Direct mail is far from dead—at least, if you’re a telecom company that relies on people frequently moving to sign up for new services. As more groups like millennials in particular hop from apartment to apartment, direct mail could even be a growing investment for brands. But that doesn’t mean the branded mail that clutters mailboxes are as effective as they could be.
That’s why Frontier Communications—a telecommunications company servicing 29 states—is doubling down on data. For the past year, Frontier has integrated all of its data from voice calls and online searches into Invoca’s marketing cloud to better understand how its marketing (which leans heavily on direct mail) impacts how consumers sign up for its internet, TV and phone services.
Here’s how it works: Frontier analyzes thousands of attributes from search queries and voice calls, like a person’s location and what information they’re looking for, to gauge that person’s interest in converting and signing up for services that are then fed into Invoca’s platform. While Frontier does not record the contents of a phone call, it can detect the person’s location and the topic of the call. From there, the brand stitches together the stats with its direct mail campaigns to see which pieces of mail prompted a call or online search. That data can also be used to tweak how often the company sends mail, from once a month to twice a month.
“We’re able to see increases in traffic culling through the different cohorts and identifying which attributes were meaningful and the likelihood that someone would be responsive to a particular piece [of direct mail,]” explained Bryan Flores, assistant vp of media and analytics at Frontier Communications. “It’s a fairly complex matrix of attributes that [has helped us determine] over time who to offer mail to and what specifically to market to them.”
Frontier maps out its customers into seven persona types based on the more granular attributes. One persona, for example, is dubbed “media maximizers” and characterizes people who have a set income but are willing to spend money on digital services like internet instead of watching linear video on a TV set. Another persona set identifies people who live in cities and have multiple telecom providers from which to choose, suggesting they might be in the market for deals.
All told, Frontier claims that the work segmenting out consumers generated $4 million in additional revenue between April and October of last year. Campaign rates increased 68 percent, while the cost per sale decreased by 58 percent.
Now, Frontier Communications is working to automate the manual process of picking attributes through artificial intelligence.
“You don’t even have to identify which keywords are being spoken or what phrases you want to listen for,” said Julia Stead, vp of marketing at Invoca, explaining how the call-tracking technology works. “When you’re able to combine the demographic profile of who the user is with the intent of why they’re calling, it gives much more complete view into why the person is calling and enables the call center to have a much more informed and relevant conversation.”