Create direct mail deliveries

Understand how direct mail works in Adobe Campaign and learn how to create, format, and execute a direct mail delivery.


In this module, we will learn how to create Direct Mail Deliveries and use Seed Addresses in a Campaign. Let’s start by creating a Direct Mail Delivery.

Direct Mail is marketing collateral that is sent via postal mail to a customer’s home or place of business. Typically, Direct Mail consists of catalogs, coupons, flyers, et cetera. The goal of Direct Mail Delivery in Adobe Campaign is to generate an extraction file that includes address fields, such as first name, last name, street name, city, state and zip code. In the Direct Mail file, we can also include instructions that will inform a fulfillment agency as to which recipients receive which versions of a print. If we have different versions, we can route our extraction file to the agency or department that will send out the delivery. In Adobe Campaign, we can model a service provider. This allows us to set up a workflow to automatically FTP an extraction file to a service provider. We can also configure services provided by our service provider, such as bulk mail, or mail 14 ounces and under. If we are managing budgets in Adobe Campaign, we can also include the cost per piece associated with one of these services. Adobe Campaign automatically deducts the cost of our mail campaign from the budget based on the final target size. Alternatively, we can download the extraction file to our computer and then email it to the service provider. In this visual, we see a simple Direct Mail campaign. We have a query activity to target our recipients and Direct Mail as the delivery. Within the Direct Mail Delivery activity, we can format the extraction file to include specific columns, change the order of the columns and select a file type. This is one of the most important steps of the configuration. We can also schedule a date and time that we want the extraction to be pulled or sent out. When a service provider has been modeled in Adobe Campaign, the routing workflow is triggered when the extraction takes place. Therefore, it’s important to schedule the extraction for when you want the campaign to go out. After the file is generated on the sever, we can choose to download this file to our computer. It is recommended that we incorporate the extraction date into the extraction file name. Typically, the file format is part of a template so we don’t have to manually configure the file format for the extraction each time we execute a Direct Mail campaign. The template is configured based on the criteria provided by a fulfillment provider. If we’re using multiple fulfillment providers, we would create multiple Direct Mail templates and select the appropriate template for our service provider on a daily basis.

Seed lists are often used with Direct Mail Deliveries to verify the delivery and to prove that the fulfillment house is not misusing our list in anyway or sending our customer list to someone else. We can also use a Seed list with an email delivery to verify that the delivery was sent. Our Seed’s should all have a valid postal address that can receive Direct Mail. The Seed list will be merged with the target during the analysis process just prior to delivery. The Seeds are not part of the segmentation, but they will be added in. There are several merge options, or insertion methods, for the Seed Addresses. The default option is respect the sort order. This option should only be used if we’re sorting the extraction file. It is important to remember that if we select or lift the default insertion mode value with respect to the sort order and then do not sort the extraction file in any way, we will receive a run time error when running the campaign. The Seed Addresses are a property of the campaign and they are not true recipients. When we create a Seed, it is not sorted in the recipients table, instead, it is stored in a separate Seed Address table.

In this demo, we will create a new campaign with a workflow that will target female recipients over the age of 25 with a valid mailing address and send them a Direct Mail Delivery. We will also be using Seed Addresses in our campaign. Let’s configure a Direct Mail campaign. In the campaign step, select create a campaign. Let’s name the campaign, Spring Catalog Direct Mail. Let’s edit the campaign properties. To do this, select the edit tab, advanced campaign settings link.

Next, let’s navigate to the approvals tab and keep only the enable extraction validation option checked. Let’s select our cells as a reviewer.

In the Seed Address tab, we’ll add our Seed Address. We’re given the option to import the Seed template. Let’s pick Alison Parker from the existing Seeds. We also have the option to add our own Seed.

Under recipients, we’re going to provide a value for all the fields that will be needed for our delivery. To configure the postal address, select the address field stamp.

We will sort our list of recipients later, so for now, we can leave the insertion mode on respect the order.

Let’s save the campaign changes and implement our workflow. Under targeting and workflows, we will overwrite the default workflow rather than creating a new one and we’ll name it, Spring Catalog Direct Mail Workflow. Next, we’ll add query activity.

Let’s double click the activity and add our filtering conditions. For this demonstration, we will select all the female recipients over the age of 25 with a valid mailing address.

We will consider any address to be valid if it contains a zip code.

Now, let’s drag and drop Direct Mail Delivery.

We can rename it, as well as provide a code or description. Let’s save our workflow, and head back to the dashboard. On the right side, we see our delivery. Opening this, we do not need to schedule a delivery date, as we will be sending this as soon as possible. This training environment does not have any service providers modeled. So the next step is to configure the name of the extraction file. Let’s name it, springcatalog.csv, let’s also include the date in our file name. To do this, open the drop-down menu, add current date and select your preferred format. Remember to replace the slashes with either underscores or dashes to prevent separate files from being created on the server. Next, we will edit the extraction file format. Double clicking a field from the available options on the left side will move it to the right side and will be included in our output. Since we are using the Seed Address and we selected, respect the sort order, as the insertion mode, we must select something to sort by. Let’s sort by name and zip code, but prefer the zip code to be the primary sort. We can move it up on our list using the arrow keys in the upper right-hand side of our window. The higher the item is on our list, the higher it’s sort priority. Let’s make sure that our output format is csv.

This page allows us to exclude columns from our final output as well as providing us with some transformation options, such as forcing only the first letter of a name to be capitalized. To download this file locally to our computer, choose open, properties, advanced, and enable file to be downloaded locally and then save. Let’s execute the campaign. Under targeting and workflows, select the start option. We can see our query is pulling almost 6,000 results.

In our delivery details, we see that we targeted almost 6,000 records and we will be sending to almost 5500 people.

The audit page shows us that we are now waiting for approval.

Taking a look at the approval email, we’re given the option to download the output file. In this preview, we see all of our selected columns sorted based on the criteria we specified earlier.

Now, we will accept our output file with the option to add a comment.

Back in Adobe Campaign, we see our delivery was accepted and we can view any comments that were left. We also have our output file available to download. We can first preview the file, then select the save icon and chose where we would live to save the file and download. Heading over to the desktop, we can see our saved file that we can send to our service provider. -

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