Building Partnerships with Direct Mail Clients

Blog Post
March 25, 2020

How we built a long-term partnership with a direct mail client


Do you make a long-lasting impression?

When a former client of a large consumer finance company branched off to start a new consumer lending company, Harte Hanks was one of the first companies he called.

He was looking for a direct mail partner who had experience and expertise in financial lending and live check mailings. He knew that our company understood how to work with credit bureau data, variable rates and offers, check processing and legal disclosures—and also that the best practices and change control processes and procedures in place at our company would ensure that his mailing was correct once in the marketplace.

Our partner was concerned that Harte Hanks, a leader in the industry, would think that his business was too new and too small to take on his account. Knowing that the relationship he had previously with us was very positive, he decided to make the call to his contact here to see if we would be interested. 

We remembered working with the business owner of this new company at his previous job, where we saw a rapid growth in the business under his management. Harte Hanks welcomed the opportunity to be on the ground floor of this new consumer finance lending business and a partnership was immediately formed.

Always be ready to help

Once the partnership formed, a project manager with financial and live check experience was immediately assigned to help guide them in the execution process. Although our partner was a previous customer, he had never worked on the day-to-day aspects of the execution of a direct mail program— managing to schedules, creative, printing, data processing, audits, postage and/or mailing. We were more than excited to take care of the backstage business required for his mailings and with it maximize his investment.

The first mailing was a grand opening postcard introducing the financial company to credit bureau prospects within a 15-mile radius of the new branch. An involvement device using a scratch-off sticker affixed onto an oversized postcard inviting customers to come into the branch was used to reveal their pre-approved offer.

Typical industry response rate projections range from .4% (good) to 1% (fantastic) for an initial grand opening mailing. They received a 1% response rate to their pre-approved offer and were very pleased with the immediate traffic coming into their new branch to secure a new loan.

After the successful launch of the grand opening mailing, the company was anxious for Harte Hanks to manage their live check mailing. They knew that not all direct mail companies understand the processes involved in live checks programs, which require everything from working with the credit bureaus and bank processing centers to the actual MICR lasering of the live checks.

We kept working together on their next two live check mailings (initial and remail), assisting in all aspects of the campaign: creative, print, data processing, lasering and mail processing. Typical industry response rates on live check programs range from 1% to 1.2% (good) to 1.6% (exceptional). However, our partner’s first DM live check program hit an exceptional 1.7% response rate! The second live check mailing had a 1% response lift, yielding an overall 2.7% response rate from their direct mail marketing campaign!

In addition, the typical loss rates for live check mailings in the industry average 20%—their loss rate was at an industry unheard rate of only 10%. The new customers gained through these direct mail marketing efforts generated positive profits to the business within 5 months of their branch opening—the industry average being 9 to 12. They were extremely pleased with the results of these programs and are currently working on their next grand opening mailing, which will be a live check preapproved offer.

In 2019, this company expanded their branch footprint and kept using their trusted partner, Harte Hanks, in all their direct mail marketing efforts.

And be ready to hear the client’s feedback:

“Harte Hanks is great to work with, surprised that they treated me like a corporate client and are very helpful with suggestions and ideas. They offer good advice, are very responsive, answer lots of my questions and walked me through the entire process . . .”