Use smart creative — This is overlooked far too often in direct marketing. Good creative that matches your audience and your segmentation makes a huge difference.
Select the right channel — This is where old-school thinking meets the reality of the revenue-generating direct marketing programs of today. Understanding your audience and how to reach them with the right message via the right channel is critical. It will take some research and time to determine the right channel mix. Reliance on one channel is very limiting.
Timely offers — Customer outreach and offers that you send out need to be timely. Do your best to match up what you are offering with when your customers will find the offer relevant.
Test and learn — Adopt a test-and-learn approach for every direct marketing channel available to you. This will validate costs and results along the way. It will also provide critical insight on how and when to communicate with your prospects and customers. In some cases you may find that different segments of your prospects and customers respond better via different channels. Key components of what you can test include:
- List Messaging — active, lapsed and net new customers.
- House list versus rented list, addressed versus unaddressed.
- Channels — Direct mail, e-mail, social, mobile
- Offer — Test incentives, time frames or methods of response.
- Creative — Test formats, imagery or copy.
- Campaign measurement — Track response rates by target. Measure channel effectiveness. Measure effectiveness of follow-up communications.
At its core, direct marketing is a discipline. It’s about getting the right message in front of the right person at the right time to drive revenue and customer loyalty. Successful direct marketing is rooted in managing the fundamentals and a methodical, patient approach to customer acquisition, retention and win back. Organizations that are disciplined in this way are gaining significant ground. Don’t be in so much of a rush that you lose site of the basics and don’t be paralyzed by the choices and options you have. Keep testing and learning!
Andrew Gage is Executive Vice President and Partner with Marshall Fenn Communications. He currently sits on the Board of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ontario. Marshall Fenn is a full service marketing communications agency supporting some of Canada’s largest organizations in the gaming, financial services, retail, healthcare, and government sectors. Contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.