startup space, you will grow at a multiple of what you would in a regular corporate regular, no knock against all of that. The corporate World’s Fastest is still slow. For startup, I mean, things change so rapidly. So you got to have the personality, you know, to like that stuff. And there’s some startups that move slow, but for the most part, you really get a crash course in Business Growth scale in many facets of business working with a startup.
Dave Fink 14:02
But 100% It’s, it’s also a space where, at least, you know, from my experience, you know, if you have capability that’s rewarded greater than 10 years seniority, and so it motivates the right type of people to, to, to speak up and to learn as fast as they can and to, to feel comfortable contributing. And that’s yeah, that’s a world I want, you know, working that’s the world I want to live in.
Chris Davis 14:33
Yeah. Yes. So So So Dave, you’ve got this success, advertising and marketing. You’ve been on both sides. So you’ve seen after the capturing the lead, and then after the lead is captured, you know, you you’ve seen both and along your experience, you kept seeing a theme where Oh, man, like this channel is, is highly underutilized. There’s so much opportunity. Where was that? Where was that moment for you? Because it’s so easy for a digital marketer to get just engulfed with online online online online? How was it was was direct mail always a component? Was it something that you stumbled upon? Where was that awareness for you? When did it take place?
Dave Fink 15:22
So we, we backed into it a little bit, certainly, we had a different, you know, companies in the different stages of those companies in the past had leverage direct now, it had been a while, a long while, and in the way that that, you know, we kind of stumbled into, you know, taking a different look at the direct mail channel was, was really driven by the pain that, quite frankly, Facebook was, was throwing our way. And I know your listeners are marketers and your listeners are entrepreneurs, like they’ve all felt that pain of, of do it really is the double edged sword of a platform like Facebook, right, it’s as big as any ads platform or media platforms ever become. It’s a sophisticated in its tooling capabilities, is right at provided markers, a lot of goods made us look really smart.
Dave Fink 16:17
Enabling us with tools to do complicated things without having to scale big teams that are on companies for many years. But you know, history repeats itself, and you know, Facebook, and all social channels, but but channels, but Facebook in particular, is notorious for figuring out how to how to do things that return shareholder value to Facebook shareholders not yet focused on how do we do the right thing for advertisers? Or how do we do the right thing for consumers? Quite frankly, and, and so yeah, those of us who’ve been around for, you know, 1012 years, we remember how exciting it was when they gave us the tools to buy, you know, followers on our fan pages, and we, you know, brands really built that engagement community for them. And then all of a sudden, one day, they’re like, Hey, by the way, all those fans that you know, you know, engaged and help us build this, you know, ecosystem with and that, that, you know, that you paid to, you know, engage with? Yeah, now, if you want to post some content, and you want them to see it yet, not now you have to pay to boost it or to promote it. Yeah. And, and that was a really crummy feeling. Like you realize, like, like, wow, like, hey, that’s what power is, and be, that’s not so great for my business, or my brand. And looking and we thought through that, and then we learned how to optimize Facebook ads, and yeah, for a while their targeting was terrible, but they were the, you know, the biggest show in town, and then their targeting guy got actually good and, and then their marketplaces became really oversaturated. And ad rates went up. And you know, and, you know, we certainly can read their earnings report and see what what that does to Facebook. And if we’re shareholders, we’re happy about that. But if we’re advertisers that are looking at, you know, 5060 70% of our growth tied to that one platform, like, that’s a pretty precarious position to be in. So that’s what drove us to direct mail, it was a little bit of a curve to get there, which was, okay, you know, machine learning works, Big Data works, you know, optimizing, you know, media campaigns, work insights work, like all these great things that digital and certainly Facebook, you know, brought to us, you know, work. But we need to find other stool, other legs to our stool, right? Yeah, we got to diversify. You know, what, you know, where we’re relying on, you know, customer acquisition and retention, CRM and growth and all that. And so, first, we spent a bunch of time exploring other emerging digital channels. But yeah, this was six years ago. And, and there wasn’t really anything in digital that could rival. Yeah. Yeah, the scale that Facebook Instagram provided. So we ended up looking in offline again, and because we’re quantitative, because the expectation of your typical marketer is again, you know, very robust targeting