The Rise of Guerilla Mail, Again

Value gets a reality check in a tough economic climate

You don’t have to be Nike, Apple, or Coca-Cola to tell an amazing brand story. B2B should embrace the role they play in people’s lives. B2B marketers talk about product features, profits, or strategic alignment. We can do better. We specialize in the tech sector. B2B is about spending more time with your family. It leads to healthier lifestyles. We create a safer world, but rarely use creative marketing to tell our story in a meaningful way.

Guerilla mail is a powerful ally in B2B storytelling that sets up the story, not your product. People don't care about your product. They want to know how your story fits into their story.

Mail should be an invitation to a web experience. It should give you the ability to run retargeting campaigns by driving online engagement. We call this mail-to-message, and any B2B professional in the world would like a 5x lift in engagement any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It offers an unexpected way to tell the world why you are different by being different.

Here's another reason this approach is in revival—for all the left-brain readers. Unique Mail is making a strong comeback due to its lower price point and B2Bs' desire to behave a bit more like consumer brands. Our clients have amazing products to sell and great stories to tell. Why would you solely use email to schedule meetings?

Here’s another way to look at it.

Demand-gen marketers today will spend $40, $60, or even $100+ on a gift to targets at ABM accounts. Sometimes this spend is on the front end, but usually it's after some level of sales or marketing engagement. Some turn to e-gifts that offer cheaper alternatives—$20 per target. Those price breaks allow you to send swag, drinks, food, Yetis, and more. Gifting has become so ubiquitous in B2B that we’ve created a problem for ourselves. 

"If everyone is special, then no one is special." We all need to jump out of the ABM echo chamber for a second when it comes to direct mail with boxes, sends, and gifting. Consider stretching your touch points and your budget farther. Consider guerilla mail as a means to get past the inbox earlier in the buyer’s journey.

Would you rather spend $400 to engage 10 people at your key account, or hit that same buyer group of prospects five times for the same price? Persistence and consistency are almost as important as the message today. 

It doesn’t take a degree in engineering to figure out that you’ll get a better return on your spend if you can take a user through a multi-touch email and mail cadence that generates high brand recall and conversion. This approach gives you the ability to better leverage first-party cookies and retargeting. More mail means more opportunities. More mail equals more engagement. 

I’m not talking about postcards or automated form letters. It has to be something unique and unexpected. Maybe it's a handwritten note on a coffee sleeve or paperboard coaster. Maybe it’s a single, branded golf tee. Maybe it’s a bubble envelope with a skeleton key inside. The goal is mail-to-message. Mail-to-web is a powerful tool with outstanding brand recall. 

Enterprise sales cycles are ridiculously long. How will sales be remembered in 3, 6, or 9 months. I guarantee the prospect will remember you if they received a handwritten coffee sleeve, a hotel keycard, or a pair of red decoder glasses.

How do we know? In 2008-09, when the economy tanked, it was high-volume, guerilla mail that worked for VLG customers like Dell, Microsoft, and Eloqua. We've sent all of the above-mentioned bizarre items, along with links to landing pages for online conversion.

We practically invented ABM direct mail in 2005—humble brag—so we understand the value of predetermined, targeted accounts. That said, after five years of solid growth, gifting and sending have become the norm. The norm is boring. Boring doesn’t get meetings. Boring doesn’t fill pipelines. 

Our tagline has always been, "We fight boredom." Boring is back, and we want to vanquish it again.

Now the swag has been sent and those Starbucks gift cards have been redeemed. Anything you send must be extremely creative. We promise to surprise and delight. VLG never stops sending high-volume, creative mailers. Your sales team needs this sort of engagement to do their jobs.

Today, technology trumps strategy. Investments in software demand that marketers drive sending from a catalog that hinges on key decision maker selection—human or machine scoring. 

Sendoso, Alyce, and Reachdesk drive strategy when it comes to sending. It’s not the other way around. They are sales tools, not marketing tools. You and your brand have a bigger story to tell! Don’t let the platforms dictate your message or strategy.

VLG Marketing started doing mail-to-message campaigns that drove users from guerilla direct mail to 1:1 landing pages in 2005. That’s a lot of time in the saddle. We know the lower price point and higher conversion rates allow B2B to extend ABM to a larger addressable market.

VLG has been fantastic to work with. They never fail at thinking things through and pushing creative boundaries.
— Gretchen Weaver, Avere Systems
VLG is very creative, proactive, accommodating and responsive.
Would highly recommend them.
— Elias Abdo, ABBYY
VLG has a grasp on who our target market is and understand our goals.
— DeLaine Nick, ICE Mortgage Technology, Inc.
The pieces VLG designed have been so successful that prospects are actually calling us directly as a result!
— Courtney Pierce, Rapid7