3 Ways Past the B-to-B Gatekeeper with Direct Mail
Ever wonder if your B-to-B mail will make it to the right person? If you are targeting businesses, especially mid- to large-sized companies, that mailing is likely to face the B-to-B gatekeeper, an employee who receives and sorts the company's mail and decides which pieces warrant attention from the boss or decision maker.
A gatekeeper will screen about 80 percent of B-to-B marketing mail, says Greg Demetriou, president of Farmingdale, N.Y.-based American Mail Communications. And, according to Bob Bly, a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant, "if you watch them at their jobs, you know they sort the mail pretty quickly."
Here are three ways to create a B-to-B mail piece that will pass inspection:
1. Segment Efforts by Company Size
Before you tailor your mailings to get past a gatekeeper, consider appending data regarding company sizes to your lists. A good cutoff for companies that have direct mail gatekeepers is anywhere above 25 employees. "Large corporations are much more likely to have gatekeepers than small offices and home offices," Bly claims. " As a rule of thumb, the bigger the company, the more likely they are to have gatekeepers; the smaller, the less likely."
2. Smart Designs get Noticed
Gatekeepers may have a keen understanding of their bosses' professional needs, or they may let mail through simply because "it looks important." In the former case, you need to appeal to the business's present needs and performance. Demetriou says, "I want that gatekeeper to say, 'You know, I really have to show this to the boss; this really might be good for us.'"
To make the letter look like something the gatekeeper should pass on, Bly recommends a design that doesn't look too promotional and instead resembles important correspondence, such as content-based mailings (newsletter or whitepaper). Along the same lines, Demetriou suggests that a high-end package will more likely pique interest than a self-mailer.
3. Appeal to a Gatekeeper Directly
You can also target gatekeepers directly with offers, freemiums and premiums that address their responsibilities as employees.
Bly cites an example of a classic 9" x 12" mailing that was addressed to the prospect and had a smaller envelope spot-glued to it, addressed "To the Receptionist." The smaller envelope explained the benefits of how and why the boss would profit if he or she had this great technology. Bly says the mailing was a "keeper" because it also offered an incentive for the gatekeepers where they could return the reply card and get a premium or discount.