How Sendoso Is Making Snail Mail Cool Again

Kris Rudeegraap, CEO of Sendoso, joins the Content Pros Podcast to discuss how snail mail is making a roaring comeback as a vehicle for impactful content.

In This Episode:

8

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Full Episode Details

It All Comes Around

There was a time when your mailbox was chock full of bills, ads, and sometimes a letter from a friend. Then email arrived to save the day and everybody began communicating there instead of sending letters. It’s 2017 and boy have things changed.

What was once old has become new again. Snail mail is the hottest new/old content marketing trend.

Kris knows that as our inboxes get flooded with spam and bills, our physical mailboxes sit empty which makes them the perfect vehicle for personalized, standout content.

But it takes more than a stamp to make a dent with your content. Utilizing data and empowering your sales team to take initiative with their customers is what will transform something from a piece of mail to a motivating deal-closer.

Also keep in mind that the mailer is just the beginning. Snail mail is an old dog that has learned new tricks so embrace its vintage appeal but take advantage of the new technological perks that allow you to track and confirm delivery so you can seal the deal with personalized follow-up.

In This Episode

  • Why getting noticed today means embracing an old, previously ridiculed mode of communication
  • How snail mail leads to perfectly timed and impactful customer engagement opportunities
  • Why meaningful, personalized content means creating a physical presence from afar
  • How timely mailers lead to content that stands apart from the rest

 

Quotes From This Episode

“Having a physical presence in a customer’s office is a really interesting way to make sure that your brand rises above and beyond the other things that are out there.” —@tylerlessard

Now you've got 6,000 emails and two letters in your post office box. Tables have turned a little bit. Click To Tweet

“It’s all just about different mediums to engage with the content.” —@rudeegraap

“Every marketer’s dream is to track everything back so that they get great credit and more dollars flow their way.” —@rudeegraap

Resources

 

Content Pros Lightning Round

What led you to a more entrepreneurial path? In college actually I received like a $25,000 kind of grant from the university to start a company. That was kind of like a jumpstart into hey, let’s build something and do it.

What’s your go to breakfast? Just a smoothie with bananas and kale or spinach and some yogurt and call it a day.

What’s the coolest gift that’s been sent to you in the mail? A bottle of wine that had a lock on it. You have to take the meeting to get the combo code to get the bottle open.

