How Dr. Brandt Uses Postcards to Reach the Right Customers at the Right Time

Effective skincare products aren’t one-off purchases. But people don’t always think to re-up when their tube of eye cream or bottle of serum is running low. Brands have to re-engage their customers with marketing communications at the moment they’re ready to repurchase. 

That alone is a challenge. But these messages also have to be memorable enough to stand out amid the thousands of advertisements people are exposed to daily — and stick with them all the way from initial contact to checkout.

With nearly 30 years as a leader in the skincare field, Dr. Brandt has a loyal customer base and a strong foundation of clinically tested formulas and proven results. But it still faces the same obstacles as nearly every other brand in the marketplace when it comes to reaching and converting busy consumers.

“We've got a very strong product; it's just a question of getting it back in front of people,” said Nevin Jethmalani, CEO of Bondchain Growth, which works with Dr. Brandt on e-commerce strategy. 

Online, this has become an increasingly difficult task due to rising ad costs and overflowing inboxes. But with less competition and nearly 100% open rates, a postcard campaign with PostPilot seemed like an attractive alternative.

In this case study, we’ll look at how Dr. Brandt uses postcards to drive ongoing repeat sales and stay top of mind with a demographic that often prefers offline touchpoints.

The Problem: Recurring Buyers Aren’t Always Reachable Online 

Dr. Brandt has many loyal (and valuable) customers who make a purchase every 60 to 90 days, Jethmalani said. But lapsed customers and prospects don’t always encounter the brand’s online ads or open their emails—if they’re even subscribed. 

“With email, open rates are tough. Deliverability is tough. ‘Unsubscribe’ is right there,” Jethmalani said. “So it's only people that are already very interested in your brand. It's not people that are saying, 'Hey, I don't know if I want this, but once in a while I'll take a look at your email.’”

To make contact with people who weren’t already hyper-engaged with the brand, it would have to meet them elsewhere. Like at their mailbox. 

“This is a perfect time for postcards because online advertising is becoming so expensive and targeting is becoming that much more difficult. And with this, targeting is pretty clear-cut. If you have their address, you can send a postcard,” said Jethmalani.

The channel was also a great fit for the company’s audience, which—given the brand’s portfolio of products targeting fine lines, wrinkles, and skin elasticity—tends to skew older and spend less time online than their millennial and Gen-Z counterparts.

The Promise: A Reminder They’ll Actually See

Jethmalani got in touch with PostPilot after hearing on a podcast about the results other brands were seeing with postcard marketing. Weeks later, Dr. Brandt’s first campaign was underway.

Compared with his previous forays into direct mail, the experience was a breeze, he said. As part of its Campaign Concierge Service, PostPilot handled the audience segmenting, strategy, design, and tracking. Dr. Brandt’s team just had to link up its Klayvio and Shopify accounts, approve the creative, and wait for sales to roll in.  

The first round of postcards Dr. Brandt sent out targeted customers who had made at least four purchases in the past but hadn’t ordered in at least three months. This segment, after all, was likely due for a refill of their favorite product—the brand just needed to re-engage them.

“It's tough to convert someone off of just a first purchase, but if they've heard about the brand and purchased from the brand before, they probably just need a reminder,” Jethmalani said. “Postcards are a great way to do that because everyone opens up their mail. Open rates are pretty much 100%. People may not look at everything, but at least they'll glance at it or see the logo, and that's huge.”

The Postcard: Seamless Design and Enticing Savings

While PostPilot handled the creative, Dr. Brandt’s team ensured the postcard designs were true to the brand’s aesthetic and struck the right messaging points for its customers. 

On the front of its VIP winback postcard, it calls out its “science-based” and “clinically and dermatologically tested” products and promises free samples with every order. It also includes a 20% off discount code with an expiration date, providing both a motivation to order and a means of tracking the campaign’s success.

The back of the postcard touts the bona fides—“cruelty-free,” “paraben-free,” “vegan,” etc. —the brand knows are important to its audience. 

Finally, it sparks recipients’ curiosity by highlighting the new products, benefits, and formulas they’ll find online, all complemented with clean, uncluttered imagery that puts the focus on creamy daubs of lotion and models’ glowing skin.

The Payoff: Unbeatable ROAS

During the initial campaign period targeting VIPs, the 2,141 people who received postcards spent $41,000 with the brand—a nearly 40x ROAS. 

Plus, over $3,300 in orders used the coupon code on the mailings for a 3.2x ROAS. PostPilot data and industry benchmarks show that only 10-30% of people typically redeem a coupon when making a purchase, with many simply forgetting, finding a different code, or not bothering. Given that the Dr. Brandt segment consisted of people who hadn’t purchased in at least three months and had been exposed to digital marketing during that time without taking action, it’s clear that the campaign was the primary factor in reactivating them.

At a challenging moment for profitability in e-commerce, the outcome was a significant win for Dr. Brandt.

“Even if 50% or 60% of the results were sales we would have gotten either way, it would've been an overwhelming success,” Jethmalani said. “It was so good that there's no scenario in which you could paint the numbers to not be great.”

The brand also ran a MailMatch™ campaign targeting email prospects. With MailMatch, brands only need a customer’s email to send them a postcard; PostPilot’s proprietary technology can match up to 80% of emails to physical addresses. It’s a powerful way to reach customers who have shown interest in a brand but not yet converted. 

Dr. Brandt’s team was pleasantly surprised by how many people became new customers, and ultimately achieved a 2.73x ROAS with the postcards.

The Postscript: Reengaging Customers for Ongoing Revenue

Seeing the results of its early campaigns, there was no question the brand would run more, Jethmalani said. He just had to decide which audience it would try to reach next.

First, though, Dr. Brandt set its winback campaigns up as flows, so customers automatically receive a mailing when they join a given segment. With that running behind the scenes, the company can focus its marketing attention elsewhere.

Next in the pipeline: a Black Friday/Cyber Monday postcard campaign designed to cut through the online noise during the hectic shopping holidays. 

While other brands’ deals are lost in a sea of emails clogging inboxes, Dr. Brandt’s postcards will be in customers’ hands and on their kitchen counters, nudging them to make a purchase.

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