The superstar brand Obvi was born from a simple question: If nutritional supplements are all about staying young and healthy, why do they often feel so…old?

To Ronak Shah, Ash Melwani, and Ankit Patel, it was a clear market opportunity. So they decided to create a fun and vibrant collagen-supplements brand—and it became an overnight success. Just three years after launch, Obvi has more than $30 million in sales from over 200,000 customers around the world.

Ronak Shah, Ash Melwani, and Ankit Patel

But like every DTC brand, Obvi has been facing marketing headwinds. Ad costs are up, email open rates are down, and retargeting is a serious challenge.

So this innovative company turned to an “old” marketing strategy—with a modern twist.

In this case study, you’ll see how Obvi drives consistent profits with a “hands-off” solution that brings customers back and gets them buying more. The strategy has been so successful, Ron—Obvi’s CEO—called it the “greatest of all time.”

The Problem: High Ad Costs, Low Email Open Rates

As every DTC operator knows, it’s gotten harder and costlier to acquire customers online. Ads prices keep going up, and iOS privacy updates have made retargeting next to impossible.

TikTok and Facebook have been strong customer acquisition channels for Obvi, said Ash Melwani, the company’s CMO.

“But it’s very tough to be profitable on the first order,” Ash said, “especially when you’re scaling.”

As a bootstrapped business, Obvi makes profitability a priority. The founders know that the key to growing and making money is to maximize your customer lifetime value (LTV). Their strategy isn’t one-and-done; it’s to acquire customers and keep them around, buying again and again.

Email and SMS are common ways to try to scale LTV, but they’re not always effective.

“Email’s great, but it’s still tough because open rates are relatively low,” Ash said. “With SMS, not everyone gives their phone numbers.

In their ongoing quest to minimize churn and maximize LTV, the Obvi founders were looking for a way to reactivate customers who had gone a long time without replenishing their collagen supplements, and hadn’t responded to ads or emails.

They discussed their problem with Nik Sharma, aka "The DTC Guy," who recommended they try postcard marketing—specifically, with PostPilot.

The Promise: A Complete Campaign in Just Two Days

Obvi dipped its toe into the direct-mail waters with a VIP customer winback campaign.

“Basically, we sent a postcard to everyone who’d churned out, but were pretty good customers at a certain point in time,” Ash said.

Ron and Ash are top-tier marketers, but managing a fast-growing brand like Obvi demands lots of time and energy. So they decided to leverage PostPilot’s campaign concierge service, entrusting the company to handle everything from strategy to implementation.

To their surprise, the entire campaign was ready to launch—with approved designs—in two days.

“I love that it's a done-for-you service,” Ron said. “When I looked at the campaign, I was shocked. And thought, ‘I didn't have to do anything to get that!’

Here’s the card PostPilot created:

Postcard - front

It uses on-brand graphics and spotlights some of the most popular flavors of Obvi’s Super Collagen Protein.

The card is personalized with the customer’s first name and includes a thank-you for being a “favorite” customer, as well as a 20% discount.

On the back of the card, there’s a smiling woman with her arms full of Obv products— a subtle suggestion to stock up. The back also repeats the 20% discount.

Postcard back
Postcard - back

This campaign included a unique coupon code for each card, as well as a dynamic expiration date.

Attributing conversions and sales to specific postcard campaigns is key for high-performance marketers like Obvi. It helps them optimize and scale their marketing efforts while maximizing the return on investment.  

PostPilot lets brands track ROI in 2 ways:

  1. Coupon Tracking. Including a unique code lets clients track all redemptions—even if someone other than the recipient places an order.
  2. Customer Tracking. Based on the approximate date a postcard was delivered, PostPilot can automatically track if a particular customer buys within subsequent days.

The Payoff: 1,835% ROI with Zero Effort

For its test campaign, Obvi targeted customers who used to purchase regularly, but hadn’t bought from the company in at least 90 days. Emails and ads clearly weren’t effective at getting them to come back.

It would have been easy to write them off as a lost cause. Instead, PostPilot sent cards to about 1,100 of these customers.

When Ron and Ash saw the outcome, they were psyched. Here’s what Ron tweeted after he saw the initial numbers:

That’s not the end of the story. In the following days and weeks, the campaign continued to generate sales. The test drop brought in more than $20,000 in sales, for a 37X ROAS—numbers that sound almost too good to be true.

The Obvi team is excited about several aspects of postcard marketing:

  1. Performance. Check out those ROIs!
  2. Deliverability. Email open rates are low; SMS response rates are slowing down (and texting only works if you have all your customers’ numbers). “With this, you’re literally hitting every single one of your customers,” Ron said. “Everybody checks their mail.”
  3. Simplicity. “What’s really cool is the amount of work that’s required from you is almost minimal,” Ron said. “To get time back in your day but still be able to expect such high performance—that pays off two times.”
  4. Predictability. “iOS and privacy have taken away the ability to know what to expect,” Ron said. “With this, we know what we’re going to get.”
  5. Longevity. Unlike digital ads, postcards hang around—in a good way. On the counter, on the fridge, by the front door. “This pretty looking postcard is something that’s just there,” Ron said. “People forget about that element: You may get that first order pretty quickly, but you could get multiple orders.”

The Postscript: Obvi Plans to Scale Even Faster

With the help of PostPilot’s concierge service, Obvi plans to launch new, more granular win-back campaigns that target different groups of customers based on RFM—recency, frequency, and monetary value.

Basically, they’re going to use next-level segmentation for DTC marketers to optimize future campaigns, getting the maximum number of customers back to purchase without giving discounts to those who don’t need an incentive to buy.

“Our first campaign did about 2,200% ROI,” Ron said. “Our next one is slated to do 3,000 to 3,500% ROI.”

Now that’s something to tweet about.

PostPilot makes it effortless to send effective postcard marketing campaigns. Don’t believe us? Get started risk-free here.

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