When we talk about multichannel marketing many marketers fail to
include direct mail in the mix and concentrate only on the digital
world. However, as we can see from the article below, this approach
is flawed. While incorporating online channels into your marketing
efforts is vital, we can't overlook customer preferences, many of
which prefer to receive printed materials over email for some types
of communications. By simply cutting print entirely and forcing the
consumer into an entirely online relationship you may end up
cutting off communications with some customer's altogether.
While email does have its advantages, for both marketers and
consumers, we can't overlook the fact that more email than ever is
being sent to consumers, clogging their inbox's, sometimes causing
your message to be lost in the crowd. Consumers will only open
emails that are relevant to them and that are from trusted brands.
One way to build that brand trust is to offer customers a choice of
what they want to receive and how they want to receive it.
The key is to ensure that your message is consistent across
channels and relevant to the consumer you are targeting. By
offering customers a choice and delivering on it, you will maximize
your marketing dollars by increasing your ROI.
Direct Mail Dominates as Customers' Preferred Information
Though considered outdated by some, direct mail holds an
emotional connection, making it the favored mode of brand
communication for U.S. and Canadian consumers.
Papachristos | Published 12/20/2011 in 1to1
Just like a gift at the holidays, receiving a letter in the mail
brings with it a childlike sense of excitement. But now, with the
technological revolution afoot, much of our mail arrives
electronically, becoming a nuisance rather than a pleasure.
However, when it comes to brand communications, U.S. and Canadian
consumers continue to prefer "old school" direct mail above all
other forms of contact.
According to Epsilon Targeting's 2011 Channel Preference Study,
"The Formula for Success: Preference and Trust," 60 percent of U.S.
consumers and 64 percent of Canadian consumers enjoy checking their
mailboxes each day, signaling an emotional connection with direct
mail. The study, which polled 2,226 U.S. consumers and 2,574
Canadian consumers, also reveals that 50 percent of U.S.
respondents and 48 percent of Canadian respondents pay more
attention to postal mail than email. Additionally:
*Thirty percent of U.S. respondents and 50 percent of Canadian
respondents said they're receiving more direct mail that interests
them as compared to a year ago.
*There's a perception that reading email is quicker than sifting
through postal mail. However, only 45 percent of U.S. respondents
agreed with that in 2011, down slightly from 47 percent in 2010,
suggesting that clogged inboxes are increasingly a time drain.
*This year saw a 66 percent increase in consumer product
information research and review via Facebook. Yet, 33 percent of
U.S. consumers and 31 percent of Canadian consumers said that they
don't find advertisements on social media sites useful.
*Thirty seven percent of U.S. respondents and 29 percent of
Canadian respondents use television to get consumer product
information daily, down from 43 percent and 35 percent,
respectively, in 2010.
*The least trustworthy channels are social media and blogs,
garnering only 6 percent and 5 percent of U.S. and Canadian trust,
*Of those who prefer email over postal mail, 34 percent of U.S.
respondents and 42 percent of Canadian respondents cited saving on
paper as their main impetus.
Key takeaway: Acting on customers' contact preferences
facilitates customer trust because customers then feel that they're
in charge of how and when they're contacted. To convey brand
communications in an effective, successful manner, marketers must
first come to understand which channels appeal to which customers
during various points of the purchase cycle. This will allow
marketers to build a cross-channel marketing strategy that
reinforces information shared offline and vice versa.
Being a direct marketing service provider we are always looking
for best practices to provide our clients when they are developing
a direct marketing campaign. There are many lists of best practices
available and most are very similar and touch the same themes. I
recently found this list of core best practices and thought it was
concise and clearly touched upon the most significant steps when
developing a direct marketing campaign.
1. Tightly identify your target market.
Really know and understand to whom you are marketing and why.
This allows you to focus your message and make it more
2. Have good prospect and customer data.
Nothing can botch a personalized campaign like misspelled names
or outdated data. Marketing relevance starts with good, clean,
up-to-date customer information.
3. Use a "value offer" strategy.
All the personalization in the world won't matter if the
recipients don't see the relevance of the contact. Make sure you
have a compelling offer that the recipients see as being of
importance to them.
