Every month, Divido will hold a Q&A with an industry expert, from the latest innovative startup, a thriving retailer or a media giant. The topics will be varied and topical, drawing out their views on all the latest news and changes in the industry.

As the first of many Q&As to come, who better to kick it off with than a fellow, UK-based, high-growth tech company – Paperplanes – the programmatic direct mail company. We asked Dan Dunn, Founder and Managing Director, his opinions on what the modern customer really wants, where they are being lost in the journey to purchase, and how intelligent tech can effectively and measurably reverse this.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of Paperplanes?

The inspiration behind Paperplanes was the desire and need to able to do things a little bit differently, utilising traditional media which had previously been left behind, and combining this with digital technologies.

I felt there was a missing piece of the puzzle when marketers discussed omnichannel strategy. How can omnichannel not include offline marketing activities?

What do you think are the biggest mistakes that retailers are making in their understanding of the modern consumer?

That they prefer to be communicated to through digital channels. We are seeing a backlash of the ways in which social media is utilised to target customers.

Transparency and fraud issues in programmatic are rife, and yet we have a channel in direct mail that continues to decline in volume of marketing spend. This in turn will increase share of voice for any brand using the direct mail channel, and for the consumer, it’s the first time they’ll receive something relevant and personalised in the post.

It’s a win-win!

Where do you think retailers are facing the biggest drop-off in the customer journey? And can what they do to prevent this?

Abandoned baskets – £18bn is now lost in abandoned baskets each year (The Telegraph).

Being able to provide customers with the options they were looking at, along with trade up and trade across opportunities, on a format that will get noticed, is a great way to regain a lot of this custom.

£18bn is now lost in abandoned baskets each year (The Telegraph)

How important do you think it is to connect the customer’s offline and online journeys?

It’s fundamentally what we’re all about – we know how much extra value multichannel customers bring to brands, we know that multiple touch points stimulate incremental sales.

If you can plan marketing activities in a way where they are integrated across all channels, then it allows you to be even more effective and enables the customer to have a better experience all-round.

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced would be the pre-conceptions as to what programmatic re-targeting is and the fact that direct mail has typically been seen as a dying channel. The lack of brand awareness was of course another challenge to overcome, especially when you are inventing a totally new channel of comms – it can be hard to get others to understand the potential.

We have managed to overcome these challenges by identifying the early adapters, working with them to generate great results and getting the case studies out there to prove the power our offering has to a wider audience.

Do you think people underestimate the use of direct mail as a marketing/sales channel?

Absolutely. I don’t blame them, until now, direct mail has been hard to track in terms of performance, it’s been difficult to plug into an integrated digital strategy and it hasn’t offered the same level of flexibility that automated digital comms allow.

Hopefully Paperplanes’ capability can now begin to reveal just how physical tangible media can work for today’s marketers.

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