By Jim Cochrane
Chief Marketing & Sales Officer
Executive Vice President
The United States Postal Service
As marketers and strategists, we all strive to find opportunities to transform campaigns from one-dimensional to omni-channel. With nearly limitless options, we’re faced with the challenge of leveraging the strengths of the right channels to reach consumers with the right message at the right time. Of course, ensuring each consumer’s experience is consistent and complimentary is easier said than done.
The USPS 2015 Holiday Campaign was a two-month omni-channel campaign that set out to show consumers that USPS is a reliable and dependable shipping partner during the holidays. Here I’ll share the facets of our omni-channel approach as well as key findings and results.
* Segmented Mailers: Our 2015 Holiday Campaign included four versions of mailers with various calls to action, ranging from ordering Priority Mail boxes to returning unwanted gifts. Creating different mailers allowed us to test the success of each using the following tactics:
o Vanity URLs: Each call to action included a different vanity URL used to direct consumers to our microsite. For example, a mailer encouraging consumers to order stamps advertised http://www.StampsCheer.com. With various URLs, we could track how successful each mailer was by analyzing web traffic.
o Multi-Touches: One “mailer” was actually a three-touch postcard to understand if a multi-touch DM effort was more successful than receiving a single communication.
o Customer Response Envelopes (CREs): These envelopes offered consumers a direct means of purchasing stamps and special retail items as opposed to ordering online.
o Controlled Variable: We used the 2015 Holiday Playbook, updated only slightly from 2014, to determine success year over year.
* Microsite: Each vanity URL used in our holiday mailers drove users to the microsite http://www.OurSeason.com. Customers were able to purchase stamps, schedule a pickup, find locations and order free boxes in one location. Overall, we found web traffic increased 33% during the period of the campaign. Mobile capability was also a strong focus as we wanted to put the expertise and efficiency of the USPS online store in the pocket of every customer. True to form, 49% of site activity was accessed via mobile device during the campaign.
* Digital Engagement: We created a USPS augmented reality (AR) mobile app where customers could hold their smartphones up to any real blue mailbox to experience a “Mailbox Miracle.” This created a powerful digital experience that connected the real world with the limitless realm of the digital world. It’s not every day you can spot Charlie Brown and his pals next to a USPS mailbox.
* Social Interaction: Finally, integration of PR and social media channels enhanced customer engagement to the overall marketing campaign. Tying into the Charlie Brown holiday theme, we encouraged consumers to take a photo with Charlie Brown, who was featured on our delivery trucks, and share their photos.
Overall, our omni-channel holiday campaign proved to be successful. By comparing the 2015 campaign against the previous year, we found total visitors across all vanity URLs increased. Other valuable results include:
* Stamp purchases online increased by 17% from 2014 and free boxes increased by 22.4%
* 46% of the mailer’s recipients felt there was an increased perception of reliability
* Inclusion of the CRE provided an alternative channel for customer response, resulting in a 38% lift in engagement for that piece
It’s true that omni-channels campaigns require more thought, manpower and planning – countless moving parts result in few dull moments. Yet I believe leveraging various channels with unique consumer experiences is the best way to resonate with consumers and maximize results.
I encourage you to visit uspsdelivers.com for more tips to boost your next marketing campaign.