In sports, we give credit for assists. In life, we know it takes a village. So, as marketers, why have we been waging channel wars – arming digital at the expense of proven media? We’ve picked channel favourites and grown accustomed to giving credit only to the final piece of advertising that’s closest to the sale. Have we lost our balance? With more channels to consider, and infinite opportunities to connect, how do you stand out, win a greater share of the market and build a loyal following?
An integrated marketing report designed to improve your media mix
“Amping up the media mix” is a comprehensive report for marketers that combines expert opinion, the latest research and examples of integrated marketing in action. Use it to guide your way through the new landscape of integrated media that’s centred on customer journeys.
Hone your marketing channel mix
When you create campaigns that blend media, sequence channel communications and hit every touchpoint, you change the way you tell your stories, attract attention and extend your reach. Innovative technologies, novel data solutions and offline retargeting enable powerful new channel combinations that weren’t available before. In a competitive marketplace, every win counts. No one wants to be the marketer who misses out on media that could help their brand come back stronger in 2021.
The core media strengths direct mail is known for haven’t changed: physicality, data and connectivity.
Learn how direct mail has changed for the better
Are you up to speed on all the different opportunities to deploy direct mail media? The rules of the game have changed. There are many new and unexpected ways to strengthen the mix and renewed opportunities to benefit from the synergy that happens when media channels work together. The core media strengths direct mail is known for haven’t changed: physicality, data and connectivity. What’s changed are the new skills it’s acquired and the ways it works in partnership with other channels. Direct mail amplifies other media and reaches consumers at home, where they make their purchasing decisions. It has the potential to make the mix stronger.
What we’ve found is that of all the channels used, marketing mail is the strongest as a rising tide that raises all other channels. For us, it’s not about physical versus digital, but rather the combination of the two driving the best overall performance.
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Amplify your digital marketing with direct mail media in the mix.
Integrate online and offline marketing campaigns to drive results
Successful media channel combinations that drive growth depend on multiple factors such as industry, audience, budget and channel sequencing, as well as immediate and long-term goals. A Scandinavian neuromarketing survey concludes that, together, print and digital channels have greater efficacy than they do separately. The study also reveals that many participants who, before the test, said they preferred digital advertising actually reacted better to print. What we perceive isn’t necessarily where the truth lies.
[ Watch this customer journey in action to see how you can use different channels, in unison, to encourage conversions while building connections ]
Connect more marketing channels for greater impact
It’s important to connect all your channels, but what’s the best mix and how many should be included? Do results plateau once a certain threshold is reached? The Effie Awards honour the most effective marketing campaigns worldwide. Marketing expert Mark Ritson has analyzed the first 50 years of Effie winners to determine the 10 key factors driving advertising effectiveness. One of those key drivers is the number of channels deployed. His research suggests the more channels, the more effective the campaign. Optimizing mix maximizes impact.
We forgot one of the key lessons of media, which is 1 + 1 = 3... we’ve lost the secret formula of synergy. Spread your money. You’ll almost certainly see a better result.
Test and learn from your marketing efforts
The best way to find out what channel combinations work is to test, learn, repeat and scale up quickly when you achieve success. Both Wayfair Canada and Golf Town know this from experience. Wayfair tested programmatic mail and their mailing resulted in double the response rate vs. their digital-only efforts (online and email re-targeting). Golf Town launched a triggered marketing campaign to turn online browsers into in-store shoppers, with resulting sales revenue of $158,000.
It’s now possible to create and deliver personalized direct mail within hours of online activity, allowing marketers to capitalize on real-time customer signals.
Retarget customers with direct mail
Programmatic mail enables brands to stand out by matching CRM data with pre-set business rules to engage customers in a physical, personal and proven way. It’s now possible to create and deliver personalized direct mail within hours of online activity, allowing marketers to capitalize on real-time customer signals. Retargeting can happen based on both online and offline behaviours. A customer visiting a store to buy a pair of jeans could be targeted with a mail piece promoting accessories. An online request for an insurance estimate could lead to a package of information in the mail and the name of a specialist who can help. A phone call to a call centre could trigger a special offer in the mail to drive conversion. The opportunities are limitless.
Combine print mail with other marketing channels to improve engagement
There’s evidence that combining web, email and mobile with print can lead to a 45 per cent increase in response rates compared to a digital-only media mix. Eighty-six per cent of marketers also say that combining online channels with offline marketing as part of an integrated and synchronized campaign is critical to long-term success.1
Mail works well with other channels to offer a richer and more engaging experience that drives better results:
- Combine direct mail and mobile. Geo-location data combined with geo-fencing can map the customer journey to increase response rates.
- Combine direct mail and social media. Social data can help create personalized catalogues, while direct mail can lead to a shoppable social feed. For example, RBC partnered with lifestyle brand OVO to create an exclusive direct mail piece that integrated with social sharing and hashtag tracking. Social media further amplified the direct mail piece, enabling online re-targeting.
- Combine direct mail and out of home (OOH). You can target more precisely by connecting programmatic out of home and direct mail media. Geo-location data matches audiences on the move with OOH billboard locations to ensure companies are actually reaching the right audiences across all the right channels.
- Combine direct mail and email. Research suggests integrated campaigns that include direct mail garner more consumer attention, emotional engagement and brand recall than single-media digital campaigns. Brand recall peaks when direct mail follows email, outperforming the average for other single and integrated media campaigns by 40 per cent.2
How Altitude Sports amped up their customer retention with direct mail
Montreal-based Altitude Sports is a leading online retailer of high-end technical apparel, outerwear, footwear and gear. Growing fast since 2011 – when it became an e-commerce pure play using online marketing only – its customer retention strategy evolved in an increasingly competitive retail market. In 2017, the company began experimenting with mini catalogues to maximize retention. While the company uses e-mail to reach frequent buyers, it turns to catalogues to attract people who buy less often. In the run-up to Cyberweek 2018, Altitude sent out 160,000 catalogues and enjoyed a 4.2 per cent reactivation rate.
If you’re only putting your money into one channel, you’re missing an opportunity. When looking at customer retention, people who know you and your brand react really well when you send them something special through the mail.
Amp up your marketing mix
If you want to get the most out of your marketing, you need direct mail in your marketing mix. It has the power to work together with other channels to amplify effectiveness and increase performance. Take advantage of the significant boost that mail can bring to the mix and pay close attention to positioning and sequencing direct mail media throughout the customer journey. It helps turn prospects into customers who then become frequent buyers.
1 “Mix digital and physical marketing to build an integrated plan”, The Globe and Mail, September 2020.
2 Canada Post. Connecting for Action, September 2016.