Episode Transcript

Randy: Welcome to another episode of Content Pros. Content Pros is part of the Convince and Convert Network and today we are going to dig into a different way to send out content. I've got Tyler Lessard here from Vidyard. I'm Randy Frisch from UberFlip. When I say a different way to send out content, we often think about digital ways that we send out content. I think that there's this renaissance going on with how we can actually send content through the mail, like the old snail mail way, but it's actually having this huge revival and today's guest is helping companies facilitate that and has a lot of perspective on how that's being done well. Tyler, why don't you tell us a little bit more about Kris?
Tyler: Yeah. I'm excited to have CEO of Sendoso Kris Rudeegraap join us here today because to your point, Randy, I've seen what's old is new again when it comes to using physical mail to engage our prospects and as a fun way to stand out and get our brand noticed. I'm going to turn it over here to Kris to quickly introduce himself and just give us a bit of a background on your story and how did you get into the mail business.
Kris: Thanks for the introduction, Tyler and Randy. Kris Rudeegraap here, CEO of Sendoso. We're a platform that helps companies deliver basically physical goods and eGifts to customers and prospects. We've got warehouses, locations, printing facilities, all that good stuff to basically what you said is what's old is new again especially with ABM. Got into this company a few years ago. We started it as just an eGifting company. From customer feedback and a lot of different kind of customer development stories really saw that companies were really struggling and trying to send more stuff through the mail and needed a better way to do it, doing that scale with integrations and so here we are today.
Randy: Tyler, I think you and Kris should work together on like a video that talks about Sendoso where he's doing all these throwback items. Like wearing bell-bottoms, playing a record and sending mail.
Tyler: I like it. Yeah. I was also thinking about one with Kris dressed up as a mail person delivering the mail. I don't know if you've done that yet, Kris, but I'll digress.
Randy: As long as it's in bell bottoms, yes.
Kris: I'm looking for costumes right now on Amazon. Be right back.
Tyler: It is an interesting and I think a super fun topic. We as a business have started doing this more. I've heard from lots of other marketers that they're looking for new and creative ways to get attention. Often it comes back to the idea of hey, let's try some creative stuff through physical mail. Kris, I'm curious from your perspective and all those marketers out there that you talk to, what's driving this trend? What are the problems that people are facing that are getting them to think about hey, maybe we should be creative physical gifts and using this as part of our marketing strategy?
Kris: I think there's a couple of things. I think one is account-based marketing where companies are targeting really high value key target companies where they want to focus a bit more energy on really personalized outreach. Some of that expands just beyond email to how they can send gifts or dimensional mail, handwritten notes, other types of printed concept to these key influencers and decision makers.
Randy: For clarity for everyone listening who's very digital focused, he said gifts like G-I-F-T-S not G-I-F-S. Correct?
Kris: Correct.
Randy: All right. Cool. Just making sure. Making sure. It's funny though. It's funny that we're thinking about mail again, right? I was actually thinking about it this past week when I ordered something off Amazon Prime. You just mentioned Amazon. I'm now excited to check the mail these days. It got to a point where we had so much crap in our mail, but I think now that all my bills pretty much come digital, I'm actually intrigued to see what's coming to me in the mail. I guess maybe that's what you're talking about too is the expectations from people of what they may get is all of a sudden pleasant again.
Kris: Exactly. Yeah. I mean I feel like five years ago you go to your inbox and you'd be excited for your email. You know the whole AOL "You got mail." Now you've got 6,000 emails and two letters in your post office box. Tables have turned a little bit.
Tyler: One of the ways that we've been using physical content and I'm going to maybe coin that term here. I don't know if you guys talk in another way, but I like thinking about it as physical content and that keyword of content because this really is a part of that arsenal of interesting information or assets that we're sharing with people. One way we've done it is through a physical welcome gift which is a little bit of a different play here, but for new customers who sign on we send them a studio in a box where they get a camera and a tripod and some tools that are going to help them be successful with video. We've seen a phenomenal response to it both because it was a little bit unexpected so there's a bit of a surprise and a delight moment. What we also heard is it really ties our brand to them more personally and gets great brand awareness around the office. People share it around and we get a lot of social mentions on and people taking pictures of it. It struck me as a marketer in this digital age having a physical presence in a customer's office is a really interesting way to make sure that your brand kind of rises above and beyond the other things that are out there.
Kris: I think the water cooler moment was kind of the key point there too. If something's sitting on your desk, a colleague comes over and it just creates more conversations. It has a longer shelf life than an email that gets swiped left perhaps. Not to hit on email. I love email, but it's just like another ...
Tyler: Hit on email as much as you want, Kris.
Kris: I love email. I check it every minute.
Randy: Neither Tyler nor I work for an email marketing company. You can go for it. Before we go too deep into what we should be sending and maybe some ... I want to get some great stories from you of customers who have done some cool things. Maybe we can go back to the point you were saying which is ... We were digging into the idea of ABM and who gets this stuff. Can you give some guidance in terms of how people are determining who gets sent something in the mail or does everyone get sent? Are people doing this more in a campaign basis or more on everyone these days? What's the trend that you're seeing just in talking to some of the customers you're engaging with your company?
