An experienced data professional who has been working within the direct marketing industry for over 20 years. Having spent 17 years as owner and MD of Data HQ Ltd his remit covers the whole of the management spectrum including; strategy development, organisational structure, company policy & procedure and product development.
Being surrounded by marketers day in day out I now see it almost as a given that to leverage the greatest value from marketing data, an approach that puts several channels in the mix is essential. Even so, I still see and hear discussions that revolve around relying upon a single channel to enact an entire campaign.
In the majority of instances this is not the case. Granted there are a few occasions, for instance if you have an extremely well defined audience and the data to back this up that a single channel can be used. For most campaigns however, combining channels such as post, telephone and email will deliver the greatest returns.
Taking a multichannel approach allows you to appeal to different prospects, at different times, using different media, in ways that a single channel cannot replicate. Utilising multiple channels does not have to be highly complex either – an example campaign could utilise email communications on a monthly basis, supported by direct mail every three months with well-timed outbound phone calls to enact sales conversations.
Naturally the frequency of communications can be adjusted in accordance with budgetary demands, but as long as at least two channels are utilised you are widening the net and giving your strategy the best chances of success.
To further increase the potential for success you should consider the following for each channel:
- Use your existing customer and enquirer data to profile and define the audience and then send relevant communications based on audience interests.
- Create messaging, tone and style that is aligned with your target audience, to appeal to their needs.
- Use clean and accurate data, using data that matches the profiling to ensure that each record is correctly placed within the target audience.
- Always screen your data against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) – this will ensure you are not wasting resources on people that have chosen to opt-out of sales calls.
- Choose personnel that understand the product/service features and target audience, and set targets that encourage effective communication, rather than volume of calls.
- Where possible avoid mobile numbers – from experience these have returned lesser results as people can either ignore calls, or find taking calls on the move more inconvenient.
- Ensure your subject lines are compelling – unlike an envelope you only have a brief line of text to spark interest in your communication.
- Create a strong call to action and make it as easy as possible for recipients to contact you or visit your website.
- Only use consumer data that contain opt-ins, Data Protection rules are clear that consumers must have actively shown acceptance to receive marketing communications, although business data rules are slightly different.
Be relevant and give it time
The considerations above show that it is important to appreciate the nuances of each channel even when using a multichannel approach. Ultimately, heeding the points above will help improve the return on investment for the campaign, by minimising wastage on data/records that have a lesser chance of response and by maximising the relevancy of communications.
By utilising multiple channels it is possible to strike the right note with people’s preferences, as even within a well-defined audience, people will still prefer certain methods of communication over others on a personal level. It is also essential to mix your communications with other forms of advertising, whether that is the internet, publications or newspaper, as integration on this scale will help to yield even greater results.
Remember, the golden rule of direct marketing is test, test and test again.
And finally, sometimes the sales process can be a slow burn, if you expect a one hit wonder from a single channel campaign you may be disappointed, slow burning campaigns can often be the most successful, given time.
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