Where are people working post-pandemic?
A curated direct mail test tells us who is remote and who is back in the office
There's no question that the pandemic changed our work habits and environments drastically. But how many of those "new normal" measures are still normal? We used direct mail to find out for one of our B2B tech clients.
Direct mail continues to be one of the most profitable paid acquisition channels for our B2B tech/SaaS clients. Unlike search marketing, display, podcasts, or other “anonymous” channels that rely on third-party cookies, direct mail allows us to target a defined “known” audience of companies and contacts with terrestrial addresses. This allows us to more accurately pinpoint our target audience, and know where to reach them, whether it’s a home or office.
One of the most impactful ways to improve Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) in the channel is with a long-term test-and-learn plan for determining your most profitable target audience, refining by demographics and firmographics. This can include company size, industry and sub industry, revenue, geo-targeting, entity type, address type, and more.
When planning our 2023 direct mail campaigns, one B2B tech client had the important question: Where are people working—at home or in the office—and does that vary by industry? While this answer could be crucial to the direct mail strategy, this was an organization-wide question they needed to answer.
Another benefit to direct mail over anonymous channels is being able to attribute a response and conversion to a specific test cell. This made our program a reliable channel to gain real learnings that answer the client’s questions above.
With a curated testing plan, we used our first two direct mail acquisition campaigns to draw address-type learnings that could be used in this channel and others. Below is our test plan and rolled-up results from both campaigns.
The testing plan
Based on our clients' target audience and assumptions of which businesses might be remote-first, we created upfront test cells with unique vanity URLs for the following industries, using 2-digit SIC groupings:
All other industries
Many B2B compiled files—like Data Axle—are growing their B2B2C database, offering both commercial and residential addresses for the contacts on their lists. For records that we were able to source both addresses, we broke into three test groups:
Send only to residential address
Send only to commercial address
Send to both residential and commercial addresses
1. Overall, sending to commercial addresses only drove a 92% higher conversion rate than residential addresses only.
More and more workers are heading back into the office—across industries—whether it's 100% or a hybrid model. Furthermore, workers are setting thicker boundaries at home, creating a separation of work and personal life.
2. Sending to both addresses trailed closely behind overall, driving a higher conversion rate than sending to just one address in Financial, Business, and Health Services.
Although commercial addresses drove highest conversions overall, sending to both addresses provided a more profitable ROAS in specific industries—even considering the print production cost was almost doubled
3. Financial Services had the lowest conversion rate sending to commercial only, but sending to both addresses was still most profitable.
The only outlier was Financial Services, which showed a higher affinity to respond from home over the office when sending only one piece—however, sending to both addresses still drove a 150% higher conversion rate than residential-only.
In the case of commercial vs residential, targeting someone at their office should be the priority for most industries. Of course, there are cases in B2B data where a record only has a residential address available—especially when targeting SMB—and should continue to source those records if they fit your target audience.
There is huge opportunity in sourcing both commercial and residential addresses for your B2B audience, and it's worth testing to find the right strategy. It doesn't have to be the same piece to both addresses. Instead, you can test tactics such as:
Send higher-value piece to the office and more cost-effective piece to the home.
Send first touch to the office and second touch to the home.
Send DM to the office and use the home address for ConnectedTV.
Since these industry groupings were based on 2-digit SICs, the buckets were broad. Using 4- or 6-digit SICs in subsequent campaigns will allow us to better learn behavior by sub-industries.
While this test provides valuable learnings for all B2B marketers, nuances in B2B audience targeting varies by product, organization, and more. Whether you're trying to refine your targeting across channels or conduct behavioral research, the experts at Pragmatic can help develop the strategy and execute on the plan. Contact us today to learn more.