Kris: I think it's a little bit of both. We're seeing definitely with kind of like key target accounts there'll be campaigns of higher valued either content, dimensional mailers, gift-like items that are being sent out to really key decision makers or influencers at accounts, but then there's also the other half of the equation where you're wanting to empower your SDRs, your sales team to be able to have physical content that they can deliver whether it be handwritten notes or printed white papers and case studies that can be used throughout sales cycles from SMB midmarket all the way up as those are lower cost items, but still very impactful when it's delivered to someone's office.
Tyler: Sorry, Randy. I was just going to ask the question of you talked about some instances where it's kind of like a ... You're getting a list. You're doing sort of a batch mode. I'm curious if you're seeing people do it or talk about doing it as sort of an automated part of a campaign or a demand gen program like when somebody submits a certain form or requests something or it does this action that that can automate the triggering and there's no human intervention behind the scenes. That's the world I want to get to.
Kris: We're seeing some companies experiment with that especially with like online content where someone's browsing some online content where they can get an option to hey, do you want a printed version of this sent to your office? We're seeing some people trigger things like that or welcome kits like you mentioned before, Tyler. We're seeing people wanting to trigger those off as like hey, want to ... Account becomes closed one. Let's automatically send them this welcome kit. Those type of things I think are definitely moving in the right direction of automation. I think there's still some things where that personal touch, that handwritten crafted message that comes with the physical content will still always need to be there because you don't want to just be automating it 100%.
Tyler: I can fully appreciate that. I think there's room for both of those. Now we started to talk a little bit about some ideas. If you don't mind, I would love to start peeling back some inspiration on the types of physical materials and collateral and content that people are using these days because I don't need another physical flier in my mailbox here, but I've gotten some pretty creative stuff, right? Sometimes there's food and interesting things, but there's a couple things I've gotten that have really gotten my attention and gotten the people around the office going, "Wow. That's great." Usually it has some kind of relevance to the business or the industry that that company's in. Do you want to maybe share like your first ... I think we'll probably peel back a couple more, but what's one of your favorite campaigns you've seen people do with physical mail that really stood out and got people excited?
Kris: I love it because it's such a creative thing to kind of hear what people are doing and help pitch them on ideas. A few ideas come to mind in terms of like more of like the content side of things versus like just general gifts. We've seen a company that will send out a video or a box that has a video incorporated into the packaging of that box. When it opens, it plays a video. I think that's kind of up your alley too, Tyler, in terms of the video part of things. It's just like an interesting way to deliver video content through the mail and get someone's attention once they open up that box.
Randy: That's very cool. What does something like that cost on scale? I'm just curious. How does that come down probably from some of us who are imagining that you're going to actually send like an old Nintendo, PlayStation type of handheld to do something like that, right?
Kris: Yeah. That can range anywhere from like 30 bucks up to 100 bucks depending on what kind of materials, what you want in it. There's a few variables. I mean it's not too expensive if you're looking ACVs and the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tyler: We've done some of that and we've gotten price points down to even 15 to $20 per. What's really cool is there's lots of different formats for these kinds of cards. I think you're right. The video piece is an interesting way to actually add a little bit of personality to it, right? Even if you have somebody from your company in the video as it turns on kind of saying, "Hey, nice to see you," those sorts of things, we found people get pretty excited about those sorts of ideas.
Kris: A couple of other ones. We've seen a company that had like an MP3 player with some recorded content on it and sent that out with headphones as kind of like an interesting way to deliver a message and then those are like nice Bose headphones that they could keep as like a leave behind.
Randy: That's pretty cool. Maybe we can drive some downloads to the Content Pros Podcast, Tyler, what do you think?
Tyler: Content Pros in a box baby.
Randy: Absolutely. I'm excited.
Kris: We've seen a company that ... I've been into Berkson. There's like those super mini projectors now that are like the size of a keychain. There's some you can get that actually have like SD cards so you can preload content on like a mini projector that's like the size of your cellphone. Someone gets it. It's a pretty cool little device and then boom, it can project whatever you've preloaded onto that. That's like an interesting medium to deliver something in the mail and then the way that the end user receives it.
Randy: I'm thinking like the old thing. What would they call it? Stuck on the tuck. My tongue is where we used to look through the looking glass and like flip the pictures?
Kris: View master.
Randy: The Viewfinders. Yeah.
Tyler: That's what it was. Those things were awesome.
Kris: We got a campaign right now where someone's about to send those out with some images which are going to be pretty cool.
Randy: Nice.
Kris: I think it's all just about different mediums to engage with the content. We've seen another company where they've converted an infographic into like a larger map and sent it out in kind of like a tube mailer. You're like what the heck is this tube that I just got in the mail? Then you open it and it's kind of like this larger infographic map. Just random ways to grab people's attention. We're starting to see more of the ... What's been around maybe five years ago where email was so easy to get someone's attention.
Randy: That's awesome. Kris, we take a little break here. We're going to hear from a couple of our sponsors. Let people digest some of these cool ideas. Maybe when we come back, we can dig into what type of return people are starting to see and how they're tracking the engagement with these types of gifts. We'd be right back here on Content Pros with Kris.
