Jim Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO of Taradel, talks about trends for this year, opportunities for posts and his company’s role in the future of direct mail marketing.
- Please describe Taradel briefly.
Our company started in the printing industry and was initially involved in processing print orders from newspapers for physical advertising. Over time, our company’s most important assets were developed: web-to-print engines and good price points. We then decided to upgrade our website and become an internet print advertising centre, accessible to anyone and offering more products, such as direct mail. In 2011, when the US Postal Service introduced their simplified advertising mail solution under the name Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), Taradel built a turnkey online solution that enabled us to manage the entire process and worked with the USPS to simplify our mail products further. Since then, we have provided direct mail marketing services to over 10,000 SMEs across the US and Canada. On average, we manage campaigns between 5,000 and 10,000 mailpieces, however we also manage larger campaigns such as 250,000 mailpieces.
- How have Taradel’s partnerships with the Canada Post and the US Postal Service developed?
Canada Post wanted to make it easier for businesses to use its unaddressed mail product. They were aware of the existing partnerships that Taradel had for unaddressed mail products in the US, however, they were interested in a slightly different approach. They were looking for an exclusive turnkey solution that they could brand and offer directly from their website. Taradel built this solution and in late 2014 it launched as part of Canada Post’s marketing solutions for small businesses, under the name of Snap Admail.
The USPS introduced a simplified unaddressed mail product under the name “Every Door Direct Mail” (EDDM). After a while, they noticed that Taradel had developed a solution that was able to manage the whole print and delivery process all the way down to the destination post office; they invited us to work on improving the product even further. Thanks to the cooperation of the USPS, we were able to further improve the product and included a feature that allowed every printer the ability to become an EDDM solutions provider. By implementing this change, we were able to reduce the printers’ waste by around 40%. This cemented our relationship and Taradel is now one of the EDDM affiliates, which USPS’ sales team recommend when approached with a mail advertising request.
- As well as national postal operators, you also have partnerships with international Fortune 500 companies. How do these partnerships work and are there other partnerships planned in the future?
We have over 30 active marketing e-Commerce portals that we built and now manage for channel partners, franchisors and marketing agencies. Two of our retail partners with a significant number of brick and mortar stores were looking to leverage their existing copy and print customers. We had an out of the box solution that allowed them to offer direct mail services to their retail and e-Commerce buyers.
A number of franchises were looking for a complete solution for local targeted mail advertising. Partnering with Taradel provided them with a fully branded solution built around targeting technology designed to deliver to the mailing routes with the highest percentage of potential buyers.
Currently, we are working with other brick and mortar print providers to support them with our EDDM solution.
- What have been some recent developments in your business?
One of the fastest growing segments of our business is working with different franchises and examining their transaction customer history files. We are supported by a big-data partner, and are currently able to provide geographic data that shows postal routes that have the highest concentration of people who closely mimic their existing customer base, highlighting the potential growth areas.
Another solution Taradel is working on is a “blended mail” approach to mail advertising where both addressed and unaddressed products can be combined for the best return on marketing investment based on the data available. Expected to go live in Q1 of 2016, this solution will allow advertisers to send unaddressed mail to postal routes of high saturation. We will also be able to send targeted addressed mail to select addresses in postal routes of low saturation to attract potential customers.
- How does Taradel support the integration of offline and online media in direct marketing campaigns?
At Taradel, we believe that stronger integration is key in order stay competitive in the challenging market. Thanks to our partnerships, we currently offer direct mail in conjunction with email, and plan to extend this to other channels, such as display advertising. We believe that within the SME business sector, there are many companies that are intimidated by digital advertising. Almost every SME whom I talk to, say they completely understand how direct mail works. When we talk about online display or retargeting, however, the business owners are often challenged to truly understand the opportunity and the process of digital advertising. If we establish a relationship with a business on the direct mail side, we’re in a better position to introduce them to digital marketing. While a lot of competitors turned away from direct mail marketing, we believe that it forms a tremendous opportunity to build a bridge between physical and digital channels.
- How are the recent developments in advertising channels being perceived in North America?
Currently, digital channels tend to be more popular than physical ones such as mail. This does not mean, however, that mail will lose its relevancy. On the contrary, I think that the general advertising methodology has not changed much in the last 100 years and will not change soon. Delivering messages to the right people at the right time through various relevant channels will continue to be one of the principles of effective advertising. Direct mail’s tangibility and interactivity cannot be replaced by any digital medium.
- Some sectors are leaning more towards physical advertising than others. Which sectors do you see as heavy users of mail advertising?
The heaviest users of mail advertising are medical practitioners (dentists, chiropractors, etc.), fast-food restaurant chains, real estate and home improvement.
- What are the three biggest trends in direct marketing for 2016?
First of all, 2016 will be about focusing on e-Commerce businesses – including digital products and services where direct mail can increase the ROI by providing the physical element as they tend to be advertised primarily by digital channels. Secondly, the successful integration of mobile and physical mail will be one of the key growth opportunities. The third trend that we see is improving the channel attribution data for campaigns. Embracing cross-channel media will be essential for successful media planning and ROI projections.
- What opportunities do you see for postal companies to align their advertising offering better with the changing media landscape?
I believe postal operators need to focus more on other media channels, especially those that work with direct mail, and expand their expertise or create partnerships in those areas. An example would be a postal operator partnering with a landing page solution provider to offer direct mail in conjunction with personalised landing page to SMEs who otherwise would not be able to create one because of lack of resources. This, and similar partnerships would enable posts to strengthen their relationship with clients and communicate that they recognise that their needs are changing.
Another opportunity lies within further educating the industry. Posts need to start or continue explaining to their audiences how using a variety of mediums to advertise is much more effective than using a lone method. Each postal company should strive to be a national authority and should be able to reiterate the importance of data-driven cross-channel approach in advertising and provide reliable research to support it.
Learn more about Taradel at taradel.com