You walk into an OfficeMax store, or go online, and make a purchase. Once upon a time, friendly service and a good product might make you a repeat customer for that office supplies business. Today, that purchase is the “trigger” for a campaign that cross-sells or upsells you correlated products.
I recently interviewed Chris Duncan—director of marketing for OfficeMax, which is headquartered in Naperville, Ill.—about his organization’s progressive trigger campaigns and its heavy reliance on direct mail.
Ethan Boldt: How much a part of a trigger marketing campaign is direct mail versus the other channels?
Chris Duncan: You can use e-mail, telemarketing, in-store, mobile marketing and many others for trigger marketing messages. The “trigger” concept is really just a process of identifying trends and behaviors that you want to respond to. We chose direct mail because it’s been effective for us. We use a variety of formats like letters with envelopes, self-mailers, postcards and many others.
EB: Are most of the “triggers” point-of-sale (POS) data? What about customer feedback or survey data?
CD: The triggers are based on statistical analysis and customer trends. We utilize historical POS data (retail stores, online and phone orders) to identify the triggers and utilize that same POS data that we collect every day to identify when members have met those triggers. We don’t use customer surveys or feedback as part of our trigger program but may do so in the future.
EB: How long have you been using this method?
CD: We’ve been using customer behavior to drive some of our marketing for years. We developed a trigger marketing system within the last several months to be even more proactive towards customer behavior … [and] we are impressed with the response that we’ve seen.
EB: I understand that OfficeMax preprints shells and then fills in VDP offers/messaging. How does your creative team interact with marketing/database groups to develop appealing creative while working within the boundaries of variable data formats?
CD: The creative part of this has been exciting to work on. We brought together associates from production, marketing and creative to develop great communications for our customers. We used past results of direct mail to help drive what formats work. Production worked with our printers to modify those formats so we could be highly efficient and go to market quickly; and our in-house creative team developed pieces that would stand out in the mailbox and elicit responses. It was a great team effort.