Tyler: We're back here on Content Pros with Kris Rudeegraap from Sendoso. Kris, earlier we talked about a lot of the fun creative ideas for doing physical content campaigns through the mail. We touched on the idea of automation from a tech side, but let's expand on that technology discussion and talk about how people are tracking the performance of these campaigns and thinking about ways to make sure they're getting the ROI that they need and knowing what's really working. I'm curious if that's something you're seeing out there. Is that discussion happening? Are people just assuming it works or are they finding ways to track and measure the impact of these kinds of physical mail programs?
Kris: It's a great question because every marketer's dream is to track everything back so that they great credit and more dollars flow their way. I think the obvious answer there is we're seeing people just ... The simple thing is tracking it back into Salesforce when things get sent out, things are getting logged into campaigns and to activities. I think one of the cool things with FedEx and physical mail things too is that the delivery notifications that you can get so that you know something is in their office now. You got a delivery notification that comes back to that sales rep or it comes back into Salesforce. Creates an interesting opportunity too to follow up. You can give them a quick call to chat about that thing that you just dropped off at their office. I think yeah, you can see if things are being tracked. You can put unique URLs on direct mailers to drive things like tracking, but sometimes it's the sales rep who follows up to drive home the value too.
Tyler: I could see a sales rep as soon as they get the notification that individual piece has arrived. Personally what I would do is send a quick little self-recorded video with the actual physical thing. I'm holding it up as well so they see it and I'm like, "This just arrived. Take a look in your mailbox," or something like that as a fun way to bring it to life and yeah, having those reps be able to track it back in and know which accounts are getting them I think is a huge value-add and makes a lot of sense.
Randy: The cool part just thinking through all of this and where we started this conversation guys is I think people went away from all this direct mail and offline activity because we couldn't track it. The argument was you don't know what's working, but I think the key here is how do you take these offline activities as you're saying, Kris, track them so that you know if it's making an impact. We had this debate a little while back. We still do the stuff you're talking about in more the hacky way. Our office manager's very involved in sending out ... At UberFlip it's a lot of pink headbands if you've ever seen our branding. One of the things I questioned at one point is like I wonder if we know which deals get a headband that actually close. Like what percentage are the ones that we send a headband to close. The problem is is our office manager doesn't live in Salesforce. What we needed to do was start to actually record that information into our marketing automation platform, into our CRM. Then when we do things like multi touch attribution which we do here, we're actually checking that as one of the touchpoints along the way. Are you guys doing something like that too, Tyler? Whether it's with Sendoso or others?
Tyler: Yeah. When we do physical mail campaigns, we make sure that it's pretty much a manual tracking exercise to add a campaign in Salesforce that they received that. It doesn't work great for really wide scale programs, but for those where there's more manual intervention we try to make sure we do that. Kris, to your point it's both being able to track it and justify it at the end of the day, but the other thing too is genuinely getting information back to help us understand. Because if we're doing a lot of that and then none of those deals are closing, obviously we put our efforts elsewhere.
Kris: Exactly.
Randy: One of the nice things is we've got you as the CEO, right? The CEO always has the vision. I think a lot of us are excited about these ideas now. Where do you think the offline sending experience is going? Paint us a picture a year, two years, five years down the road. What is this utopian view of sending content and leveraging mail look like for us?
Kris: It's a great question and something that we are continuing to try to envision and build features for the future. We really see it as seamlessly as email. Right now it seems difficult and manual to send, to track, to find the address of some random person at a company. You don't have the HQ or they're at another office. There's still a lot of manual things and unknowns to make it a very seamless and ROI trackable channel I think. I think we're getting closer there, but I think as we continue to use data and more automation, AI, other tools like that, it'll be that much easier to send things out. On that note too, I think we're seeing a future where maybe there's more predictive or AI driven offline activities. We kind of hinted on this earlier, but maybe if someone is browsing a white paper, maybe you trigger off one of those to be sent automatically or maybe there's other ways or someone stops by your booth at a conference and you send them some swag back to their office. Different ways that you can automate things I think will be the future too and also looking at people's interests as well. Maybe if someone's really interested in certain things based on social data, you could be more defined than the type of items that you're maybe you're gifting or sending their way.
Randy: Here's the high pressure question I've got for you. Aside from vision which obviously you got to live with everyday, Tyler lives over at Vidyard. He's got everyone looking at him at how he executes video. He does a really good job with it. My team at UberFlip, it's all about how we manage and organize content. I'll say we do a pretty good job there today. What is the way that you have showed your customers by doing it yourself in terms of doing some of the things we've talked today? How have you maybe combined your content strategy or just your direct mail strategy in a real game changing way to catch people's attention?
Kris: Like how are we helping customers or how are we doing it?
Randy: How you're doing it yourself. My point being Tyler's got to talk the talk for Vidyard. I got to talk the talk for content experience. What are you doing to ... It's walk the walk. Not talk to talk. What are you guys doing over at Sendoso?
