Technology in Direct Mail: IMb Tracking

By: Andrew Glover
September 7, 2018
IMB Tracking

There are lots of options when it comes to advertising and marketing channels. Direct Mail, unfortunately, is being replaced more-and-more with blast emails, despite numerous reports that direct mail has a higher response rate and better ROI. One of the main reasons for this is that marketers can track every element of an email blast from total emails delivered, to open rates, to click rates. What many may not realize is that Direct Mail offers the same visibility as email marketing when using IMb tracking in combination with pURL response tracking. We talked about pURL’s earlier this week (click the referenced link for that article) today we’d like to discuss IMB tracking.

What is IMb Tracking?

IMb Tracking stands for “Intelligent Mail” barcode tracking. IMb tracking allows senders to track each piece of mail being sent out both on a regional level (i.e. by state or zip-code), as well as on an individual record level (i.e identifying where any given mail piece is in the mail stream). Direct mail campaigns can be more transparent by utilizing IMb tracking because it allows the sender to see where their mail is being delivered at any given time, as well as a way to ensure that it was actually delivered. Using this information marketers can adapt their campaign schedules to the delivery point to make a better marketing appeal.

How Does IMb Tracking Work?

In IMB barcode is a 1D barcode that embeds information about the mail piece in it. This includes the mail owner, the mail sender, the delivery point, carrier route, service type, and individual record identifier. The barcodes are used while the piece is being sorted and prepared for delivery by the postal carrier. Once in the mail stream the US postal system periodicity scans these IMB tracking codes to identify the piece and alert the monitors to its current status – such as when it has reached a sorting facility, delivered to carrier delivery point, when it is out for delivery, and when the piece has actually been delivered to the mailbox.  This information can either be displayed on a single geographic dashboard or table report, showing delivery status for each region. Or the individual IMB codes marked as delivered can be used in marketing automation campaigns to trigger other automated touch points to that contact.

How Does IMb Tracking Help Direct Mail Campaigns?

IMb tracking provides helpful information on each piece of mail, including the date, time, and location of the piece. The sender will receive data on their outgoing mail and receive details on incoming replies which encourage campaign success. The data gathered can also help the campaigner make future improvements to their marketing plan.

Organizations can benefit from using IMb tracking in a few ways. One way is by knowing when your message will reach the customer. IMb tracing takes the guessing out of mail delivery. Organizations will have a definite idea of when their content will be delivered to the receiver which helps eliminate the guesswork involved in previous mail campaigns.

Another benefit an organization would experience with IMb tracing is having the ability to predict and anticipate responses from members. Intelligent Mail is valuable at gaining insights from what your members do after they find the mail in their mailboxes. When incorporated into a marketing automation campaign the IMB tracking details can trigger coordinated touch points such as an email 24 hours after delivery, text message alerting the contact to an important mail envelope, social media post, phone call, or other marketing initiative. 

An organization will have the capability of seeing who is and who isn’t responding to messages. Then they can geographically chart the response rates for future use. For a later campaign, an organization would have a better idea of where to send their materials to receive higher response rates. Organizations could also decide to form a different marketing strategy to captivate the members who didn’t respond during the previous round of direct mail.

Organizations will be empowered with information like how many campaign pieces made it to members mailboxes, when the mail was delivered, and which members responded at a specific time and location. Organizations can then determine if the materials were compelling enough for customers to act on the information provided.

Rich Data Helps Gauge Return on Investment

The rich response data helps organizations tailor their message to specific regions and demographics. It’s challenging to accomplish pinpointed goals without IMb tracing. Whether you want to send a message to your existing, loyal members, or branch out to potential new members, IMb tracing helps collect the data to make it useful for pinpointed marketing in the future.

Extracting meaningful reports was time-consuming before IMb tracing. Current direct mail tools are making it much easier to review the success of a marketing campaign. Organizations can quickly calculate how long it takes for someone to utilize an offer after receiving the mail piece. IMb tracing has changed the process of calculating data, and now it’s much easier and simpler for anyone to complete successfully.

Verify Mail has been Sent on Time

The sender has a lot more power with IMb tracing. They can make sure their mail is delivered on time. Organizations may trust their mail with a vendor, but it’s possible a vendor states the mail was sent when it wasn’t sent. IMb tracing allows the mailer to know for a fact if the mail was sent on time or not.

Valtim and IMb Tracking

Direct Mail no longer needs to feel like throwing a bunch of pebbles down a black hole. With IMb tracking you can trace every piece of mail from the time it leaves your mail shop to the time it’s placed into the mailbox. For even better use of IMb tracking, work with Valtim Marketing Solutions to incorporate IMb tracking into your multi-channel campaigns and trigger emails, landing pages, and digital ads based on the real mail delivery date.

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