Meet Me at the Corner of Art & Science

By Adam Solomon, VP Product, PebblePost

The U.S. Constitution is a remarkably prescient document. It’s also highly malleable. Imagine trying to run a 21st century company using a business plan drafted in 1787. But even with all the advancements in technology, sociology and virtually every other -ology in the last 230 years, the Constitution still functions as a blueprint for our dizzyingly complex society.

Take, for example, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, aka the “copyright clause.” It reads: “The Congress shall have power to promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Now That’s Great Copywriting

There, in just 32 words, the Constitution provided an incentive for entrepreneurs to share their innovations in a way that benefits both them (“exclusive right”) and the general public (“limited Times”).

It’s effective, obviously, for protecting the rights of “authors” and “inventors” in the traditional sense (e.g., those who write novels or devise new hardware). But it also provides effective protection in areas where the lines have blurred in ways the founding fathers could not have foreseen — such as social media posts and software programs.

As technology has evolved, the two key phrases in the copyright clause — “Science” and “useful Arts” — have remained conceptually intertwined but have basically switched meanings. In the eighteenth century, “Science” meant information while “useful Arts” meant manufactured goods. In the 21st century, “Science” evokes technology such as tablets while “useful Arts” could now be a quaint synonym for intellectual property.

So what does all this have to do with Programmatic Direct Mail®? A lot, actually.

Mad Men with Smartphones

Advertising is the ultimate intersection of art and science. Fifty years ago, in the Mad Men era, it was clear where the emphasis lay. Advertising was called the art of persuasion, not the science of persuasion. Storytelling and image-making were the keys to a successful campaign.

The problem was, if the campaign wasn’t successful, it was hard to figure out why because the science was inexact. Analytics don’t work on gut instincts.

More recently, during the surge of venture capital-fueled technology, science gained the upper hand. Big data ruled. Click rate mattered more than response rate. There was a race to the bottom of the funnel.

And too often storytelling and image-making — the art — got lost in the digital shuffle.

Now we’re seeing signs that the pendulum is swinging back again. That’s to be expected; advances in any industry tend to result in a brief period of overreliance on new technology, often with regrettable results. (When it first came out, the Moog Synthesizer resulted in some of the most embarrassingly bad popular music ever recorded.) Then the infatuation passes, and that industry refocuses on its core mission.

I think that’s starting to happen in this space. Yes, venture capital and computing advances powered a surge in big data, computational speeds, natural language processing and smart machines. But that was merely the foundation for the next great advance — not the advance itself.

Now we’ve reached a point where we’re ready to use that new foundation to build something more advanced than direct response advertising. It’s time to start climbing back up the funnel toward greater consideration and awareness. Toward delivering the right message in the right channel to the right person at the right time.

To do that, we have to further blur the lines in the time-honored copyright clause. We have to consider science when shaping a marketing message, and refine the art of developing data segments to find and engage consumers at scale.

Art and science. Science and art. When they’re woven together smartly and creatively in advertising, the winners are marketers, publishers and consumers.

At PebblePost, we couldn’t be happier to be a part of this evolutionary process. Having created a revolutionary new marketing channel through Programmatic Direct Mail®, we know we have the science right. But we’re also focused on getting the art right. That’s just what the Constitution intended: to form a more perfect union between the heart and the mind.

Adam Solomon is VP Product at PebblePost. His diverse background includes stints as an aerospace engineer and patent attorney with a Master’s in intellectual property law, plus 20 years in consumer media and marketing. That’s given him both an abstract and a practical perspective on Programmatic Direct Mail®.

ABC News Radio’s Tech Zone talks programmatic with CEO Lewis Gersh

Tech Zone host Paul Amadeus Lane interviewed PebblePost CEO Lewis Gersh for his show airing Sunday, October 30 on ABC News KMET 1490 AM. The full interview is available on his YouTube channel here.

Paul and Lewis dig into Programmatic Direct Mail and what this innovation means for digital marketers. Also hear Lewis’ predictions for what’s ahead for digital and martech.




PebblePost® Announces First-Ever Programmatic Catalog™

Brands including Boxed, UncommonGoods and ModCloth look to Programmatic Direct Mail® inventor for game-changing marketing solutions

NEW YORK – October 12, 2016 – PebblePost, the inventor of Programmatic Direct Mail®, today announced the launch of the world’s first Programmatic Catalog™. The catalog embodies real-time online interest and intent activity transformed into dynamically rendered, personalized mail pieces, delivered into a postal hub within 12-24 hours every day. Real-time analytics track response and conversion from the Programmatic Catalog™, which enables a marketer to optimize every day’s activity for tomorrow’s in-home media.

