Direct Mail

Wiland Solutions Deliver Superior Results

Marketers that utilize the direct mail marketing channel have known Wiland for over 40 years as an innovative marketing intelligence company that produces game changing breakthroughs. Software and services first developed by Wiland companies have had lasting positive impact in the industries that rely on the direct mail channel. Wiland was first with carrier route presort software that enables postage discounts – and first with sophisticated merge/purge software – and first with automated predictive response models with triple validation based on time-zero data. Many Wiland firsts are now industry norms.

But what really matters now is that the direct mail channel needs new efficiency and effectiveness breakthroughs, perhaps more today than ever before. Direct mail costs have skyrocketed. Many companies that rely heavily on direct mail have low growth rates and profit margins are down. A good example is that multichannel retailers with roots in mailing catalogs had an average pre-tax profit margin of about 12% in 1990 and were growing at a rate faster than other retailers. In contrast to that excellent performance, catalog merchants today have an average pre-tax profit margin in the low single digits and most have sluggish growth. Some are maintaining an acceptable margin by squeezing out cost and restricting growth. Only a small percentage of firms that rely heavily on direct mail have strong profits and growth.

It isn't just catalog companies that are feeling the profit and growth squeeze. Higher postage is a problem for fundraisers, magazine publishers, and just about any company or organization that relies on direct mail. Furthermore, cost is not the only problem direct mailers face. Other challenges include increased competition, difficulty acclimating to today's multichannel marketing world, and changes in consumer preferences. But whatever the issues our clients face, Wiland wants to deliver a better future. We want to provide solutions that matter – solutions that increase client profits, expand client margins, raise the long-term value of their customers, and drive client revenue growth.

As has been the case for over 40 years, solutions from Wiland for the direct mail marketing channel are a focus. Our goal is to deliver the future – a future in which the direct mail channel remains vibrant, marketers achieve growth in both revenue and profits because of powerful Wiland solutions, and direct mail works in symbiotic harmony with other channels in the complex, multichannel world. In short, we want to deliver a better future for our clients. Utilization of digital channels Digital Channel is strongly encouraged, but the effectiveness of direct mail marketing is undeniable. Direct mail remains a huge marketing channel for reaching large audiences, universally producing far higher response rates than other direct marketing channel. Yes, it typically costs more per marketing piece. But it also produces at a higher rate for net return on investment. We want to use our data, marketing intelligence, analytics, and technology to make direct mail more efficient for our clients, so that their revenues and profits rise, even in the face of tough competition and channel shift.

The Wiland Advantage

Wiland has numerous advantages that enable us to produce great results for our clients. Collectively they add up to superior results for clients. That's what we want to produce for our clients – superior results. One reason we consistently deliver on this goal is the following significant advantages.  

Advantage 1: The Wiland Database

Our database houses billions of transactions from thousands of brands spanning multiple industries. This transactional view of consumer behavior gives us unprecedented visibility into consumer spending and interests. In addition to retail transaction data (catalog purchases, online purchases, store purchases), Wiland's database also includes consumer transaction data from an extensive array of other industries. We have more donation transactions than anyone, and the data comes directly to us from our numerous nonprofit clients. We have more publishing data than anyone, coming from our huge base of magazine, newspaper, newsletter, and book publishing clients. And we have massive data in other industries, including travel, hospitality and consumer services. We combine all this data, along with demographic and psychographic data, that we access exclusively for the benefit of clients that provide input.

The Wiland database is unique in several respects. Size, breadth and depth of the database certainly sets it apart from all but a very few. Sophistication is another factor. We don't just process and store the data. The data is mapped very strategically to create maximum predictive marketing response power across thousands of variables. The database is also unique in another very important respect: it is a truly exclusive, private resource for participating clients only. This privacy is very important. The database and its benefits simply are not available to firms that do not provide input data. We don't sell any data to third parties. We don't reveal the data of one client to any other client. We just use it internally to enable the powerful services we provide to contributing clients only. Huge. Deep. Broad. Sophisticated. Optimally mapped. Used only to benefit clients that contribute their data. Now that's unique.  

