Lob

Direct Mail

Updated October 11, 2018

4 updates


SCORE BREAKDOWN

User Interface

19/25

Cost

20/25

Differentiation

20/25

Effectiveness

25/25

Pros

  • Automation
  • CASS certified by the Postal Service
  • In-platform HTML code editor

Cons

  • Costly premium support
  • Limited integration with existing mail SaaS platforms

Lob is a direct mail automation platform built with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Due to the nature of the company’s focus on marketing automation, Lob offers users a browser-based, user-oriented experience. The entirety of the platform provides a friendly UX and an easy-to-navigate dashboard; however, there is a level of technical knowledge required for holistic satisfaction.

The concept of Lob

Lob, with competing platforms such as PebblePost, exists to automate direct mail marketing strategies. Similar to how email and social media automation has become an industry-standard practice, automating direct mail is becoming the norm for campaigns.

Employing a platform like Lob could benefit a campaign or advocacy group due to its key user focus: to bridge the gap between graphic designers, professional printers, data warehouses, and mail shops by offering all of these services within one dashboard.

How does it work?

Lob has several proprietary APIs and workflow methods allowing users to create various types of mail media. For example, a built-in HTML editor and design functionality allows users to develop their direct mail product in-platform. Users have API access to Postcards, Letters, and Checks, allowing organizations to create direct mail marketing strategies while also offering automation solutions for form letters, paper-oriented payroll, and variety of other solutions. Users must input their requested mail media type, attach the correct mailing address data, and pay the necessary processing fees.

Creating letters

As mentioned above, Lob has a built-in HTML editor to create a digitally-native version of a mail piece. For developers and individuals with HTML experience, using this feature shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Nevertheless, sending direct mail pieces built from HTML codecs could be challenging for non-experienced individuals. It is highly recommended that organizations wishing to employ Lob for the use of the HTML editor as a means to create mail pieces should consider investing in developer talent.

But, for DIY campaigns, Lob offers a small library of customizable templates. These templates also feature entirely built HTML segments that users can copy and paste in the editor. Users can upload PDF files with or without bleed marks and printing boundaries.

Sending letters and integrations

Users can easily send letters by inputting addresses for their mail media individually or importing mail lists at scale. Lob is certified by the U.S. Postal Service’s Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) program for ensured mail delivery and address accuracy. The CASS system assists software developers and commercial mailers test the quality of address-matching software.

Lob offers external integrations with popular direct mail SaaS platforms like Postalytics, Autopilot, and Mailjoy. There are no integrations with deep CRM platforms or other marketing automation tools; however, users are likely to find connectors on Zapier or Marketo. Plus, users get access to API keys for developer-led augmentation.

Support regime

Lob offers a knowledge base for troubleshooting done by users and a support line. However, the live support mechanisms are limited to support center business hours. Users purchasing premium support are given the “concierge” service one would expect all of the time. Just like any platform that requires the separate purchase of “premium” support, this could pose an issue with an app’s overall Telegraph UI rating. In this case, it has.

Pricing

Lob offers a regular pricing plan pegged to scalability and product quality. The “Developer” plan is the company’s “freemium” plan. Users subscribed to the Developer plan only have to pay for the printing, coding, and sending of mail pieces. The “Startup” plan is $150 per month or $1,440 per year and provides three user licenses, improved delivery networks, a limit of up to 5,000 mailings per month, and discounted print pricing. The “Growth” plan is $500 per month or $4,980 per year, providing the same offerings of the Startup plan. However, the costs of printing are further discounted, and a central platform admin can administer user licenses. Enterprise plans require consultation from the company. The developer support plan is free, and premium support pricing is available in a scalable, progressive manner. The “Business” support plan is $150 per month or $1,200 per year, while the “Enterprise” support plan costs $3,000 per month or $24,000 per year.

Mailjoy, a competitor to Lob, has cheaper product offerings. For example, premium Mailjoy plans are only built on postcard size, sending, scale and the occurrence of mailings. Plans start at $128 and scale to its cap of $1,925.

What we think

Lob is one of several direct mail SaaS platforms promising to interlink digital marketing and traditional mail delivery solutions. Regardless of size, campaigns and organizations with the talent and the budget could benefit from the Lob platform. However, it is recommended that organizations with limited budgets should refrain from deploying Lob as a part of their marketing stack. For example, smaller organizations can benefit from small-scale printing SaaS platforms like Mailjoy, or in-house solutions.

If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – telegraph@joinlincoln.org.


Screenshots

SCORE BREAKDOWN

User Interface

19/25

Cost

20/25

Differentiation

20/25

Effectiveness

25/25

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