building, you know, look alike models, CRM, segmentation, frequency testing, you know, and then direct measurement, all those things. You know, your direct mail was a channel that showed some glimmer of hope. I mean, all those those principles that are applied to digital, were being done by direct mail marketers, you know, in the 80s, and the 90s. It just was a different, you know, different level of dynamic pneus. Then digital emerged into or evolved into. And so for us, like, we love the idea that direct mail was incredibly scalable. It reaches more people on Facebook, more people than Google, because if you have an address in the United States, you are reachable through through mail. There’s really strong predictive data available that you can use for, you know, in theory, you know, the same level of targeting, you can get general. And, and because most brands have worked hard to figure out how to, you know, capture, you know, kind of identity based information on their consumers, on the customers, that your measurement is possible. And so we love those three things. And when we set out to actually execute, you know, complicated direct mail strategies, we realize nothing had changed in the last 40 years, like, wow, yeah. And so for us, it was this matter of like, well, that’s crazy, right? Like, like, if there’s this big channel, it can absolutely diversify media away from these like, walled garden, powerful giants, it can give us put more control back in our own hands, the targeting is there, the measurements there, the reach is there, then then maybe, you know, technology software platforms, can actually, you know, close the gap between, you know, the possibility and, and kind of where it is executing now. And so, that that’s been Yeah, that’s how we got there. It was just out of need, in some cases. Yeah. Okay. Desperation.
Chris Davis 21:13
Yeah. And remaining scrappy. I know, direct mail confuses a lot of people. Some people are like, Oh, that’s for real estate agents, or, Oh, that works only for your local business. You know, you can’t run direct mail, if it’s outside of the confinements of your state, or even some, sometimes your city. And I know you’ve, you’ve ran really robust campaigns to the most simple, I don’t want to assume any intelligence for our listeners, and I want to make sure that they understand the the power of this channel, and potentially of your software as well, is starting from scratch. What is the most basic but effective direct mailing strategy that marketers should be aware of right now?
Dave Fink 21:58
Well, I think it’s, it’s, it’s the idea of, of three different kind of buckets of strategies, okay. And, and that, I think, is maybe the biggest eye opening moment when we engage in our sales team engages with prospect customers. Direct mails, isn’t one of those rare channels that can be used across your full funnel? So, you know, the, you know, the holy grail for most marketers is acquisition, how do we grow? How do we hit our, you know, our quarterly and annual numbers? How do we find new customers, and prospecting, you know, customer acquisition is incredibly powerful, very similar strategies to what you can run in digital programmatic, social things like leveraging your first party CRM segments, to train look alike models, so that you can be laser focused and much more rapid in your optimization. You can be very specific in your segmentation, most of us have US brands have, you know, multiple different segments of consumers, and we should, you know, be able to speak uniquely each of those those segments, you know, the creative testing, like, that’s all possible. So step one is top of funnel acquisition, to, you know, it’s used day in day out as a huge growth driver, $50 billion a year is spent in direct mail here in the US. But then, big, right. But then you move down the funnel, and then you think about, hey, I have all this, you know, first party data, I spent all this time, energy and budget driving engagement with my mobile apps, my lead funnels, my brand websites, my micro sites, and that first party, digital data can be used to build programmatic campaigns. You know, and that’s a, that’s a pretty new way of thinking about direct mail. So you have that mid funnel, and then the, you know, then you go deeper the funnel, you think about your existing leads, or your existing customers, and, you know, and things like your email and SMS being, you know, really efficient ways to engage those individuals. But, you know, harder and harder to, to grab attention from those channels and open rates and response rates declining and, and direct mail is is one of those channels that can be used for all those same strategies, any of your your first party CRM data can be turned into, you know, addressable audiences that you can use for, again, for lead conversion or create, you know, last customer engagement or increasing ARV or tightening up the frequency between purchases. You know, that’s the full funnel of marketing. And to me, that’s the power of direct mail. And that’s kind of the maybe the component of it, it’s not thought of by the same marketers that are looking at, you know, email and social and programmatic and search.
