The Big Apple is home to many things. Most recently for me, it was the site to learn about the latest trends and success strategies in integrated marketing. This year’s Integrated Marketing Week (IMW) had great energy and provided some much appreciated time with IWCO Direct friends and clients, including a fun opportunity to mix and mingle at Ainsworth Park. This event was well attended from day one with a number of high-level, influential marketers looking to learn and network with each other in an industry that’s changing fast.
The ‘Customer Journey’
I attended more than a dozen sessions ranging from the uses of Big Data and content development to multi-channel integration. Providing the right message through the right medium at the right times throughout the “customer journey” was a constant theme across all sessions and discussions. Data is now driving content and context more than ever before. In other words, direct marketers need to provide multiple, relevant touch points throughout the customer journey. It’s important to remember that, as marketers, we’re not always trying to sell something. Why? Because customers are often not ready to buy. Sometimes we’re simply engaging potential customers at the most relevant moment with the most relevant context.
There were a number of memorable speakers at IMW, but my favorite session came from Penry Price, VP of Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, and Shane Snow, CEO of Contently. They set a great tone during the opening keynote by saying, “If content is king, then context is queen … and she wears the pants!”
A statistic I heard at the show was that up to 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the previous two years. Data is taking the front seat, driven by the Chief Marketing Officer, and it will continue to drive content and context. If 90 percent of the world’s data was created during the previous two years, the entire direct marketing industry is in the midst of a busy and exciting time.
Enriched data will drive more engagement throughout the customer journey while forming deeper, branded relationships. Every touch point will have a deeper message, context or reason. For example, one dot com company at the show saw more than five times the response by utilizing direct mail to engage someone who had initially responded via email.
We often call relevance the art of direct mail. It speaks to the recipient’s needs, at the right time, and delivers a compelling solution to his or her problem. Now more than ever, it’s important to provide this context multiple times for each potential customer on his or her journey to buy something. Data will continue to drive relevance, but it’s up to direct marketers to make data work for them.
For more information on upcoming Direct Marketing Association (DMA) events, visit thedma.org/events.
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