The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

21. Turning Customers' Online Actions into Offline Experiences w/ Michael McCarthy


Direct mail used to be a highly “spray-and-pray” activity. On top of that, printers might take weeks or months to send offline collateral.

But with the oversaturation of digital touchpoints today, direct mail has come back with a vengeance—which is why Michael McCarthy founded Inkit. Inkit has upgraded the direct mail game, allowing you to integrate your CRM with direct mail and automate offline artifacts in real time.

In this episode, Michael shares some of the best use cases he’s seen in direct mail campaigns today.

When that brand has, in some regardsbreached the trust of that end, consumer Woutd, they no longer want toreceive communication from them. dract mail is a great way to heal thatprocess and also reestablished trust with the end consumer, while still alsomaking sure that they're aware of your brand and keeping your brand top ofmind. You're listening to the customerexperience podcast a podcast dedicated to helping today's growing businessesrestore a personal human touch throughout the customer line cycle, getready to Hearhou sales, marketing and customer success, experts, surprise anddelight, and never loose sign of their customers. Humanity here is your host.EFEN BEAUTE, Hey! Welcome back to the customerexperience podcast! If you are looking for ways to connect with onlinecustomers in the offline world, you are in the right place. Today's guest has abackground in finance and private equity and e's the founder and CEO ofinket. It's a sast solution that bridges, the digital and analog worldsfor better customer relationships and better customer experiences. MichaelMcCarthy, welcome to the customer experience podcast thanks for havingmeat and really appreciate it glad to be on yeah. I think what you all aredoing is really really interesting, I'm looking forward to having aconversation around it, but I'm going to start where we always start on thisshow with the definition of customer experience. When I say customerexperience what comes to mind for you, what are some of its characteristics?How do you think about it? Yes, so in in commerce or in day today, businesscustomer experience is really the product of an interaction between anOrganizat tion or a business and their customer over that duration of therelationship. So when we think of a good customer experience, what thatmeans, that's the individual or the end users experience during all phases ofthat buyer's journey and making sure that that individuals expectations arematched by that brand awesome. You hit a couple key ideas there. One is thatit involves every touchpoint andto that customers expectations have asignificant relationship with what their experience is in general. I sayyou know if you lower your expectations, you're bound to be disappointed lessoften, but today's customers are obviously as demanding as ever. Youfound it ink it a couple of years ago, and so I'm going to give you theopportunity just kind of tee that up a little bit, but specifically try to getinto what you're doing to close a gap in the customer experience specificallyaround using direct mail. What problem were you trying to solve there yeah sofor Oraly, high level inkit enables marketers to connect offline, Akadirect mail with their crm, bringing that into the online an the world. Soreally all we're doing is we're...

