EB: What kind of obstacles have you faced with this strategy, and how have you tried to overcome them?
CD: The biggest obstacle is time. We’re trying to get communications in the mail within hours (not days or weeks) of triggers being hit, so we need to move quickly and don’t have much room for error. There’s also a lot of setup and behind-the-scenes work that needs to get done for this to be successful.
EB: Can you describe some of what goes on “behind the scenes” to create such a quick communication?
CD: The setup is where most of the work is. We set up rules based on a lot of statistical analysis and customer trends that we find valuable. We look at the data every week and find members that have triggered those rules, and from there we get a communication out to them. The process of sending data to a printer, printing a direct mail piece and starting a mailing is completed within a day or two.
EB: What do you have in store for the future for OfficeMax direct mail?
CD: The future of direct mail for us will continue to evolve. It will probably include the blending of catalog and traditional “mailers” as well as continuing to push the envelope with creative.
We’re also going to try new types of materials and formats. We’re currently working on an eco-mailing for our MaxPerks members. It’s an exciting piece, and I think our customers will love it. It’s nearly all eco-friendly, down to the ink we use. We’re continually testing new things, and you’ll see higher-end pieces come out from us in the future—but only when and where it makes sense. We let the ROI determine how much we can invest in mailings and which segment we mail it to.