Loopio has sent individual, handwritten cards to their customers each holiday season since they were incorporated. When the customer base nearly doubled in 2018, the logistics became difficult. I worked on the project in 2018, and revised our process in 2019 to accommodate continued growth.
I didn't have the bandwidth to design the cards until the last week of November. Knowing the timeline was tight, I went to print before the team finalized the logistics. We picked up 1000 cards from the printer in the first week of December
Loopio's customer data was entered inconsistently into Salesforce. The marketing team spent upwards of 8 hours cleaning up the list and checking addresses. Many of our primary contacts are remote workers, and the address on file was their account's billing address, usually the head office. When all of the missing or unverified addresses were taken into account, we found I had overprinted by about 400 cards.
Loopio then hired three "scribes" to write the cards, a process that had worked in the past. Conflicting commitments and the nature of the work meant that only one of them completed writing their cards. The entire marketing team pitched in to finish writing cards, stuffing envelopes, and posting the cards, at the cost of other marketing initiatives. The last cards went out mid-December.
The mailing list was inaccurate and had to be manually edited
Printing before the mailing list was finalized resulted in massive overruns
Delays compiling the list led to bigger delays handwriting the cards
Hiring outside help with handwriting was costly and slow
The marketing team spent considerable time writing cards, delaying other high-impact work
I began discussing cards with my manager at the beginning of November. Mid-November I emailed two options for improving our process and rough design sketches to the marketing leadership team. The VP of Marketing presented the options and sketches to the SLT. The SLT approved my second option, with the addition of a small run of locally printed cards.
The process of getting through the list was decentralized, ensuring that no department was overburdened. Cards sent to prospects were handled by Sales, allowing them to prioritize their best accounts. Customer Success reached out to customers and checked the list for accuracy. Neither team dealt with tedious formatting issues, because for a nominal fee, our robot card printer formatted the list. In addition to the robot cards, we printed 100 cards locally for high-priority contacts. The SLT, Sales, and Customer Success wrote and posted those cards themselves.
Briefing new management on previous issues allowed for more thoughtful decisions
Sharing the work of generating a list allowed other departments greater buy-in and reduced individual burnout
Picking the right external vendor was more efficient than manual processes inhouse
Our vendors printed only what we needed to fulfill our list, reducing waste and costs
In 2018, following a old process created massive headaches. In 2019, I committed to finding a better solution for new management. Involving Sales and Customer Success helped them see the value in Marketing initiatives. Outsourcing the tedious data entry and handwriting allowed Marketing team members to pursue work with higher ROI.