There’s no question that how people consume media and interact with brands is evolving. With so much fragmentation, noise and distraction, no one is waiting to watch an ad – often the ad is the cost of plugging in to our favourite media and entertainment.
With so many channels, and the pressure to justify selection and performance, it can feel daunting to choose media, let alone think about how to orchestrate it and sequence it to connect. Marketers are beginning to look to quality over quantity and intimacy over mass. This necessitates a greater focus on how channels work together to connect their brand with their audience.
Technology has now made it possible to connect media in new ways to increase the impact of all channels – we just need to plug them in.
Today, it’s about how channels work together as an ecosystem. Technology has now made it possible to connect media in new ways to increase the impact of all channels – we just need to plug them in. With growing focus, context has become a critical part of a plugged-in media ecosystem.
Discover how Kinetics Canada connects programmatic OOH and direct mail media for enhanced targeting (p. 41).Download INCITE
Contextual marketing in action
Context has never been more important to integrating media and message around the consumer than it is now. It is important because it impacts the relevance of a message and an audience’s receptivity. According to an article in Harvard Business Review titled “Marketers Need to Stop Focusing on Loyalty and Start Thinking About Relevance,” people are increasingly buying because of a brand’s relevance to their needs in the moment, not because of their loyalty to that brand. Customer attraction, personalization and a focus on customer experience are the new principles of growth for a brand. Context impacts how we process meaning and value as well as brand perception, recall and activation.
The context of the home is becoming an increasingly stable and important place to reach and influence people.
Contextual marketing has been the domain of digital for a number of years. As digital gets absorbed into the back end of all media and data integrates channels through technology, we have more opportunity to address context in both the digital and the physical realms. In the physical world, our digital world goes with us whether we are out of home or in home. This provides many opportunities to connect the two to deliver better customer experience, increase personalization and improve contextual relevance.
The context of the home is becoming an increasingly stable and important place to reach and influence people. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made this more pronounced. Direct mail has always been data driven, but now it can be plugged in to digital in a variety of ways. It has come online to provide an even greater range of utility within the customer journey that brings our online, out-of-home and in-home contexts closer together.
How to use direct mail to amplify your marketing mix
There are many ways to amp up your marketing with direct mail – the in-home media channel – to address marketing effectiveness challenges that have become even more important in a recovery marketplace. Direct mail can be plugged into the customer journey and other channels and should be plugged into the principles that contribute meaningfully to amplifying consumer value and relevance.
Use direct mail to amplify connection
Direct-to-consumer connection is changing brand relationships. Marketers must earn attention and affection through connection – at every touchpoint, on every channel. During the earlier months of the pandemic, many brands learned this lesson and began rediscovering the value of connecting versus selling. Direct mail can go beyond the call to action and create meaningful connections. IKEA launched six instruction manuals for building blanket forts using household items. Understanding what every parent needs to keep kids entertained in lockdown, the furniture retailer combined customer experience design with context and names like CÄSTLE and CÅVE, for an on-brand win.
Use direct mail to amplify your brand
Effective marketing means being able to build brand and convert at the same time. With direct mail, marketers don’t have to choose. According to the U.K. Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s 2017 Media in Focus report, compared to other direct and mass channels, direct mail is equally good at creating brand-building and activation impact. Integrating direct mail with social media content and digital platforms will enhance customer engagement among brand users, which in turn can influence new users. Through targeting and personalization, direct mail improves relevance while physical creativity increases memorability.
Direct mail is the perfect “tryvertising” channel that complements digital and social interaction, with many formats to help people experience your brand first-hand.
Use direct mail to amplify attention and discoverability
Digital spaces contain skippable advertising, ad blocking and algorithms favouring existing preferences. With a much higher dwell time, less noise, and targeting capabilities, direct mail can increase attention and enhance at-home discoverability. Use search, site traffic and social data along with postal codes to enhance targeting relevance to get the right people’s attention. In a noisy and fragmented channel landscape, it can be difficult to get the attention of the people you want to try your brand, product or service. Direct mail is the perfect “tryvertising” channel that complements digital and social interaction, with many formats to help people experience your brand first-hand.
Use direct mail to amplify reach
While targeting is critical to marketing performance, so is reach. According to the Canada Post Canadian Marketer’s Survey, conducted in fall 2019, direct mail is the highest-ranked channel for targeted reach.1 But what marketers might not realize is that direct mail can also improve total effective reach while compensating for high frequency in other channels. JICMAIL, a U.K. industry committee that provides mail metrics to advertisers, has reported that direct mail reach and impressions have been significantly under-reported, especially considering that the channel often contributes unduplicated reach and frequency to multi-channel campaigns made up of TV, digital and print.
Direct mail goes hand-in-hand with personalization, with precise data-targeting capabilities and the ability to customize pieces for both B2C and B2B audiences.
Use direct mail to enhance personalization
One of the biggest gaps in relevance right now is the lack of personalization. An HBR.org study reported that personalized recommendations and offers deliver the most significant ROI for their efforts, followed by in-person experience. These findings support the vital role of physical experience in personalization. Direct mail goes hand-in-hand with personalization, with precise data-targeting capabilities and the ability to customize pieces for both B2C and B2B audiences. Google reached the most unreachable top executives and told them about the power of Google Cloud for business. Sending hyper-personalized biographies of each recipient proved that investing in audience expectations is crucial to effective marketing.
Use direct mail to enhance the customer experience
Direct mail sits at the intersection of marketing, customer experience and shopping, giving it a unique and customizable role throughout the customer journey. It matches key CX (return-on-experience) metrics by being memorable and emotionally engaging and promoting time spent. Consider using direct mail to turn your brand, product or service into an at-home experience; extend social content into a physical channel; fill in gaps in customer service; or increase your brand’s “shopability.” If your brand stages events and practices experiential marketing, direct mail is especially relevant now. Use it to enhance or supplement your events by integrating physical interaction with digital.
Storytelling through direct mail allows brands and customers to go deeper than digital.
Use direct mail to bring your brand to life
Your brand’s storytelling and personality are important to standing out, getting people’s attention and reinforcing with people that you are for them. In the template-heavy digital and trend-laden social media landscape, it can be challenging to bring your brand personality to life, often promoting “blanding” over branding. Storytelling through direct mail allows brands and customers to go deeper than digital. Direct mail is a creative blank slate – fully customizable to bring your brand to life in an intimate way that can really drive emotional appeal home.
This is an abridged version of the article, Media Connects, Just Plug it in, which appears in INCITE’s latest issue, AMP IT UP!
1 Canada Post. The Smartmail Marketing Canadian Marketer Survey, 2019.
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