Chris Davis 24:50
Yeah, and the, I guess, you know, to summarize it, it is don’t limit direct mail to just acquisition Like, share, leverage it throughout the entire funnel the entire customer journey, there’s opportunities. to couple it. One of the things that one of the questions I had just kind of while you’re thinking that, while you’re talking now when you’re talking I’m, I’m putting myself in, in the context of it now. And, you know, I’m thinking of what the what the media looks like, what’s on what’s on it, how people engage with the color use and all of that. But maybe one of the more basic questions that that our listeners are having that I have right now is, when do you grab the address? Is that something that’s, you know, right up front? Hey, you know, give me your information? Are you getting it later? Are you getting it some other means when you get the address?
Dave Fink 25:45
And are you talking about specifically for like a lead conversion campaign,
Chris Davis 25:50
or even for existing leads? You know?
Dave Fink 25:53
Well, it sure if you if you have leads that you don’t have advertised? Well, there are a couple things to note. So certainly, anytime, like luck, I mean, the more you know about your customer, the more likely you are to be able to build a relationship, understand who that person is understand their needs, why they’re responding, or not responding to your product, or your service, or the way you’re talking about your service. So, you know, within reason you have the more, you know, data and knowledge you can capture on on those prospects or customers, you know, sooner, the better. With that being said, there are return on adspend principles that you also have to weigh as well. And so if if, you know, if you have kind of primary and secondary goals from your media spend, you have to think through how to prioritize them. And, yeah, they’re definitely businesses that are driven more by, you know, each incremental transaction. So the goal is get out of the way, don’t do anything that, you know, interferes with a potential transaction. But then there are other businesses that are building more towards kind of a long term value or lifetime value view on on their customers. And in those cases, you might, it might be okay to sacrifice some portion of immediate conversions from revenue generating action for a broader set of, you know, more deeply engaged prospects that you can work on converting or monetizing or engaging over time. So that that’s that’s a tough question to answer across the board. The good news, though, with with I think, with Posty, is that we have a data management platform, that data management platform provides access to your to your, really, your data on about 275 million Americans pretty much anybody that falls within any brands addressable market. And that includes your clean mail address level data, and all sorts of feature rich data that can be used to model. The DMP also allows to do some identity work so that if you don’t have an address on a customer, or lead, but you have an email address or some identifying feature, there are ways that addendum digital for a very long time that you can resolve that to a manageable audience, and not have to go out and worry about capturing that that physical address yourself.
Chris Davis 28:15
Yeah, so which leads to the importance in the whole, right that you saw in the marketplace, when it came to leveraging direct mail, I’ll share with you a story. This startups name shall remain nameless. And it was one of their their VPS, their VPs of marketing. I cannot remember, I think we did some reverse engineering and grabbed email addresses from one of our competitors. I think it was. So from those email addresses. Again, there was another tool that grabbed their physical addresses, right? So we’ve got these email addresses. And then we grabbed these feet, the physical addresses because we wanted to run a mail campaign end up running this mail campaign. And clearly you could tell it was the first time they’ve ever done anything like it. So me as on the technical side of things, I’m just making sure hey, look, we can put the name of the person in the URL, and it’ll probably increase the opportunity, the chances that they’ll actually go to whatever is on take action, essentially, right? Well, they never saw the light of day, because what we found is that there’s still some intelligence required when you go scraping your, your competitors emails, of what you think were their users, because what we ended up finding is that they were mixed like 5050 employees of that company and their user. So their employees started to get mail about, hey, leave this company and start using our software. They work for the company, say leave so he The data was, oh, it was terrible. It was a terrible performance. But what it did teach me was everything that’s involved with direct mailing in terms of when someone actually receives it. What in, they’re ready to take action, what needs to be right in front of them. So if someone were to come up to you and say, hey, I want to send a mailer, I just need to know what to put on it. What would you say are the bare minimums that your, your your mail should your mailer should consist of?
