By Mike Wesner
I'm not the disciplined journal keeper that most self help programs suggest you should be. Although, I realized the value of reflection as I created a list of the 50 Cross-Channel Marketing campaigns that I have led since I started using the technology. The first dates back to 2003, when an accounting and advisory firm wanted to use 1-to-1 personalized direct mail to help find and gather information on their state's fastest growing companies. This was the beginning of an exciting journey of marketing integration that changed the landscape of direct response marketing for me.
this is only the beginning of what can be accomplished with these techniques.
Before going further, let me explain that I've landed on the term cross-channel marketing to describe this solution. This marketing solution integrates relevant variable data-printed direct mail pieces with a personalized micro-website that is created specifically for the mail or e-mail recipient. At this web landing page, the personalization and marketing relevance continues. But this is only the beginning of what can be accomplished with these techniques.
The list of 50 campaigns illustrated how these cross channel marketing tools have changed over the last five years. Many of these campaigns evolved into "growth campaigns" as the projects cultivate business through lead generation and marketing automation. Instead of just printing and mailing for clients, we provide key tools that can allow companies to grow. As I reviewed the projects I saw the transformation as many of the clients I partnered with began to realize the results and revenue created in their organizations.
Below are some observations of the review of this project list. I am most proud that over time we have adapted these tools to realize the long term promise of digital printing --to solve our customer's communications challenges.
1. Cross Channel Marketing makes mail more effective.
When we first started using this technology, we all thought it was a cool. It extended the excitement generated with variable data publishing and it offered another drop-in field for additional variable printed text. After the initial success of creating mail pieces that asked recipients to log on to their own personalized URL landing page, I understood the implications of this technology even better. It was cool and it made direct mail more effective!
2. Marketing Intelligence through capturing clicking paths.
Early on in my experience a financial services client was thrilled at the backend data collected from mail recipients who logged on to their own personal cross-channel marketing web site. Detailed accounts of which client was clicking, and what they were clicking on were displayed within these websites. It was a form of reliable data mining for an organization typically weak at collecting good analytical data on their customer.
All at once I could tell my client that 475 of the 15,000 people who received postcards wanted someone to call them immediately and another 300 people were interested enough to look around. These 300 people are classified as warm, or soft leads, and must be communicated with in a different but relevant way.
I've learned --and stress to clients-- that the first goal of a successful mail piece is to make it to the review later stack and not the garbage. With cross channel marketing we can track this information. We know when it makes the review later stack. And we know the subset of warm, or soft leads, needs a different approach.
A relevant communication placed in a timely manner can reach prospects with the right message at the right time
3. Marketing Automation Brings Speed and Efficiency to the Sales force
There is another transition on my project list in regards to the usefulness of mined data. Clients can see "behind the curtain" at any time. Mail recipients enter their contact data and clients can download these files and integrate this data with their internal CRM or less formal contact management systems. Soon, the relevant sales rep in Illinois gets a lead report generated by a prospect in Peoria. A relevant communication placed in a timely manner can reach prospects with the right message at the right time and all this can also save thousands of dollars in marketing costs.
4. Sales and Marketing Accountability
And finally --this is what the CFOs and company presidents love-- there is accountability. Campaign performance is measurable. Plus, there is a good gauge on the quality and quantity of leads produced for the sales force by marketing. The ability to track response rates, measure return on investment, and download data allows organizations to effectively match their sales efforts with prospects interested in more communication.
Marketing leaders need their efforts to be effective with on-going response measurement and ROI accountability. One of our clients has already made the commitment to only use direct mail as an integrated part of cross channel marketing. They are in the midst of three campaigns and consider our company, Hutchison Allgood, an important partner in their marketing efforts.
The evolution of cross channel marketing applications is very exciting. We know this can help our clients solve marketing automation challenges and grow their business. It's also encouraging to have a seat reserved for us at the table where key marketing strategies and budgets are determined by our clients. It adds to our understanding of the client and their goals. Maybe I will keep a journal of the next 50 cross-channel campaigns I'm involved in. I have a good hunch that as the technology and innovation of digital solutions continues to redefine marketing it's going to be exciting.