It has now dawned on ad agencies, their clients and the marketing industry that people (potential customers/consumers) are more likely to respond to information and offers that are relevant to them and their specific interests and are communicated through the channels with which they are comfortable. It's the power of one-on-one communication.
It all comes down to this...
Prior to the advent of broadcast media channels, such as radio, television, newspapers, etc, intimate relationships between business owners and their customers were practised and managed very successfully for generations. Somehow, that intimacy has been lost along the way.Saw no practical way
It's not that business leaders forgot about the value of individual relationships. It's that they saw no practical way to scale this business wisdom and apply it to the masses - efficiently - through the media channels that were available at the time.
There's no doubt that reaching consumers in today's Information Age
requires new techniques - and a major shift from mass marketing to direct marketing has occurred. It used to be sufficient to advertise your business anywhere and everywhere, hoping that people would notice you and that your hard work would pay off.
But, actually, this "spray and pray" method of marketing made us move away from personal interactions, and is no longer effective.Technology now enables customer relationships
Now, in addition to broadcast media channels, technology exists (i.e. digital printing, email, internet, mobile, social media, variable data and cross-media software, data mining, analytics, etc) that enables us to have customer relationships like people used to have with their corner grocers, and people are starting to expect this one-to-one communication more and more.
Take Target in the UK, for example. The retail chain built individual shopper profiles from data gathered from store-card purchases, and web and email interactions of two million customers. Then it designed and distributed personalised self-mailers and emails featuring products and coupons based on each recipient's previous purchases.
The results? Double-digit response rates, a 50% lift over previous static direct-mail and email pieces, and a 30% savings in operations costs.Four barriers
It is widely accepted that there are four barriers which hinder the uptake of new media in traditional agencies and companies:
- They don't see it coming
- They see it coming but don't want to do anything
- They see it coming, want to do something but they don't know what to do
- They see it coming, want to do something, know what to do, but can't get the organisation to support and execute.
Now is the right time to capitalise on the growing multi-channel communication trend to engage audiences on a whole new level. But it's important that marketers keep the following tips in mind when developing their next one-to-one cross-media
- Hold a pre-game meeting
A cross-media campaign is usually not created and delivered by one person - it involves different people with different skills sets at different times. So it's important to get them around the same table before diving in. Be sure everyone involved has a clear understanding of each piece's goal to avoid inconsistency and badly designed elements.
For example, if the graphic designer develops a direct-mail piece without carefully considering the differences that each variable element will make, the piece could become less effective for some of its recipients.
Before starting work on a campaign, outline the objectives, define the right tools and media to achieve them, and then stick to them. Partnering with a company that specialises in cross media marketing is essential. Agencies have the creative capabilities but need the right software to implement and launch the campaign.
- Good data is essential
Although design, messaging and execution are of the utmost importance, so too is the data. A marketer may not need vast quantities of intelligence about a recipient to run a campaign; however, they do need good, clean, accurate data. It's essential to refine, cleanse, de-duplicate and sort data before implementing a live campaign.
Also, don't use a particular field in the database if there's an unknown element to it. All data needs to be trustworthy and free of errors.
The more segmented and detailed the database, the more targeted your message is to your consumers.
- Simple is better
To best incorporate personalised websites into a campaign, make sure the website is relevant, fluid and not overly complex or long.
If the website is simply there to reinforce a message from a previous communication, then make sure that the recipient sees that message first.
If the website is there to collect information, then ensure it does so in bite-sized chunks and that the recipients know what is expected of them.
And remember, simple is always better - making a personalised website overly complex will result in recipients simply falling off when they try to interact with the campaign online.
- Track and measure
Today's marketers are being asked to do more with less - including justifying their spend with quantitative ROI data. To facilitate this, a good one-to-one cross-media marketing campaign should be easily trackable so that marketers can report on key performance indicators at the push of a button.
Be sure to enable tracking for every important campaign variable, attribute or action. Tracking and measuring across all channels (MMS/SMS, email, direct mail, PURL) on one platform saves time when you need to cross check the reports from different service providers.
So the question really is:
"Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, and some people wonder what happened. Which one are you?"