Dave Fink 30:31
Yeah. So that that conversation, our team has gained day out where you post the, you know, advertisers, or even prospects? And it’s a really fun question, because it gives us the opportunity to, like, kind of, you know, relax, to provide some Zen to the person the other end of the conversation, because, yeah, there’s nothing, it’s there’s nothing different about direct mail, or the way you think about direct mail, then email, or a landing page, or a brand site or a billboard. And I, I always think like that. So the reality, you mentioned, the Dollar Shave Club experience. And that that was an eye opening experience for me, because prior to DACA, which, I mean, it’s crazy to think about when I was started, probably 12 years ago, 13 years ago, I was very fixated, like many quantitative or performance markers and things like in kind of tactics and the micro and things like, you know, green color, CTAs on beauty, you know, brand websites, Kinberg, you know, 15% higher than blue buttons. And, you know, you have to have if you have fewer than 20 words in a headline, or if this is what you put above the fold or below the fold on, you know, an image or whatnot. And sometimes those things don’t work and can’t be additive, but they’re incremental. What what the Dollar Shave Club experience taught me is that in a world of social media have broadband have the ability to tell a much longer message engage consumers longer and more consistently than crazy moving flash? Yeah, banner ad where you feel like shoot the duck going across the, you know, 300 banner, you know, you have the there’s way more benefit from investing in a great product, great service, a story that is and kind of storytelling that that reinforces why that product great serves in the solves a problem. And and when you look at like Dollar Shave Club, like that bit brand, you know, the timing was impeccable. You know, Mike, you’ve been the founder of that business, having been incredible, you know, creative thinker and entertainer and was able to leverage a viral video and then multiple viral videos, in order to tell the disruptive story about why you’re overpaying for razors, and there’s this, you know, 10,000 pound gorilla that owns 80% of the market, you know, basically price fixing and, and whatnot. And, and what that did is like that, that got me to realize, like hey, like, all these tactics are great, but like, if you leverage the foundational components of marketing, in a really meaningful way against, you know, a really quality, quality brand story that’s authentic, then that’s way more powerful. And that in so that translates to direct mail when we engage with the client. Like, it’s not like, it’s not about like, did they wonder, like all the tips and tricks and they’re like, they’re like, freaked out that they don’t know how to like design for direct mail, and we just like, we’re like, hey, let’s open up your Instagram feed. And then we’ll like a gentleman their, you know, their Instagram feed, and we’ll, we’ll look at like, hey, what Instagram posts got the most engagement? And, you know, like the three or four, you know, images of like, okay, like, what is it about these images that are, you know, they’re, you know, similar that we can learn from all of their lifestyle imagery. Oh, they’re all talking about a very specific use case. Well, great. Like, let’s, let’s translate that into piece of direct mouth. So like, worried about what, you know, people 30 years ago used to, like, designed for direct mail, like, let’s engage your consumers that we’re going to be incredibly targeted on. Very similarly to how that’s the to how you’re reaching them on Instagram and Facebook and email, and billboards and your TV ads. Like it. That’s what works and that’s fun. And that’s actually like very disarming I think, for someone that’s new to direct.
Chris Davis 34:42
Extremely disarming, you know what you did to me right there, Dave? You made me think of my mailbox like a social channel. Yeah. Like what picture would I upload to that channel? Is does it immediately removes the weight of Oh, Gotta get it printed, what should I put? Do I need some stock photos? It’s like, well, what would you put on Instagram? What would you upload right now for your brand? To get people to say, hey, that’s really cool. Oh, man. Wow.
