As 2015 draws to a close, our focus turns to the year to come. With the overwhelming number of opinions on marketing trends out there, it’s often hard to know which to pay attention to and which to ignore. To help you tune out the noise and zero in on the most useful information, I’ve created this short list of the top three direct marketing trends to guide you when developing direct marketing strategies that create attention and traction in 2016.
- Personalization: It’s been a buzzword for some time, and many entries on trend lists seem to build on this concept. When you boil it down, personalization is about making your message matter to the individual by answering these questions: “Why should I care? What can you do for me?” This trend may just be evidence that the well-worn mantra “Right offer, Right audience, Right time” is still the cornerstone of building a successful direct-marketing campaign.
Right Offer: You’ll need to ask yourself if you have a compelling offer that will truly spark interest and action. Have you framed it in a way that clearly communicates the benefit to the target customer? Have you overcome any objections or hesitations looming in their mind?
Right Audience: Geography, income, demographics, psychographics and more factor into how likely a target audience is to respond – and how likely they are to actually make a purchase. Do you know what your highest responding and highest value segments look like? Are you planning your volumes and messaging accordingly? Your campaign is only as good as the data behind it.
Right Time: Are you sending it to your audience at a time when they are open to making a purchase or considering a change in services? Where are they in the buying cycle? If they receive your communication after they’ve already made a decision or purchase, your campaign could be a wasted effort.
The good news for direct mail marketers is that digital printing is making personalization easier and more affordable than ever, and IWCO Direct is on the leading edge of helping clients get the most out of this technology.
- The Rise of Mobile as Our “First Screen”: Understanding how the increasing dominance of mobile devices changes consumers’ interaction with your mailpiece and, perhaps more importantly, your brand is still a prime concern of direct marketers. We work with our clients to understand the vast potential mobile channels have to enhance your direct marketing efforts before, during and after your audience receives the mailing.
The bottom line is that your target audience is more likely than ever to go straight to a mobile device to search for your product or service after reading your mailpiece. As tracking has improved and on- and offline data is more accurately tied to individuals, we can now reach a specific consumer with relevant offers across mail, digital and social in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Increasing the number of “touchpoints” with the prospective customer improves the potential for response. Including keywords and pURLs in your mail campaign and integrating with SEO and SEM strategies will help ensure your targets get to the information you want them to find quickly and easily.
- Multi-Channel Analysis: With the increasing fragmentation in media, and rise in digital channels, a significant amount of time is spent talking about building multi-channel campaigns. However, a shift is taking place with clients realizing that the larger concern is the nuance and difficulty of reporting and attribution associated with these campaigns. As a direct marketer, it’s important not only to understand the response and conversion rates that tie directly back to your campaign, but also the “halo effect” that is benefitting other channels such as web or mobile (as discussed above).
We work with clients to define and build the type of dashboard reporting necessary to see how each channel performs – not just individually, but as part of the whole. Most direct marketers are realizing that it’s best to embrace this trend, as the inter-connected nature of channel performance can play a major role in budgeting, goal-setting and making sure your departments are working together.
If you have any questions about the opportunities and challenges facing direct marketers in 2016, or would like to discuss how IWCO Direct can help you leverage these direct marketing trends to reach your business goals, please let me know.
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