Every year, Target Marketing conducts its Media Usage Survey. In this survey, the magazine asks how readers are allocating their budgets, which channels are increasing and decreasing, and which channels its readers prefer for a variety of marketing activities.
While digital, social, and mobile media continue their astronomic growth trajectory, this year’s survey finds that direct mail is holding its own, and strongly. In particular, direct mail is growing for customer acquisition and retention.
- In 2015, 54% of Target Marketing respondents were using direct mail for their customer acquisition efforts. In 2016, this rose to 58%.
- In 2015, 51% of Target Marketing respondents were using direct mail for their customer retention efforts. That has risen to 55% today.
Why is direct mail growing for acquisition and retention, even in the face of consumers’ love affair with digital and mobile media?
- Email addresses go out of date very quickly, and mobile phone numbers are not always easy to get. Once you have a physical address, however, you can maintain contact with that customer for a long time. Even if people move and don’t provide a new address, you can get address updates from the U.S. Post Office through the National Change of Address (NCOA) service.
- Even when someone has opted out of phone, email, and mobile contact, you can still reach them by postal mail. Direct mail is powerful and proven effective for re-engaging customers who have dropped off your email list.
- In a world of electronic media, the physical mailbox is a powerful open door. When a well-designed mail piece shows up in a customer’s or prospect’s mailbox, it doesn’t get lost the way emails in the saturated and highly filtered inbox do. It gets noticed right away—and nearly always read.
Want help using direct mail to break through the clutter and get attention? Give us a call!
Want to create direct mail that motivates to action? Take some tips from the advertising industry. These tips are based on human psychology that smart advertisers know.
- Don’t miss out! People like to be part of something new. If something exciting is going on, they don’t want to be left behind. “Join the millions of Americans who have discovered…”
- Offer exclusivity. Consumers want their lives to be glamorous. They want to feel that they deserve something special. “Not everyone gets this deal, so apply today!” Exclusivity and insider status appeal to readers’ sense of pride and entitlement and can be powerful motivators.
- Create value by association. Advertisers will often associate a product or service with something universally accepted as noble or being of great value. Jeep recently tapped this approach with its Super Bowl ads tying Jeep to the gritty images of the faces of America’s soldiers.
- Appeal to charity or environmental causes. “Help us take care of America’s lost and abandoned pets. With every purchase, we will donate . . .” Who could say “no” to one of these sad-faced, abandoned creatures? No one, of course.
- Give proof positive. Every marketer makes claims about their products, but when you back them up with statistics, those claims carry more punch. A mattress company might appeal to data from studies on sleep, for example (“Did you know that people who sleep soundly are 10% more productive at work?”) or a men’s suit company might talk about the percentage of executives who form opinions of job candidates within the first two seconds.
Consumers are motivated by a wide variety of factors, and many of them are subconscious. Tap into different motivators in your messaging and see which ones are most effective with your target audience.
Think you don’t own enough data to do personalized marketing? That might not be the case. Often marketers do own enough data, but that data is not centralized or is incomplete or inaccurate. If you fall into the latter category, the answer isn’t ditching your dreams of personalization. It’s fixing the problems in your data.
The first step is to figure out exactly where you are and what you need to do. This often involves contacting a data specialist who can analyze your data. While this sounds daunting, it’s really no different than taking your car to a repair shop. The mechanic hooks up the car to a machine that spits out a report telling you where the problems are. Data specialists do much the same thing.
One data specialist gives the example of a data profile it created for a Canadian retailer. The retailer had plenty of data and wanted to use it for 1:1 print marketing, so the data specialist ran a data audit. One of the most glaring challenges that immediately came to light was that the retailer had addresses for only 50% of its customers. It did, however, have phone numbers. The data specialist contacted a list house that maps phone numbers to names and addresses provided the retailer with the missing information.
In another example, the data specialist found that each one of the retailer’s stores was gathering customer data in isolation. Each retail customer might have two, three, even five different customer IDs, one for each store in which they shopped. Once again, telephone numbers came to the rescue. The data specialist used each shopper’s telephone number as a common point of contact to consolidate each shopper’s data from each store into a single marketing database.
Seemingly overwhelming problems often have simple solutions. A basic diagnostic test is often half the battle. So if you think your data needs a check-up, don’t panic. Let us coordinate the project so that you get just the solution you need.
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