Advantage 2: Wiland Analytics

Our massive, diverse transactional database certainly is a huge advantage, but the fact that it is tightly interfaced with our proven, proprietary predictive analytics is the icing on the cake. We not only have the best transactional data, we know how to use it and we use it efficiently. We don't charge a penny for creating custom predictive models that pinpoint our client's productive audiences – regardless of our client's market. Working together, our database and predictive modeling services deliver the right audiences for:  

  • Retailer Merchants with stores all over the country; regional retailers; niche catalog brands; retailers of every size and description – we have your market in our database, and we pinpoint it with custom analytics  
  • Nonprofits, large and small; huge national and international charities, regional charities, hospitals, food banks, animal rescue, you name it – we have more donation data than anyone and our modeling delivers great results  
  • Publishers, ranging from general interest magazines to city newspapers, to niche titles in any market. We know who the readers are, we know their interests, and we can find them for direct to publisher engagement  
  • Travel, Hospitality and Service Companies of all descriptions; hotel chains; resorts; safaris and expeditions; airlines; lawn care services; telecommunications providers – we identify your market and connect your brand to customers and prospects  
  • Vehicle Manufacturers; cars, trucks, tractors, anything that goes – we can target the right audience.  
  • Packaged Goods Companies, from corn chips to toothpaste; food; toiletries; cosmetics; it doesn't matter. We cover your market.  
  • Anything! Whatever consumers buy – or use – or read – or believe in, we can find the right market and deliver it in the direct mail channel, and other channels.

Viewing consumers through the methodologies depicted in the Wiland Database chart, above, allows us to provide our clients with insights and intelligence that simply aren't available from other sources – and to create responsive audiences and optimized client communication with those audiences. The junction of our data and analytics is powerful – and it improves our client's business on the top line and the bottom line.  

Advantage 3: Focus on Quality

There are over 240,000,000 adults in America, and every one of them is a consumer. But they don't all consume at the same rate. We focus on the "right" universe for each client, so that our clients reach the consumers most likely to be good long-term customers – the ones that produce good long-term value for our clients.

For an acquisition audience such as a direct mail list, we first trim our "everyone in the country" database down by excluding very infrequent direct response transactors. They are likely great people, but they are not worth the marketing budget to contact them. They just don't spend enough, read enough, give enough, or travel enough to be worth the marketing investment. Then, from the multiple transactors, we create unique, ranked universes for each client. The most frequent, most interested consumers rise to the top of the ranking. The least frequent, least interested consumers fall to the bottom. Our clients market top down. Thus, we not only reach the client's market, we reach the best part of it first, and can focus marketing budget on reaching the quality customers and prospects – the ones that will spend the most over time.

We want to understand and work with our clients regarding the goals needed for a healthy brand. In direct mail acquisition campaigns that is likely a measure of the amount of acceptable initial loss to acquire a new customer, donor, subscriber, etc. Our desire is for collaboration, rather than just "fulfilling to an order quantity." We want to learn the campaign goals of the client and always welcome a review of key metrics prior to, and after the campaign, in order to qualitatively measure our service level.

The Wiland 1, 2, 3 Punch

That's our 1, 2, 3 advantage: the best data; the best analytics; focus on quality, so client marketing dollars go further and produce more. In short, we deliver a better future for our clients – a future of better results for their marketing dollar.  

Specific Services

The specific services that we provide are detailed by market in the Who We Serve section, which you can reach in the site header. In the direct mail channel, three services that are of particular interest are:  

Finding a Large Volume of New Customers, Donors, or Subscribers That Produce Good Long-Term Value (LTV): We don't just produce prospect lists that respond at an acceptable rate. Behind the scenes we focus on LTV. We help our clients more than they even realize, because we do our best to screen out prospects that are in low- performance segments. Far too many direct mailers lose a lot of money marketing to weak prospects, and then lose more money marketing to them again and again as single transactors. Prospect audiences, even two audiences that produce similar initial response, can be very different qualitatively. We help our clients achieve good LTV. A good way to thoroughly understand our approach to acquiring new customers is to read New Customer Acquisition for Multichannel Retailers.The same techniques described in this whitepaper are applied to acquisition campaigns for charities, publishers, travel and hospitality firms, and others.

