Adjusting B2B Direct Mail Strategy During COVID-19
These are unprecedented times with brands struggling to manage cash flow, pay their employees, and stay in business. Small, local businesses will be especially hit hard. Please support local businesses and help them and their employees survive until the economy rebounds.
So…how do you manage your direct mail campaigns if you mail catalogs and other direct mail pieces to the B2B market?
(1) Consider your B2B audience. If you sell essential products such as medical supplies, home office products, food supply, culinary equipment, logistical supplies, etc. then your target customers are likely still operating on site and your products are needed. If inventory is low, reduce your circulation and/or redirect it to the areas most in need of your product.
(2) If you do not sell essential products and have reason to believe that your target customers are now working from home, then use the Residential Delivery Indicator (RDI) flag to decrease the number of catalogs mailed to businesses.
(3) If you still want to mail to businesses, then consider limiting your circulation to one catalog per business location.
(4) Leverage your database and reduce circulation to B2B customers who have shown they are highly engaged with your emails. If customers have clicked through an email or they have clicked on an email and then made a purchase, you can eliminate them from your direct mail circulation. Under normal circumstances, I’d recommend you test first and confirm that mailing catalogs does not result in profitable incremental sales to this cohort. However, if you don’t run these tests and need to make cutbacks, then use email engagement as a variable.
(5) Postpone B2B catalog mailings for a few months and revisit the timing. It does not make sense to spend money mailing catalogs to vacant businesses.
(6) Consider relaxing your return policies and giving customers more time to make returns.
(7) Be transparent about inventory levels and allow B2B customers to place back orders or receive email notifications when product is back in stock.
(8) Continue to prospect in digital channels if you sell non essential products that businesses still need to buy.
(9) If your business is highly dependent on new B2B customers for annual sales, then resist the impulse to cut back on customer acquisition. This might even be the time to increase spend or reallocate funds from direct mail to digital. If your business does not have a high repurchase rate and you stop all acquisition efforts, your business might never recover.
(10) Your marketing database has a wealth of information. Keep it clean and deduped. It is critical that you track metrics on repurchase rates, customer acquisition as a % of sales, and are using them to plan your future sales and customer counts into 2021 and 2022.
(11) Send an email to your customers and include a link to your catalog pdf or digital online catalog
Keep running your simulations and let us know if you need help.