How Chewy creates truly cross-channel campaigns with direct mail

Direct mail inside an open mailbox

With more digital opportunities to reach customers emerging all the time, one tried and true channel – direct mail – is still a power player in the omnichannel line-up. Direct mail outreach is especially effective when it’s incorporated into a cohesive strategy that offers the customer a consistent experience no matter where they’re interacting with your brand. 

But making sure that the experience is cohesive can be a big challenge. In our recent webinar, Aravind Renganathan, Head of CRM Tech at Chewy, shared his valuable insights on navigating the vendor selection process with ease. 

Let’s explore the key takeaways from his chat with MessageGears VP of Marketing, Will Devlin, including how to streamline direct mail campaigns through segmentation and orchestration, as well as the importance of personalization and targeting.

The evolution of direct mail at Chewy

Chewy set out to revamp its direct mail strategy. The primary goals were to reduce dependency on engineering, speed up the time to market, and integrate direct mail into their broader omnichannel marketing strategy. Here’s a look at how the transformation took place. 

The old way: manual and isolated

Chewy’s direct mail campaigns relied on manual segmentation, with a major focus on new customer acquisition. Marketers would hypothesize target segments, often aiming at broad audiences, such as people who had purchased in the past but hadn’t engaged for years. The process was cumbersome, with data engineers and other technical teams spending extensive time on segmentation tasks, which delayed campaign launches by months.

This approach not only slowed down the time to market but also limited the personalization of messages. Direct mail was treated as a standalone channel, separate from other marketing efforts, which hampered the overall efficiency and impact of campaigns.

The new way: Integrated and efficient

A significant part of Chewy’s transformation involved consolidating segmentation processes. Previously, segmentation occurred in multiple places, including the data warehouse and various legacy tech systems. By centralizing segmentation into a single point of view and using MessageGears as a segmentation tool, Chewy was able to clean up its data processes and create a more streamlined approach.

The benefits of using data to bridge the online-offline experience

By integrating direct mail into its broader marketing orchestration, Chewy transformed it from a siloed channel into a key component of its omnichannel strategy. Marketing teams have direct access through MessageGears to query the database themselves, so they’re able to use direct mail not just for acquisition but also for re-engagement and nurturing existing customers. It complements email, SMS, and other digital channels, providing a cohesive and consistent customer experience.

Chewy can now create highly personalized segments with ease. For example, they can target customers who purchased a product 20 days ago with a direct mail piece that includes a QR code for reordering that specific product. This level of personalization was previously unattainable with their old system.

Faster time to market

One of the most significant improvements has been the reduction in lead time for campaign launches. What used to take months can now be accomplished in weeks. This rapid turnaround allows Chewy to test new ideas and creatives more quickly, leading to faster learning and adaptation.

Empowered marketing teams

The new system empowers Chewy’s marketers to be more self-sufficient. With predefined campaigns and segments, they can activate campaigns without relying heavily on engineering support. This shift speeds up the process, allowing for more creative freedom and experimentation.

Enhanced personalization

With a unified data warehouse and advanced segmentation capabilities, Chewy can now deliver highly personalized messages. This improves the effectiveness of their direct mail campaigns and enhances the overall customer experience, making it more likely that customers will engage and convert.

Changed perceptions of direct mail

A common perception is that direct mail is an outdated channel. However, Aravind pointed out that direct mail is still a highly effective touchpoint, especially when used as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. With privacy regulations making digital channels more challenging, direct mail offers a valuable way to leverage first-party data for personalized communication.

Chewy has turned direct mail into a powerful, profitable piece of its marketing mix by leveraging technology, streamlining processes, and focusing on personalization. As they continue to innovate, there’s no doubt that they will set new standards for effective, integrated marketing campaigns.


About the Author

Elsbeth Russell

Elsbeth has nearly two decades of experience helping brands attract and engage audiences through content. For the past six years, she’s been dedicated to helping B2B companies in the email marketing space connect with audiences through community building and social media marketing.