...providing, and this is actually reallyexciting for providing another channel that can be integrated into your crm sothat, based on a digital action or a digital event, you can go offline on aOnedo one level. One of the big reasons that we built this business was: wewanted to humanize the ability for marketers to also reach their customersand create this experience offline. That was super engaged so prior to inkit. The way that direct mail was being done was. It was very much a Bashanglast or a Spran pray approach. Where you know, marketers would have toliterally call printers, and it would take them weeks, sometimes months toactually send out a ou know piece of offline collateral, and that collateralwas very you know, spanmy, it wasn't personalized, and so we really up thegame eten. Where now you can actually take your help spot account your brazes,your iterable, your favorite crm, and you can integrate this directly into itso that, based on an action say, customer Thurns or say a customer hadis signs up as part of the welcomesequence. You can start to actually automate these offline artiacts in realtime, which is super super cool. It is super cool. It reminds me a lot of evenin our preconversation as reminded a lot of the relationship or thesimilarities, I guess between direct mail and email and so just to translatefor folks that maybe didn't follow. That perfectly. Do I understand thiscorrectly, Michael? I can just as easily as I can set up a trigger likewhen this this- and this are true- and this is false- send this direct malepece the same way, I'm triggering emails and email campaigns. I cantridder direct mail s and the same way that you can trigger an email. You canalso send a fully one to one piece of mail. Just like you can create acustomized, dynamic, email, tem per sequence, really really interesting. Itreminds me of you know, I think, a lot of folks that might be listening tothis point might be you know, direct male is dead. Email is dead right.These things we you see, and here all the time, and yet they remain ryleaders in terms of marketing channels and Handley who's. A big email, writerand excellent writer on this podcast said that emails disrespected becausewe made it that way. What was that state of affairs around direct mailthat maybe had it disrespected, and how is this opportunity kind of open backup again such that you decided to build a company around it yeah. So it s thereally direct mail hit, you know was more or less somewhat disrespected backin the early twosands right when the beginning of the docom boom washappening. So when I think back to my childhood days, AOL was one of the largest Internet providersat that time and ran what is arguably... of the most successful custoracquisition campaigns of all time, using their CD disk that they mailedout in the mail and so back in the rearly twothousand Tats, when peoplewere receiving many times tends to to hundreds of items in their mailbox on aday today basis, and what we found was that you know, as the Internet started,to come online, that people began to shift away from male for cheaperalternatives and when I say cheaper than it doesn't necessarily mean thebest customer experience or you know, CX outcomes, and now everything isfalling back in line where there's been this oversaturation of digital that'soccurred, the last ten to fifteen years and direct mail is getting hot and it'sgetting hotter than ever again. So you see a lot of things kind of come aroundan in circles: Thatwy alredy totally. I think the youknow is you're talking about getting dozens or even hundreds of pieces ofphysical male. I think it's easier than ever or in my lifetime, probably atleast to get attention in the physical mailbox sor. This is really interesting.Let's go a little bit deeper into the you know. I understand what you andInkit have done for your customers in terms of the experience of producingand distributing and triggering direct male pieces, but talk a little bitabout the role of direct mal in the experience of your customers, customers yeah. So so, ultimately, what goodmarketers are trying to optimize for is for this idea of experience that wetouched on and every individual. So every one of our customers, customersthat very end consumer each one of those end. Consumers reacts differentlyto different channels, so you know say you, ethen Ethan may refer SMS and heonly wants his SMS at seven am in the morning when he wakes up, whereasMichael may only prefer direct mail. What we're finding is that eachindividual consumer, not every single person, is alike and the way that youstart to optimize for your guest. Is you start to optimize for the guests inthe way that they want to perceive your brand and so being able to layer inanother channel? Is Super Super Successful from the standpoint ofyou're able to now start to optimize, based on what individual preferencesmay or may not be du? You see people explicitly askingthis like some of your customers, like I love what you're saying it's anothertouchpoint, it's another channel. Let's meet people where they prefer to be met,let's communicate with people where and how they prefer to communicate. Do yousee people asking explicitly what they prefer like people apting into you know,people opten and out of different types of emails, opt in and out of differenttypes of text messages. Do you see...

...people explicitly asking to act in orout of particular types of direct mail as well? We don't necessarily seepeople ell, okay. First, off direct mail is a channel where, from allintensive purposes, there isn't much of an oftout or formal octof proces orthere's. Not? U Now the same m laws that apply to email. However, what wedo see is we see a lot of the people who use ink. It are using it in a waywhere they have customers who are explicitly telling them hey. I don'twant to receive any more of these emails, any more of Bursametphisis, andso really these brands are struggling because their end, consumers aretelling them that they don't want to receive any communication from themwhatsoever, no, no more Essebas, no more email and so weure direct mailcanplay. This pivital role is when those guests feel really when thatbrand has in some regards breached the trust ofthat end consumer. Would they no longer want to receive communication from them?Drect mail is a great way to heal that process and also reestablishd trustwith the end consumer, while still also making sure that they're aware of yourbrand and keeping your brand top of mind. So that's where we see a lot of alot of impact nice. I like those ideas- and I like that language- a lot let's,let's flip it back a little bit to ink it as opposed to the customers,experience your customers, customers as founder in CEO. You obviously haveperview over the entire operation, as you described. Customer experienceinvolves multiple touchpoints throughout the entire life cycle of thecustomer, even precustomer. So how do you inside your own organization? Whatare you doing to align people and teams around a consistent and thoughtfulcustomer experience or brand experience like? How do you think about that? Howdo you manage that like? What does that look like inside your organizationtoday? Yes, so from an organization side, inkit is grounded on the ideathat we are always going to put our customers first and we optimize thenumber one, and you know by far in away the number one most important thing ismeaking sure that our guest or our customer needs or being heard andresponded to so from an organization side. We track customer success, as youknow, our largest metric, and that means that we are going to delay many times even, for instance, we hadan example just this past evening, where we delayed building a new featurein order to help a customer resolve a problem. So there are a lot of thingsthat we do from an orgiization side that optimize for this idea of customersuccess, first and foremost over everything else. It's good with it's been a it's been atheme in some of my other conversations here on this show doing right by thecustomer can often look like the more difficult and expensive road, but inthe end it's always the right thing.

