Do you have a client who seems to be doing everything right in its direct mail or other marketing campaigns, yet its metrics are not what they should be? The design is terrific, the list is spot on, and they’ve focus-tested multiple offers to see what resonates. They’ve personalized, changed up the call to action, and the numbers don’t budge. The client is frustrated and looking at changing printers. After all, if they are doing everything right and the metrics are off, it must be you, right?

In these situations, a client’s frustration is understandable. It’s also possible that the fault isn’t in the marketing campaign. If the response rate is high but the conversion rate is low, the fault may lie with something between the components of the marketing campaign and the cart. For this, you can look to the website or the call center.

If respondents are being sent to a website, for example, poor design, confusing navigation, or incorrect messaging on the landing or product pages could cause them to lose interest before reaching the cart.

MECLabs, for example, recently gave the example of a website that doubled its click-through and conversion rates simply by changing the wording on one of its product pages. Above the fold was the product information. Below the fold was a link to the pricing, but without specifically identifying it as such. The link simply said, “Learn more.” This wording implies “learn more about the product” when, at this point, the site visitor is likely ready to move to the next stage. The really determined buyer might click through, hoping to find pricing, while the merely interested — without seeing a clear path to purchase — might wander away. When the wording in the link was changed from “learn more” to “view pricing,” the click-through rate more than doubled from 2% to 5% and the conversion rate after click-through jumped from 10% to 20%. If this company had blamed its marketing campaign for lower-than-desired conversion rates, it would have been wrong.

Something similar can happen with phone calls. If one of your calls to action involves picking up the phone, another place to lose potential customers is how those phone calls are handled. Maybe the wait is too long, the CSR team is poorly trained, or there is a problem employee who needs some attention.

To see the power of phone calls, we can look to the report “Why 2021 Must Be the Year of Data-Driven Omnichannel Marketing,” conducted by Forrester for Dialogtech. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing buyers to seek reduced in-person interaction in stores, the call center is becoming an increasingly important factor in the overall sales journey.

YOY Increase in Call Center Volumes (September–November 2020)



Financial Services








Source: Forrester

Handled well, phone calls offer a tremendous opportunity to answer questions, increase confidence, and bring the human element into the equation. Handled poorly, they offer an opportunity to derail purchases very quickly. If conversions are dropping off due to poor training or other call center issues, how would your customers know? Indeed, 83% of respondents to the study agreed that insights from inbound call experiences can reveal costly blind spots in their organizations, yet 70% also found the transition from online to offline (especially the call channel) to be a major blind spot.

The takeaway? Direct mail, email, mobile, and other channels are the most visible aspects of a direct marketing campaign, but they are only a part of the overall funnel. Just as a powerful sports car can get sidelined because a tire got punctured by road debris, so issues with website navigation, messaging, and functionality, and inbound call center training, personalities, and procedures can sideline the most powerful marketing campaign. Is there is debris in the road that is hampering your clients’ campaigns? If there is, would you even know?