Dave Fink 35:13
Yeah, though that that is I mean, I guess I should start talking, let your audience sink in, because it’s really really important. That’s not just true direct mail, it’s any channel you know, we talked about a hit a long history of like I remember, you know, some of the brands that we were launching that, you know, were early in your career, and every dollar spent on programmatic or social was was really, you know, meaningful and had to pay off. And we would deliberately go out and do photoshoots and design, you know, dozens and dozens of different different social feed posts, that we were going to get organic distribution, we’d run those first we’d look at see which posts, you know, drove more viral engagement. And then that we would use in our ad can our paid ad campaigns. But that’s, that’s just your thoughtful, smart, you know, marketing across the board. Email, right email doesn’t cost any more than the monthly service license that you have, like, use email as a way to test messages offers images, product verse lifestyle, photography, you know, layouts, etc. Like, don’t just go off and like redesign your entire website on a whim, like, leverage, you know, kind of your more inexpensive media let let the data kind of help guide you. And, and, and yeah, and you will be more efficient with your paid media.
Chris Davis 36:39
Yeah, yeah. And one of the things about much of your software, your platform, is that it integrates with your CRM directly. And it allows you to more easily leverage direct mail as a channel because I tell people often, you know, people aren’t opening my emails, what should I do send them more emails. And it’s like, you know, that’s actually, it doesn’t make sense. Because you can’t use the same channels, someone disengaged on to reengage them. If they disengaged in email, your chances of them re engaging via email are a lot lower than if you used another channel wisely, right.
Dave Fink 37:19
So I love that we see time and time again, with even some of the biggest brands in the world, that the low hanging fruit and some of the highest converting campaigns are those that take their their unsold email lists and introduce those to those individuals to drag them out. Because it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to engage with your brand, it just may mean that they’re not they don’t want their email inboxes like after you’ve been too aggressive with them or that’s just that’s just not the their primary choice of engagement, but they still are interested in shopping and you need to kind of remind them you the other thing that they you brought up with integrating with your with your CRM or really anywhere you carry you keep date any database, where you have consumer prospect data yet, yet? Yes, yep, posting in there for direct mail just integrates directly there. And, and, and I don’t think I’ve ever really kind of made this connection so succinctly. But we just talked about how you can leverage, you know, the efficiency of things like, you know, your social feeds to make good leading indicator decisions on on how to invest in design and creative for your paid media and drink. Now, the same thing is, is is exactly how how, you know, we all should think about leveraging first party data, you have this like liquid gold, right? You had you had this consumer date, this customer database, these are individuals that have have yet already showed you that they’re interested in your product and services find value. There are platforms like DSPS and Posties, you know, our DMP where we have, you know, 1000s 1000s of 1000s of different attributes and features on those individuals. And, and you can, you know, connect you know, your your CRM directly to your post T account, and you can see, you know, all that data overlaid on your CRM, and your CRM segments to get a sense for who these people are. So that instead of, you know, the experience of hey, I’m, you know, what demographic or behavior should I start, you know, targeting in my direct mail campaign and you’re trying to guess, who you think your customers are? Yeah, if you’re a brand that has, you know, 1000s hundreds of 1000s millions of customers in your database like unlock that, that existing knowledge and insights and and then you could be off in in the direct mail channel or certainly other programmatic channels with a tremendous amount of competitive advantage because now you’re going out targeting people that look just like your best performing customers. You know, now you have like a head start and creative you have a head start on I’m targeting, and you know, you might not be perfect out of the gate, but you’re gonna save a lot of expense and headache, optimizing, then then you would have without technology. And to me that’s like the power of technology with marketing.