I've heard that from at least threepeople- and I feel like that's what I'm hearing for you- is that how you alllook at it yeah or our easiest opportunity for perpenially optimizing for fuaturesuccess is: is our existing customers purchasing more from us? More often, sowe know that by Reta butwe're optimizing for attention more so than we're trying to justoptimize. You know purely for growth. Growth is obviously very important, butmany times companies leave leave a lot of the table by not optimizing fortheir existing existing guests. Absolutely they do for folks that arelike so okay. So this is interesting. I like this idea of another channel oranother touchpoint, I'm actively thinking about it. You have some highlevel tips on direct mail. You know you offered a couple. I mean inparticularly truly customized one to one direct male pieces, a honestly.It's a new idea to me. What are a few tips? You know someone starts to walkdown this road mentally. What are some ideas that you can give them to makesure that if they do start exploring this opportunity t they do well withthe channel in the medium like what are some of the the best practices in twothousand and nineteen for direct mail yeah. So the three key use cases that WBE the biggest tips and tricks in ourtolket ar number one layering in direct males part of the welcome sequence. Sowe are in the process of rolling out a case study with a very, very well known,btob brand and they are adding a postcard touchpointas part of their free thirty day trial. So imagine if you went to a site suchas bombomb and signed up for a fhree three day trial, they are automatically sending you a postcardand what they're finding is that they're, seeing anywhere from liketwenty five to a thirty percent, lift in people who are converting from freeto paid just by receiving that hostcard versus a holdout group, so that is very,very significant from a revenue side, unbelievable usecase and that's one ofour, you know biggest successes we've seen in a while, at least from the fromthe bt side. We also have a awesome, awesome use case n. We start thinkingabout retension and reengagement, so many times, brands, whether it's in thefood space or the ECOM space or even in a healthcare eain financial space,their customers may use their services and they may not come back and they'vealready sent them through an email sequence and SMS sequence. And when daythirty. Today forty five rules around and you still have not been able to getthat customer to take action. Then... mail is a great touchpoint tolayer in to get that customer to come back for the second time to replace anorder. So we see a ton of success when we start thinking about reengagementand then the third use case. That's also very very important is churnprevention, so we work with numerous y commerce companies who have builtproprietary algorithms that score the chances of a customer. Turning and whenthat churn level hits a certain threshold. Trek mail is a great wayagain to build the trust and build the loyalty and just provide that reallyreally warm touchpoint where it to the end consumer. It makes it feelsif that brand really cares about them, and so it's a great mechanism as athird point for this turn prevention and getting these customers back torepurchase and reby from the brand tank just three of the good eusecasesthat we've seen so you're, obviously personalizing those by by name andobviously address because it needs to get to them. What other elements arepeople throwing in theyre like kind of welcome? Is it just a thank you in awelcome in a warm and fuzzy ore on a churn prevention. Is that you know? Areyou reminding people of their activity levels like what are what are somepeople doing with some of the messaging yeah? It's for the for the welcomesequence. It's a warm and fuzzy, there's actually no promo code and it'sreally easy to still track with without a promotecode you can still track afterEucian. All this brand is doing is they're sending this worman fuzzy,welcome, postcard and they're. Just looking at a holdout group just seeokay, if we sent this many postcards to Group A and we held out Grupe, what isthe total? You know lift ING Group A versus group be, and they don't. Youdon't need a promo code to measure that a Promo Code is just a just an offer soyo you definitely don't need one. In order to provide the attribution forthe curn prevention and reengagement sequences on those touse cases, wetypically do see a Promo Code. But again the correct way to actuallymeasure attribution and dregged mail is not by measuring the promocode. In fact,if you measure the Promo Code, you're actually going to have anunderreporting, because what we found is, there are many times just as manypeople who receive the post card that end up or the or the mailer that end upbuying, but do not use the Promo code, meaning it's still a lift and in factit's actually better for the brands because they're not having to couponthose users. So we recommend, when you start to think about attribution,recorting, actually measuring total lift and we would say it's incorrect toor nonactorate actually just measure by by a Promo Code, perse sure that makessense to me. I mean you know that any touch, whether it be a direct malepiece or something else, can have an effect on thoughts and behaviors. So Imay actually do the recommended...