Kris: We send out a fair amount of stuff ourselves. We're quick to send welcome kits and handwritten notes and eGifts. I like to call it instead of eating our own dog food, drinking our own champagne, because no one likes dog food, but yeah, I mean we do quite a bit of that. I think it's really when a customer is a referral that they get from another customer where they used to work at that company and they move along to a new company and sign up again. It just shows us that the service is working really well. We're delivering on the promise of delivering.
Tyler: Randy, do you have any ones that have stood out for you that you've received as a recipient that got you to like really share it or respond back to that brand?
Randy: It's a good question. I'll give you a few that I've had of late, right? One is a bit of a tangent, but I always love this story. I was interviewing a sales rep once for a job here. I asked him what he did to stand out. His point to me was he actually sends a fax to people. I was like, "What the hell are you talking about," at first, right? I'm like, "Can you explain that to me? What decade are you from?" His point was is that no one sends faxes anymore. What happens with every fax is that it goes to an office manager of some sort and then it's physically gets put onto the person's desk, right? His point was like if you want to stand out, you got to get onto that person's desk because as soon as you're on there, someone's actually got to take a look at it. As you say, Kris, like our inbox is now like ... I'm like, "Oh, another 20 emails in the last period." I don't know if that would actually work, but I find it kind of funny. A couple have worked for me. I mean I had a company who was trying to sell me software for culture management. They actually sent me a framed quote about culture that they suggested to put up in the office. Really caught my attention. It was a big box when it came in and it was fun to unwrap. Just a tip, make sure you're sending good quality stuff. The frame broke. You got to make sure that you execute all the way through. I think the key is to catch someone off guard and make sure that they don't know what's coming and get them excited to put that to use in some sort of way.
Tyler: One that I'll share that was a standout was receiving a pair of Google Glass, just the cardboard Google Glass which are super cheap, but along with a custom URL to your point earlier, Kris, to a page where they had some custom kind of VR style content which was super cool. It was one of those things it was timely though, right? Now we're like okay, that sort of been done. It was when the person who was sort of on that cutting edge who put that out there. That got shared all around the office, right? Everybody wanted to try it. It was a novelty, but of course, their brand was all over it. It was a big hit. I think those sorts of things I love that creative aspect. I think this is why I love the idea of physical mail coming back into the content marketing world because there's so many creative things we can do with this and ways to express our brand. I'm reinvigorated around this. I'm going to my team right after this and we're going to talk about our next physical mail campaign. I'm stoked. This is great.
Randy: Kris, we got a couple of minutes left here. Maybe we'll just turn the tables on you. Better understand who you are outside of work which is something ... A lot of our guests here on the podcast are always curious who's the person that got this inspiration. Now my first question to you is what led you to a more entrepreneurial path?
Kris: In college actually I received like a $25,000 kind of grant from the university to start a company. That was kind of like a jumpstart into hey, let's build something and do it. That was kind of where I think I got the passion for software startups. From there it's just living in San Francisco you kind of live and breathe and eat entrepreneurship for breakfast kind of thing.
Randy: Fantastic. All right. Since we're getting to know you, you teed it up. I mean what's your go to breakfast?
Kris: My go to breakfast is actually just a smoothie with bananas and kale or spinach and some yogurt and call it a day. Kind of a light little breakfast, but it does the trick for me.
Randy: That sounded like a power breakfast to me. Nice. We'll finish with this one. What's the coolest gift that's been sent to you in the mail? What's the item where you're like, "Oh my god. We got to take this to one of our customers?"
Kris: We had this one cool idea that we've seen recently where it was a bottle of wine that had a lock on it. You have to take the meeting to get the combo code to get the bottle and like the drink. I was like, "Shoot. I got to kind of take this meeting because I have this bottle here that's useless sitting on my desk." I don't know. It was kind of a fun recent one that we did or that we received that then we kind of turned the tables on offered up to a few customers to do.
Randy: That's very cool. We're working on something very similar. No lock, but where you're going to have to contact us to activate the perk.
Kris: We actually had one, Tyler, with someone who used Vidyard content in one recently which I just remember that. I thought it was pretty cool. They actually sent out a cellphone and on it was a little button that said click here and then it popped open a Vidyard video that was personalized to that single recipient which I thought was pretty brilliant in terms of they got an email notification that the video was watched. People are getting super creative. It's an interesting world today.
Randy: That's so much fun. I think that's a fun world we live in guys. All of our technologies out there are entwining, working together and that creates a more integrated marketing campaign end of the day. Kris, thanks so much for joining us. If people want to learn more about Kris, you could follow him on LinkedIn as I do. Check out his company Sendoso at Sendoso.com I believe. Is that right, Kris?
Kris: Yup.
Randy: Perfect. This has been a great episode. Hopefully it gets everyone thinking about how to have more fun with your content, integrate it into people's day to day so that when they get away from work, their left with something at the end of the day beyond those thoughts that you've given them through great content. We appreciate everyone tuning into the podcast. If you've enjoyed this one, please check out all the other podcasts we have at ContentProsPodcast.com. On behalf of Tyler Lessard at Vidyard, I'm Randy Frisch at UberFlip and this has been the Content Pros Podcast.
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