Chris Davis 40:14
Yeah, the ability to track is everything, right? The fact that you can tie that, that engagement in Don’t worry everybody, it is possible for you to send something in the mail and actually have that tracked in your CRM, that’s a whole nother topic. Oh, by the day, I don’t want to overwhelm you all. But the idea that has changed is that that type of data is now accessible by way of digital marketing and technological advancements. Whereas in the previous previous days, I mean, you had a phone number, you know, maybe a vanity number that people will call is like, okay, they got our mailer, because they caught this number. So making the track the tracking much more accessible, is is huge, it remind it just makes me think of this, if I were to simplify all of this, we’re really talking about using more than one channel to reach your audience. And Dave, honestly, people are running to advertising, they’re scratching their head and rolling in all of these programs, buying software, they may be a direct mailer away from success. Sure. And that’s just the honest truth. It’s a channel that they’re not even aware of that, you know, they can use it, I was just thinking while you’re talking to if I had somebody’s phone number, and I kept calling them and they never picked up, I would not keep calling them. At some point, I’ll send them a text. And there’s a good day, it’s just by Chase, same destination, but just changing my method of communication, I may get a response, maybe an email, and I just don’t think we translate that enough Dave into marketing, we get so one dimensional, and think that the channel has to do everything, and get so down when it’s not working. It’s like, no, you’ve got other options. There’s other ways to reach your audience,
Dave Fink 42:02
for sure. I mean, like, let’s think about it in, you know, in our daily lives, right. Like, you know, maybe you’re, you know, I know, I don’t have a whole lot of spare time in my day. So like, if I’m at the grocery store, and I’m desperately trying to like, pick up a few things. And I realize like, there’s an ingredient that I forgot about, and somebody I’m going to call you, I call my wife at home and ask her to go like, look at the list that I forgot to, you know, store, and she doesn’t answer, I’m probably not going to give up, I might think, Oh, I’ll say like you said, I’ll send a text because maybe she’s in the middle of something, right? You know, it she’s either peloton or, you know, yeah, on the other line, just figures, it’s not that important. But then she can see the text and she can respond. And so it may not it, you know, sometimes targeting is the issue and you’re reaching the wrong people or the wrong segments within your CRM. But other times, it could just be that you’re reaching them at the wrong time with the wrong message or the wrong, you know, media channel. And, and look, there’s I don’t use a single big business lasting business out there that built their entire growth strategy on one channel. But there are lots of them. I’m guilty of it up until you know, a handful years ago, that that that did get way over indexed in and channels that provided a ton of value, but also a lot of risk. And so we have to take the good and the savvy that we’ve learned through some of these amazing channels, and figure out other ways to apply them if we want to be in control of our business’s future.
Chris Davis 43:42
Yeah, no, no closing out. Last question for you. When should a business start to think of investing in direct mail? Should they first build their list? So they have CRM data? Should they go to, you know, their their local? I don’t know where you buy addresses nowadays. But, you know, like, what type of business is best positioned to start generating more immediate results and revenue with with direct mail?
Dave Fink 44:11
We’re good news is that we’ve seen you know, after sending hundreds of millions of pieces of mail 10s of 1000s of campaigns, 1000s of advertisers and measure all of them. You know, we’ve seen that direct mail can be a really effective channel for the widest range of verticals, brands, maturity levels, etc. There are categories, you know, kind of business segments that are probably a little easier to get it right. Direct Mail does have costs associated with it and you need to be a business that has the budget to invest in new channel. Yeah, if you’re a business where this is your last you know, dollar and you’re throwing Get out there on a wet you know, wing and a prayer, I just I wouldn’t do that like that that’s not the right reason. Or if you’re very early in your path, you don’t have any direct mail experience. And you know, you aren’t definitively playing in a category where where direct mail historically has just been bread and butter for you, I would say better for you to invest in some of the lighter channels like social where you can get some learnings on messaging, audience segmentation, just prove that your funnels are working, you have the right pricing, your you know, all the basics are there. And then as you start gaining some traction in those channels that are a little bit less expensive to initially test in. And it’s time to start getting a bit more serious, and you have the confidence that the core is there and, and you have some budget that you can use to leading the channel for a few months, that that’s the right time, but you don’t want to start start any channel, you know, direct mail included, if you’re going to wake up every day, for a few you know, with like nurses a cat, you need to be excited about actually wanting to put some budget to work. And, and, and recognizing that there has to be a little bit of reskin investment initially in order to get to a place where it’s optimized and ready to scale.
