IP Targeting – The Next Generation of Direct Mail

By: Greg Fischer

Published On 06/15/2017

As marketers, we all know how effective direct mail campaigns can be and what kind of impact they can have on our business. They'll stand on their own if we want them to; some businesses use them as their only channel. But what if there was a way to enhance your existing direct mail campaigns? Would you do it?

If you haven't heard what all the buzz is about yet, we're here to tell you. Save your pay-per-click (PPC) budget and put it somewhere you're almost guaranteed a bigger return - IP targeting and retargeting. This new approach to reaching your audience isn't only a fresh solution to what your direct mail campaign may be lacking, it can be the perfect complement to what you're probably already doing.

How does IP targeting work?

The data from your direct marketing campaign (names, street addresses) helps us identify your niche audience that we need to target for the campaign. The intended audience for the campaign might be confined to a specific geographical area or spread across a wide region.

IP addresses (unique identifier provided by the ISP that cannot be changed) of the households or businesses are then mapped to the data provided of your list of potential customers who are very likely to buy your products or services.

Armed with this data, and using a proprietary technology, targeted ads are displayed to internet users of this household or business establishment. In simple words, whenever a user using the targeted IP is accessing an internet or internet-enabled device, he or she will be shown your ads. These ads will be displayed on websites the user visits, on mobile app ads, or any other connected device with display capabilities.

How is this different than PPC ads? IP targeting and retargeting doesn't need cookies, it's more direct to the user by following the IP address. If you've ever asked yourself something along the lines of: "Why am I seeing ads for an item I already bought a month ago?", well that's because PPC ads follow your cookies – where you've been, not where you are or may go next. So…sayonara cookies, you're a thing of the past!

Who can be targeted?

Any internet-connected device can be targeted using IP targeting. Not only can you target households and business establishments, but you can also target educational institutions, airports, convention centers, specific restaurants or hotels, student hostels, and so on―the list is almost endless. Thus, you are not only increasing your marketing scope, but also reaching out to a wider audience in an effective manner.

How does IP targeting and retargeting stack against a lone direct email campaign?

If you're using direct mail by itself, you may be reaching out to your potential customer once or twice a month. We've probably all heard the old marketing adage of the "Rule of Seven" where it is stated it takes someone at least seven times to hear your message prior to them acting on it. So, repetition is important and IP Targeting and retargeting helps accomplish that.  With IP targeting and retargeting as a complement to your direct mail campaign, every time your potential customer connects to the internet, you are making contact. So by the time they receive your mail piece, they'll already be familiar with your brand – the awareness is there. Moreover, if you are targeting public areas like airports, entertainment or sports venues, educational institutions, hotels or restaurants in a specific area, your audience can grow exponentially. Not a bad deal! This is only logical, right?

Are there any success stories?

A home improvement service provider and a furniture retailer (both online and offline) wanted to reach out to their potential customers through IP targeting, alongside their direct mail campaigns. Since they already had their customer's addresses, it was easy to identify the exact households. For instance, the home improvement service provider had data on the households such as the age of the house, estimated income, and past purchase records. The furniture retailer, on the other hand, was able to acquire data of people who have moved into a new home or are about to move. The product/service profiles matched exactly with the customer needs. Targeted campaigns were run for a specific period. The home improvement service provider had ROI of 1,065% whereas the furniture retailer generated ROI of 1,695%. The metrics are way ahead of PPC and it's only getting better.

The beauty of IP targeting and retargeting is that it is not limited to any particular industry. From political parties and educational institutions to small businesses, the benefits are here and they're making people take notice. We know that as the Internet keeps evolving, it's important to stay flexible to new outlets for reaching all of our potential customers. And as hard as it may be, it's imperative to stay at the forefront of communications with our potential customer. The bottom line: We all need to keep up with the technology (and maybe even play a little catch-up) if we want to succeed. 


Marketing Support Services is an industry-leading, fully integrated fulfillment company that consistently delivers client centric, omni-channel solutions to our broad mix of clients. MSS has four core competencies - our flagship fulfillment & mailing services, print-on-demand solutions, digital application development, and our multimedium contact center. Contact us today at 800-798-5005!