...activity or behavior, but just not usethe Promo Code in the process. Yeah! That's really interesting. It's a goodrecommendation before we close with two of my favorite questions. I want tohave you talk a little bit about it's really interesting, Youave, abackground in finance and investment in private equity. How is that served youin the team? Well in terms of the role ind, the functions you find yourself intoday, so my my undergraduate degree was in computer science and Economicsand that core foundation has you know,number one as as an individual who is technical and is able to code. Thatreally helps me go from having a business conversation to immediatelybeing able to think about how to engineer a solution. That's that'sreally important to be dynamic and able to talk with an end user and alsotranslate that into e an enengineering mindsset in a pro cinset. Whyd also saythat you know thinking about how we'e run our business from more of aneconomic site is: We've run our business very much like a bombomb wherewe've created super super lean, but very, very fast, agile teams, where ourbusiness is abled to quickly itter it and when we find an opportunity or anew area or product feature that we believe is going to be the next bigthing, we're able to quickly move on it and inter ate and make you know,trendous pers, very, very quickly, because we have really built this teamfirst adgile model into our intoour business from the ground out. So thisis some of the ways ha that's been super helpful. That's great! I reallylike what you're doing like the spirit that you're doing it in, and I reallylike the customer first mentality, as you may know, because we've spoken withyou several times before relationships is our number one core value here atBombam and on the customer experience podcast Itso always like to get in. Ialways get interesting stories out of it too, which I enjoy. I like to giveyou the opportunity to think or mention a person who's had a positive impact onyour life or your career and a company that you feel is doing customerexperience really. Well, yes, so one of the one of the people that reallystands out to mind is a advisor of ours by the name of Mitch.COOPET MIX CRUPID has successfully founded a business called H Code, fortytwo and code. Forty two is now on track to eclipse two hundred million a year, anannual recurring revenue they're one of the largest backup businesses and theadvice that Mitch, as always given us that we've really taken to heart, iswhen they were building hode forty two and they boot strapp this business fromzero to twenty million before taking a fifty million dollar seed round fromExcel. is they constantly obsessed about the idea of customer experienceand customer satisfaction, meaning that...

...when a customer called in and somethingwasn't working, everything stopped and all the attention went to that custurtond? Make sure that we were that they were optimizing for that customersuccess and at the end of the day, that type of thinking and that type ofmindset is so important when you start to think about growing your businessand also expanding and making sure that that culture is Ingraine from the fromthe top down and also the bottom up. And what's really great about that mindsetis, at the end of the day, the only person who can fire. You is your endcustomer and so making sure that you're optimizing for their happiness andtheir success along all stages from you know, the second that they purchase allthe way to you know on the on the back end right when they continue using yourtour of the long run, making sure that you're constantly putting their needs.First is super super important and that's been just really great coachingthat that we've had as a whole, it's clear just in our in ourconversation today that you've really taken it to heartand, built that intothe culture that you've got. Were you blending mich and code forty to thereor is there another company? You would shout out in terms of someone that's doing customerexperience. Well, cod is one of the best in the world when it comes tocustomer experience, especially when you think about. If you have an issue,you can get a human on the phone within seconds to start working through anissue with you as well. There there's a few Ou there's. You know obviouslyother inkic customers of ours who do a tremendous fabulous job when it comesto these welcome sequences and onboardingprocesses, as well as turn prevention as well, but code is definitely one ofthe ones from a Sasside or from a B to be angle. That really comes to mindthat that we're hoping to emulate, at least here at ink it ossome you'refollowing you're, following good direction, you're following goodexamples, Michael This has been a pleasure for me. I hope our listenersenjoy it to how can someone if they want to follow up with you or with init? What are some ways that folks can connect with you sure? Well, we you know, obviously, arevery big on this idea of humanization and how to humanize the customerexperience, so the best way would be to either find me UN linked in or drop asa message on. INCOTCOM can visit our website and submit a quick questionthere and myself or one of our team members willget back to you very shortly awesome. I love when the founder and CEO offers tofollow up with folks that visit the website and fill out a contact form youguys are doing some really interesting stuff you're doing it the right way,I'm rooting for you and hope folks enjoyed the conversation. If you wantto hear more like this, you can subscribe to the customer experiencepodcast in Itunes or apple podcast. It's also available on spotify and atBombomcom podcast, Michael, thank you so much and thanks to everyone, who's.Listening thanks, O anething appreciate... having me, you are listening to the customerexperience podcast, no matter your role in delivering value and servingcustomers. Youre intrusting, some of your most important and valuablemessages to faceless digital communication. You can do betterrehumonize. The experience by getting face to face through simple personalvideos, learn more and get started. Free at Bom Bomcom you've beenlistening to the customer experience podcast to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visitbombomcom. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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