4. Coordinate creative execution across multiple
All direct mail campaigns need a great message and a creative
approach. If you reinforce this message across multiple media, such
as following up with a personalized e-mail, results can soar.
5. Use interactivity that engages the prospect in a
Don't just send information out. Get it back! Engage the
recipient in a dialog, such as using surveys in personalized URL
campaigns. This creates a bond with your company and gives you more
information to further target offers in the future.
6. Test, test, test.
What works best to bring in more business? Try using different
images or different messages to learn more about your customer's
needs. Since the price per piece of digital press output is the
same regardless of the number of pieces printed, this lets you test
your message without price penalty. Test different messages. Test
different offers. Use every campaign as an opportunity to learn
what strategies are most effective with your customer base.
7. Define success metrics.
What will you consider success? Are you trying to achieve a
certain dollar volume of sales? Have a certain percentage of
customers upgrade? Retain a certain percentage of customers? If you
don't define "success" ahead of time, how will you know if you have
achieved your goal?
8. Communicate and share results.
Share your results with us. If we know the results of the
program, we can use our expertise to help you refine your program
next time. If you don't share your results, you are missing an
opportunity for even greater success in the future.
Mon, 10 Jan 2011
Mark Thomson, media director at Royal Mail, gazes into his
crystal ball and predicts what the major trends for the year ahead
2010 has been a year of contradictions. In many ways it heralded
the rise of the digital revolution, with social media in particular
taking centre stage. This signified the breaking down of barriers
between brand and customer, and the start of a two-way
However, the economic downturn has also led to a resurgence of
more traditional channels, as consumers look for trust and
personalisation in the brands they interact with.
For marketers, the recession has meant one thing - innovation.
Faced with increasingly stiff competition, they have been forced to
explore more creative routes to customer interaction and
The past year has also seen a subtle power shift in the
customer's favour. Increased competition means that customers are
more selective about who they associate with and the messages they
will pass on to their peers. This means that marketers need to work
harder to be heard above the noise, and also to tailor messaging to
an individual rather than a demographic. I believe that this trend
will continue to develop during the coming year. Channel selection
is equally important as creative messaging here.
According to FastMAP research, direct mail is back, having
regained its position as the consumer's favourite direct marketing
channel because people love to receive well-targeted, well-crafted
In my view, 2011 will see the rise of experiential marketing.
This doesn't just apply to the traditional 'event' approach either
- channels such as direct mail will embrace more interactive
approaches, using smell, touch and taste to create an experience
for the customer and build word of mouth and deeper brand
Value exchange will become increasingly important. Gone are the
days when customers are happy to hand over their details without
receiving something tangible in return. Brands need to provide
value such as free events, money off vouchers or exclusive
opportunities to make customers feel special and encourage them to
share something about themselves in exchange.
Innovations such as this can also provide an opportunity to
collect prospect data, which can be used to enhance future
campaigns with more personal targeting. 'Individualisation' will be
the buzzword of 2011 - it is no longer enough to merely add
personalised touches. The market has a long way to go before it
recovers to pre-recession levels, and marketers need to be aware of
the importance of maintaining interest levels among their customer
base and ensuing content remains relevant to prospects.
Digital communications and social media will continue to play a key
role in brand communications. However, it is important to remember
that an online strategy should not replace an offline one - many of
the strengths of offline channels such as direct mail play directly
to the weaknesses of online channels such as email marketing. For
example, direct mail is a more effective medium through which to
communicate detailed information that the consumer may want to keep
and refer back to.
It is imperative that brands serious about delivering sales,
building their brands, and engendering customer loyalty look beyond
online to a more combined online and physical communications
WPP recently released a set of results showing that traditional
media has seen a rise in popularity over the past year. Throughout
the coming year, I predict that traditional channels will go from
strength to strength. Having proven their mettle during tough
economic times, now that green shoots are starting to show,
traditional media channels have the opportunity to showcase a truly
innovative new approach. As marketers begin to move away from
survival mode and look towards growing market share and taking
risks, it's time for offline media to spread its wings and break