Increasing Client Profit Produced by Marketing to Current Customers, Donors or Subscribers: Sadly, many customers buy once and never buy again – or buy once and then buy so seldom or at such low dollar volume that our client can never recover marketing cost. Every client ranks their "house file" in some way prior to a direct mail campaign, and "draws the line" between those who will receive an upcoming direct mail offer and those that will not. We help optimize the ranking. We push more who will buy again toward the top of the ranking and more who will not buy again toward the bottom. Then, we help with drawing the line in the right place. Most clients are performing this process fairly well today. We move it from fairly well to very well – and that puts more money on our client's bottom line. One place to learn more about this is Donor Cultivation and Housefile Modeling for Nonprofits, or similar articles in the other markets we serve.

Tuning Direct Mail Marketing Budgets: Every piece of direct mail costs a lot of money. Thousands or millions of pieces add up to huge amounts. No one will ever be able to know absolutely in advance which people will buy, give, travel, or subscribe – but clients that are willing to implement it can benefit greatly from our breakthrough services aimed at tuning direct mail marketing budgets. There are a lot of people who resist budget tuning, and it is easy to understand why. They equate "tuning the budget" to lower volume and less revenue. What printer would want to print fewer copies? What agency would want to arrange smaller mailings? What list broker would want to arrange fewer rentals and exchanges? How is it possible that spending less on a campaign will result in growth? So, there is a tendency for many to react to "tuning direct mail marketing budgets" incorrectly. Less revenue and volume is not the goal. The goal is to stop waste – get rid of non-productive mail that loses the client a lot of money – and then spend that money wisely, in ways that make money for our client. We favor doing smart things with the savings – like putting it into more productive direct mail, or shifting it to another channel, or letting it fall to the client's bottom line. Or, more likely, a wise client will put the savings to work via some combination of these possible uses.

Many are shocked by the forward thinking capabilities that Wiland offers relative to tuning direct mail marketing budgets. Clients that are willing to study the subject deeply, discuss it thoroughly with us, involve their agency and/or broker, and then test carefully may be amazed by the impact after full implementation. It can literally put full margin points on the bottom line and increase revenue simultaneously. But it takes thought, and understanding. Read Marketing Budget Optimization™ for Multichannel Retailers. Then read the Multichannel Retail Marketing Budget Optimization Case Study.

A Perspective on Forward Thinking: There was a time when many marketers argued that mailing duplicate pieces of direct mail (same piece sent to the same person at the same time) was really a good thing. "After all", they contended, "there is no way to be sure which version is correct if the name is spelled differently, or if there is a variation in the address. Only by mailing both can a marketer be sure their offer is delivered to the right person." Similarly, there was a time when many lettershops and service bureaus (none of whom could perform presort at the time) were adamant that presort was a bad thing. "The postal system will lose those presorted bags because they aren't full" was an argument many used. A Wiland company showed foresight and conviction in doing it the right way, with sophisticated merge/purge software – and the first to obtain postage discounts for clients via presort. Now is the time for Wiland to lead in the tuning of direct mail marketing budgets and put money on the client's bottom line by cutting the waste out of net files. Today agencies, brokers, and printers may resist because they fear lower volume will hurt business. Tomorrow, tuning of direct mail marketing budgets will be the norm – simply because there is so much waste in net files today that clients will have to find it and eliminate it. It makes no sense for our clients to unnecessarily waste so much money marketing to poor quality opportunities. They will learn the effectiveness of Marketing Budget Optimization, as well as their vendors and partners, and it will become the new norm. And everyone will be better off for doing so because it is good for our clients and the health of their brands.  

Put Wiland Direct Mail Solutions to Work Today

We are ready to serve. To learn more about how Wiland can help, please visit our market pages, view the pages for your industry, and contact us – we want to help you achieve your goals.

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