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How to Connect Virtual and In-Person Marketing Experiences in the All-Digital Marketplace

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer, but it’s also more complicated than ever before. There are more customers, more channels, and more opportunities to succeed and fail. But these are the challenges that marketers like Nick Runyon, CMO of, thrive on.

PFL is a leading provider of tactile marketing automation and helps brands deliver special customer experiences by combining digital marketing efforts with physical direct mail. In the tactile marketing automation equation, gifts and swag plus great digital ads equals excellent customer memories. 

Nick recently appeared on the Marketing Trends podcast to talk about multichannel marketing. With two decades of marketing experience, he joined PFL in late 2019 — just in time for the tumultuous year that has been 2020. Here’s how he’s helped the company keep innovating as the marketplace has shifted to digital.


As everyone’s shifted to working from home, many B2B marketers’ prospects have dispersed. If your buyers are no longer in the office, how do you reach them? And once you figure out how to reach them, how do you create experiences that are engaging, valuable, and lead to reliable revenue streams for your company?

Zoom is one of PFL’s clients, and though millions of people are using the free version of Zoom, the company also has an interest in retaining paid customers. To help Zoom achieve this, PFL created customized, interactive landing pages and links that their sales team could send out on a one-off basis. 

Now, Zoom’s sales team sends those links to customers they’re interested in retaining. On the interactive landing page, the customer can explore the value they’d get from upgrading to a paid Zoom account, and choose from a list of customized swag kits to receive for free from Zoom — including items like drink coolers, webcams, microphones, and headphones.

Once the kit is delivered to the customer, Zoom’s sales representatives are immediately notified through PFL’s software, and they can follow up with an email or a phone call. By melding the physical and virtual worlds through gifts and ads, you can create truly compelling and personal experiences for your buyers.


In our new all-digital marketing landscape, sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever. At PFL, it’s been really important for sales to plug into everything marketing is doing. The more they know about PFL’s customers, the more relevant their engagement can be. For example, if a customer’s profile says they’re a proud graduate of the University of Alabama and a big college football fan, sales teams can send them Crimson Tide-themed gifts. 

When you can give your customers the gift of a physical object that’s relevant and personalized to their interests, it shows that your marketing and sales teams are thinking about them and value their business. In Nick’s view, that’s a good place to be, and it sets your teams apart from less thoughtful or distracting marketing. 

But the gift doesn’t close the deal. What really matters is providing relevant service and delivering value to the right person with the right product at the right time. No matter how great your swag is, the customer experience across digital and physical channels is key.


In B2B marketing, you have to generate real conversations, not just awareness. After all, it’s no good if a bunch of people know about your product but never talk about it together. To generate the conversations you need, your marketing needs to be remarkable. 

That’s where the value of a physical gift comes in. As Nick says, if there’s something in the room from your brand, that’s a conversation-starter. People want to know where the object came from and the story behind it — and that story has the potential to be a great story about your brand. 

Ultimately, a gift is never just a gift. It’s a storytelling device — especially now that almost every other form of marketing engagement has to take place digitally. A relevant, personalized gift has the power to tell an exciting story and set your brand apart. And with marketing automation, it’s easier to send those gifts at scale.

To get more insights about the power of marketing automation and relevant swag for your B2B buyers, listen to Nick Runyon’s episode of the Marketing Trends podcast.