The Programmatic Catalog® is created from real-time behavioral data (browsing, keyword search, cart abandonment, etc.) combined with page-level information (e.g., product, content) and a marketer’s campaign rules (audience tagging, A/B testing, geo targeting, etc.). Because the catalog is initiated by online activity, a return visit can be matched and provides real-time analytics on daily response and conversion data for continuous optimization. This data-driven decisioning with high-levels of automation continually enhances efficiency and efficacy of a marketer’s goals.

“Since we’ve been with PebblePost, we’ve seen a significant increase in response and conversion rates. Their platform helps us strengthen the relationships with our customers by offering a personalized experience. We’re excited to be one of the first to use a Programmatic Catalog™ as it offers an additional route to target our customers – helping us in our mission to make shopping for bulk easy, convenient and fun,” said Nitasha Mehta, Associate Director, Reengagement Marketing, Boxed.

“Creativity and individuality are core components of our brand and in many ways a Programmatic Catalog™ is an extension of those ideals. Much like our products, the new catalogs will allow us to connect with our customers through creative, tailored design, especially as we plan for the holidays,” said Brian Hashemi, Director of Marketing, UncommonGoods.

Delivered via First-Class Mail™, this brand-new mail piece brings real-time interest and intent data to the world of in-home physical media, combining content and commerce in one personalized package that consumers can hold in their hands. Each piece is laser-printed and 4×6 in size, with a minimum of eight dynamic and/or fixed pages. Customization options include the ability to add editorial content, tagged promos, and targeted merchandise images, among many others.

“As we approach the busy holiday shopping season, we’re always looking for new ways to engage with our community and help them find their unique style. The Programmatic Catalog™ is a great way to help our customers find the perfect gift for their friends and families, and festive clothing and accessories for their holiday events,” said Margaret Parra, Director of Acquisition, ModCloth.

“Keeping mail vibrant in the digital age is a key goal of the US Postal Service. We are always looking for people and companies committed to a robust advertising marketplace. The Postal Service believes in the future of direct mail, and we applaud and support innovations that make direct mail more personal, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time,” said Jim Cochrane, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer and Executive Vice President, for the United States Postal Service.

“Programmatic Direct Mail® solves several of the biggest problems in digital and direct mail. It’s fraud-free, 100% viewable, and most importantly respectful of the consumer experience as opposed to the often-disruptive nature of digital,” says Lewis Gersh, CEO of PebblePost. “The result is high brand impact that behaves like cash-flow positive response.” The announcement comes as Gersh prepares to accept an Innovation Award at The DMA’s “&Then” event in Los Angeles.

As marketers experience diminishing returns with digital advertising, Programmatic Direct Mail® offers an opportunity to leverage the data intelligence already at their disposal to engage existing customers, email subscribers and website prospects in a relevant and respectful way. Brands including Boxed, Uncommon Goods and ModCloth are among the first of PebblePost’s 100s of marketer partners to expand their campaigns to Programmatic Catalog™ in time for the busy holiday shopping season.

“PebblePost has pioneered the first new marketing channel since search and social — that’s what brands are telling us. This new level of engagement and personalization for marketers is truly differentiated and leading edge. The rocket ship is packed,” said John Elton, partner at Greycroft Partners.

On Sunday, October 16, Gersh will take the stage at the DMA “&Then” conference to receive the Innovation Award for Omnichannel Campaign Management and Marketing Automation. The PebblePost platform is being recognized as a solution for audience engagement, activation and loyalty. The Innovation Award is given to companies that further support both one-way and two-way communications with consumers and business contacts, leveraging cross-device recognition and reach across all channels including POS, email, direct mail, search, display, video, mobile, radio, TV and IoT.

For more information about PebblePost, please visit,

About PebblePost®
PebblePost invented Programmatic Direct Mail® to transform real-time online activity into personalized, dynamically rendered direct mail that’s delivered into postal hubs within 12-24 hours, every day. The company’s patent pending digital-to-direct mail platform integrates segmentation, campaign management, production, analytics and optimization. PebblePost combines the power of intent data with the effectiveness of in-home to achieve far higher response, conversion rates and ROAS. PebblePost® is a venture-backed company based in NYC.


Media Contact:
North 6th Agency, Inc. (For PebblePost)