Sunday, January 11, 2015

After Millions of Emails & Direct Mail…What Have We Learned in 2014?

We sent out a lot of direct mail and email for our clients last year. In fact, more than ever before…and that, I think, is a good thing. What makes it good? For one thing we've been at the forefront of our clients expansion into integrated marketing; by using and measuring results from cross-media (print, email, web) campaigns. Our clients have had better results. After millions and millions of emails and direct mail, hundreds of campaigns, what sets one campaign apart from another? Is there a golden goose? We are often asked what the best time of day or day of week is for email, etc.

Like most things in life there is no simple answer, but there are definite lessons to be learned.

  1. Multi-channel marketing works better than just one method only. No doubt about it, send out direct mail and emails and responses are better than just doing one alone.
  2. Integrated campaigns work even better. Think of it as a 1 - 2 combo vs. throwing some peas at the wall a couple of times. People get their information from more than one source, and motivating someone to action may require some strategic prodding.
  3. Make it personal. Add personalization to any of the mix and the results can improve dramatically. Personalization does not mean using my name, it means knowing something about me. Perhaps what I do, or where I live, or a myriad of other data.

In a recent campaign we saw open rates go from 19% to 57% with personalization. We used the client's data to speak to recipient's professional specialties; not a one size fits all, or simply using a person's name. Extraordinary results, but it demonstrates the power of knowing your audience.

So what's the key lesson?
I think the real lesson is that data is the key. Know thy customer. The more we can learn about our prospects and customers, the more we can speak to them. People want connection, even if it comes via digital means…Facebook, LinkedIn, etc are all evidence of that. The same is true in marketing. Wikipedia defines personalization as follows:
Personalization involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals.
 Each person is different, or at least wants to be treated that way.

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