What is Cross-Channel Marketing and why is Direct Mail a key component?
(Posted on 02/12/16)
Cross-channel marketing is all the rage with Marketers, or is that Marketeers? Either way, popular it most certainly is in this data driven age and is all about interacting more effectively with your customers and thereby improving response.
A cross-channel campaign is centrally managed and integrated so that it delivers a consistent, up to date and timely message to consumers across a number of channels. This is different to multi-channel which isn’t integrated and therefore risks sending repeat adverts and messages to customers who have already responded. This won’t come across as joined-up and professional and frankly, will irritate people.
The aim with cross-channel is to get the right message to the right person at the right time using the right channel.
So let’s break this down.
It’s clear that marketing these days must be highly targeted and personalised. The old fashioned “get the message out to as many people as possible and hope for a decent response” is now a busted flush.
Your target customer needs to be fully understood and you can do this using your own data through analysing past interaction and also via profiling i.e. understanding demographic breakdown, income, household makeup, location, buying patterns etc. We have a long-established and highly experienced data partner who can advise and assist you with this.
This profiling and segmentation will help you to target the right customer for particular campaigns. If you want to purchase new data this exercise will help you to profile and select relevant contact records which will be the sort of people who will want to buy your product or service. Once your data has been profiled, that profile can be matched against a new data source to ensure that you get people who are very similar in terms of socio demographic, buying behaviour etc. to your current customers.
Essentially, your message needs to be relevant to the person who is receiving it. If it isn’t, you are dead in the water. This is where “right message” and “right person” amalgamate. If you have precisely identified the target and designed your message for that target, then your campaign should be relevant. In addition:
- Ensure that your communication piece is personalised
- Your message needs to capture the imagination of the recipient very quickly
- Your offer must stand out
- Make it very clear to recipients how you want them to respond
Unless the sale is seasonal, it is very hard to predict when it is the right time. It is extremely difficult to second guess when your customer – be it a business or person – is ready to buy your product or service. That is why it is important to communicate your message consistently over a period of time via a number of channels - letter, email, phone call, social or display ad, etc. You’re much less likely to get a good response from a one-off communication.
There are many channels available – email, direct mail, print advertising, TV, radio, trade shows, social, telemarketing, Google AdWords, SEO etc.
A good way of finding channels that work best for you and your product or service is to carry out tests and assessments.
So how could cross-channel marketing work for you?
1. A direct mail marketing campaign could be the initiator. A letter is sent to customers on your database that points each of them to their own personalised URL – for example www.yourdomainname.com/joebloggs
2. The customer goes to their personalised URL which will have a consistent look and feel to the message and design on the letter. The page will be very targeted, the customer will be welcomed by their name and the offer will make product suggestions based on what they have already bought from you. The customer won’t be receiving repeat adverts. The offer might be for accessories for the goods they have bought.
3. The customer links through to your shopping cart and makes the purchase.
4. The customer will then be sent email messages from time to time to advertise other products relevant to them given the information that’s already been gathered.
It won’t surprise you to read that I believe direct mail to be a vital component of any cross-channel marketing campaign. I believe this to be the case for a number of reasons:
- Direct mail integrates well with its digital marketing cousins. They are quite different in nature but are very complimentary. Side by side they add up to more than the sum of the parts in terms of generating response. Royal Mail point to a meta-analysis by Peter Field on the IPA Databank who looked at campaigns delivering high sales performance and found that 27% more of these included direct mail than did not. When looking at campaigns that drove high acquisition levels, 40% more included direct mail than campaigns which didn’t. The analysis also found that campaigns with mail achieved over twice (104%) the market share growth than campaigns without mail in the mix.*
- Direct mail is a very effective medium, especially when laser targeted and personalised and statistically has better cut-through than email.**
- Direct mail is a very good way to open a campaign and drive traffic to your website. It's very easy to measure this if you are using personal URLs.
* See the Royal Mail report "It’s all about Mail and Email" http://www.royalmail.com/corporate/marketing/insights/mail-and-email
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