Many marketing organizations that have embraced digital marketing are interested in adding direct mail campaigns into their multi-channel marketing mix.
Where does direct mail fit into an effective multi channel marketing strategy? Marketers without a deep background in direct marketing ask us this every day.
Multi-channel Marketing Definition
Wikipedia states that “Multichannel marketing is the blending of different distribution and promotional channels for the purpose of marketing.”
Put more plainly, it is the use of multiple channels, including online and offline, to communicate with prospects and customers at various stages of the customer journey.
Think all of the channels by which consumers and business buyers consume information from – from the thousands of TV channels to the millions of websites and billions of emails sent. Marketers that rely on one channel are missing out on segments of their audience that could be sold or influenced in another channel.
However, many organizations struggle to find a the right fit for direct mail as a new channel within existing strategies until they have some experience.
What are the Benefits of Multi-Channel Marketing?
With a cohesive strategy, a multi-channel approach can drive growth and improve customer loyalty within your business. Some of the key benefits that multi-channel marketing brings to the table include:
- Increased awareness. When you engage with customers through multiple channels they simply see more of you. You cast a wider net that helps to facilitate engagement with those customers. With a multi-channel approach that meets them where they already are, you give yourself the ability to remain top-of-mind with interested parties who aren’t yet ready to buy.
- Meet them in their preferred channels. A multi-channel approach allows you to meet your customers on the channel that they prefer, both on an individual basis and as a whole. This is especially helpful for companies that have a longer buying cycle, where multiple touch points will be required to convince a customer to make the purchase.Over time, you’ll learn more about the preferences of your audience and be able to tailor your multi-channel campaigns to them.
- Keep your messaging consistent. A multi-channel marketing strategy allows you to present a consistent message across touchpoints which is always a struggle for less-organized companies.. By delivering the right message at the right time and continuing to deliver that message over time, you ensure that your message hits home.
- More data. More channels means more touch points and more data to use to inform all of your marketing strategies. You’ll learn more about the channels themselves, but also collect more information about your customers. Without testing a range of channels, how do you know which channel is the best for engaging with your customers?
The State of Multi-Channel Marketing
Here are a few stats that show just how important modern multi-channel marketing is in the eyes of marketers:
- 73% of marketers say that they have a multi-channel marketing strategy in place.
- 86% of senior-level marketers say that it is important to create a cohesive journey for customers across all touchpoints and channels.
- 52% of marketers use 3 to 4 marketing channels, compared to 44% in 2015.
Despite this, only 14% of organizations are currently running coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels and only 30% of marketers are highly confident in their ability to deliver a multichannel strategy, with 67% characterizing themselves as “somewhat confident.” That means that there is a lot of room for growth.
Why aren’t more organizations executing on the multi-channel vision? Why the lack of confidence?
Because these marketers know that multi-channel isn’t easy. Especially when offline channels are delivered via manual, disconnected workflows.
Offline Multi-channel Marketing Challenges
Online channels are relatively easy to coordinate via modern marketing automation hubs. Offline channels tend to be the more difficult to use successfully in conjunction with online channels for a few reasons:
- Channel Coordination. While online channels are able to be choreographed via automated workflow engines, offline channels traditionally aren’t connected to marketing automation tools, thus requiring manual, offline effort to coordinate creative & delivery.
- Personalization. All marketers know that personalization & segmentation works. Yet, because offline channels use external data sources, it is hard to coordinate personalization using data from a CRM across all channels.
- Attribution. Because offline channels are difficult to track, creating attribution models to understand what is working & what isn’t becomes difficult.
3 Successful Multi-channel Marketing Tips
The best multi-channel marketers proactively test and deploy personalized creative in the channels that their target customers like, and use those channels in concert with each other to create a consistent, thoughtful messaging strategy.
Here’s a few tips on how pro’s do it.
Build A Multi-channel Messaging Strategy
Your messages need to make sense. Collectively.
Imagine sending your audience an email that emphasizes something completely different than the landing page you direct them to. We see it all the time – “message match” is a huge issue in multi-channel campaigns.
Create a simple message for your promotion. Repeat it, repeat it again and repeat it again. Be creative in how you do it, but don’t deviate.
Use a Marketing Automation platform, CRM or CDP
When there’s a centralized source of data and orchestration of a multi-channel marketing effort, the number of variables that can go wrong are infinitely reduced.
Marketing Automation and CRM tools such as HubSpot and Salesforce are now mainstream, powerful repositories of lead and customer information. Most of them contain sophisticated workflow tools that enable marketers to setup rules based, automated campaigns that reach across channels.
CDP’s are cloud based databases that pull in data from a variety of systems to create a “360 degree” view of a customer, with profile data gathered from a variety of different sources (ERP/Accounting, Point of Sale, CRM, 3rd party data, etc).They create and manage rules based segmentation and audience models.
What do these tools have in common? They’re a single data set for multi-channel campaigns to work from. You just need your channel execution tools (email, digital, direct mail, etc) to plug into them.
Offline Channels Need To Work With Digital – No Excuses
Traditionally, offline channels could never work seamlessly with online channels. Their production methods were developed outside of digital environments, and they used different data to drive their targeting and personalization.
Those days are gone.
Now, offline channels can work right alongside digital channels.
With digital production processes and API software interfaces between systems, offline channels like direct mail can “plug in” to just about any modern CRM, Marketing Automation Tool or CDP.
So, when an automated workflow arrives at the step required to send a physical, offline message, it can work exactly the same way as an online channel.
It’s almost impossible for busy marketers to coordinate offline channels the old fashioned way, with emails, phone calls & meetings.
Why is Automated Direct Mail Such a Good Fit?
Direct mail automation is the perfect addition to any multi-channel marketing strategy for a number of reasons.
First, direct mail is a channel that is appropriate for delivering your marketing messages throughout your sales funnel. Depending on your strategy, direct mail can make both a suitable first touch point or a bottom-of-the-funnel call to action to close the sale.
Second, automated direct mail works perfectly with the CRM, Marketing Automation or CDP tools that act as the traffic cops of multi-channel marketing.
Third, direct mail also acts as a pattern interrupt, particularly when customers have only interacted with a brand digitally.
To have engaged with a brand through social media and email and then to receive something from them in the mail can be a bit of a surprise. It forces customers to take a second look and helps your company to stick in their mind. When customers receive a mail piece that ties into their experience with your company through multiple channels, your branding is more effective. You’ll also see an increase in engagement.
If you haven’t added automated direct mail marketing to your multi-channel marketing strategy, you should as soon as possible. The channel makes for an excellent addition to almost any multi-channel marketing strategy at any point in the funnel.
Where Should Direct Mail Fit?
So where does direct mail fit into a multi-channel marketing strategy? The truth is that it can fit seamlessly into almost any point in your funnel and fill a number of different roles for your business.
Direct mail is traditionally used to in top of the funnel, lead and sales generation campaigns. In fact, one of the most common goals of direct mail campaigns is awareness building and lead generation. Using Postalytics pURL system you can direct customers to a personalized URL address and collect more information from them so that you can engage with them through other channels.
Even customers that don’t engage with your mailer are more likely to have awareness of your business and product after receiving your mailpiece, making your messaging through other channels more effective.
If you first engage with a customer through other channels (especially digital channels), direct mail can make for an excellent pattern-interrupt. For example — when a customer is used to engaging with you through social media, receiving a postcard in the mail from you might surprise them. They’ll start to feel like your company has gone to a lot of trouble to grab their attention (and you have) and you increase the likelihood of them engaging with you through any platform. Direct mail is an excellent medium for delivering print-based nurturing and educational pieces like white papers and product sheets.
As customers make their way through your funnel and inch their way closer toward buying your product, receiving bottom-of-the-funnel messaging through direct mail can be a great way to grab their attention and make sure that they take time to look at the materials.
Many B2B companies will deliver case studies, testimonials, and calls to action through direct mail. For the same reasons why a pattern interrupt makes it such an effective channel in the middle-of-the-funnel, it can also serve you well with customers that are farther along in their journey toward buying.
Depending on your strategy, you can use direct mail marketing to delivering highly personalized messaging to customers at any point in the customer’s journey.
A Perfect Fit
Direct mail makes a perfect complement to multi-channel marketing strategies and can fit snuggly at any point in the sales funnel. Here at Postalytics, our system helps companies to send highly personalized direct mail campaigns to their customers, track their engagement, and share data with other platforms using our more than 20 different integrations.
Want to add direct mail marketing to your multi-channel strategy? Watch a quick video demo!