Chris Davis 46:14
Great, great. And I would imagine if someone were to sign up with Posty, you You all probably have templates, you probably have all kinds of resources that help somebody kind of piece it together when they are ready to make that long term commitment, or they just have a realistic and accurate, you know, approach going in?
Dave Fink 46:34
Yeah, 100%. So, yeah, look, it’s a robust channel. There are a lot of, you know, complicated strategies that you can build towards. But it’s also you know, it’s a matter of a dozen clicks to get kind of your initial campaigns up and running. really shouldn’t be intimidating.
Chris Davis 46:53
Got it. Great. Great. Well, Dave, we’ve got listeners, maybe this is the podcast they were waiting on finally direct mail, where can they go to find out more about either yourself or your or your software
Dave Fink 47:06
that our website is, is I think does a pretty robust job of sharing a wide breadth of information on the channel and how you think about it, and how Posty can potentially help and then, and then we have a very clear our own lead form. If you would like to engage directly with us and actually run run through a demo or talk to a concentrated salesperson. I can certainly LinkedIn is kind of my go to for communication. And yet you’re anybody that wants to connect me as connected me as Welcome to find me on LinkedIn, and I’ll do my best to respond.
Chris Davis 47:50
Great, great, would they thank you so much for coming on. Talking about some some digital marketing strategies, some advertising strategies, new channels, I really hope this exposes people expands their mind into strategic thinking beyond just social and email, because we really need to be playing more of an omni channel game and taking an omni channel approach in today’s marketing, not because we want to selfishly grow our own business, but it’s a service. Sometimes, when I’m going to the mail, it’s refreshing to see something that I’ll actually take action on, instead of all of this garbage that I just have to rip up and throw away. So anything done with high value will be received well from your audience. So take the time, learn your audience. I think that’s the biggest theme and everything that you were saying. I was thinking like, Yep, this is why you need to learn. This is why you need to be paying attention to what your audience is doing what they’re saying. So that you know when you do meet them on a channel, like direct mail, you know how to meet them in a way that they’ll respond and be appreciative of your strategy and research. So they again, thanks, man, thanks so much for coming on to the podcast, man.
Dave Fink 49:04
Yeah, look I enjoyed is a really good conversation and you obviously know your stuff. And I assume your listeners are available caliber where hopefully I was able to add some value to to, to their thought process and jobs.
Chris Davis 49:21
Yeah, I haven’t. I have no doubt in my mind. They’re thanking us right now for this podcast. So again, greatly appreciated. Dave, I’ll see you online. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to and it can be found in Apple podcast, Google podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday. So make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and why You’re at it. Please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly, and you can access them all at allsystemsgopodcast.com Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friends
- [3:05] Dave’s background and what his past 20 years of marketing experience have looked like
- [7:25] What led Dave to get into the SaaS market
- [14:33] How Dave realized that direct mail was being highly underutilized
- [21:48] Dave shares the most basic, but effective direct mailing strategy currently
- [25:57] The best opportunity and time to grab a prospects physical address
- [30:18] The bare minimums that your mailer should consist of and include
- [33:16] How to take what’s performing well on social media and use it in direct mail
- [35:42] Why you should run tests with organic marketing before turning to paid media
- [36:39] How Dave’s software, Postie, allows you to easily leverage direct mail
- [42:02] A real life example of why you should use multiple channels to reach your audience
- [43:42] When your business should start to consider investing in direct mail
Dave thinks the best-kept secret in marketing is hiding where you least expect it — your mailbox. Over a 20-year career, he’s generated hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue, powered viral sensations like Dollar Shave Club, and helped launch celebrity startups for Jessica Simpson, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Kate Bosworth. Now as founder and CEO of Postie, he’s out to reinvent direct mail marketing for a digital world.
- Website: https://postie.com/
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About the Show
On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.
Discover how to deploy automated marketing, sales, and delivery systems to scale your business without working long hours to do so.
Chris L. Davis
Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant