Integrated marketing begins with experience

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Ghastin: It goes back to bringing that data into one place where it can be mined and used. As much as we like to say we're tracking the behavior happening on our website, it's very hard to bring in that click-stream data and match it up to a customer and then be able to get any kind of intelligence.

Until you get that figured out, you can't deliver relevance. These are all fundamental database marketing principles, but we let the technology, terminology and buzzwords cloud our view of our business objectives.

Direct Marketing News: How are you using social media?

Greenberg: We have a blog on www.Croscill-Living.com called the Croscill Chronicle. Every time there is a new article written, any time new products are posted, we blast that out to Facebook and to Twitter.  

Direct Marketing News: So when you say anything new, when you blog and tweet, you're talking about content, not products?

Greenberg: Both. That's a  reason people come back. They're buying your product because they have some sort of affinity with the Croscill brand or with our different products. They're looking at our website and coming because they want the expert. They're not going through JCPenney.com or Macys.com or Walmart.com to find exact specifications about our product. We have the information and the designers. We have all of the merchandisers. So they're coming to us for editorial content and also product information.

Tingle: We've tried to “borrow” the blogging community. Valassis is focused on providing the consumer with savings. We don't necessarily want that direct relationship with consumers or think that we can own it directly with Red Plum. We know that there are moms blogging about savings and deals every day. We bring them value from our clients.  

Direct Marketing News: Often these folks are the strongest advocates of the brand, aren't they? 

Tingle: Absolutely, and they're smartest shoppers in any market. You can't do that on a national basis. You have to get very local, because deals are very local and retail is local. So you can't build a national blogging environment when you're talking about a local environment that's specific to Phoenix versus Atlanta. 

Marianacci: We've been talking about all of this  multichannel marketing as a broad-brush stroke  based on channel. But there are major things that we need to focus on intrachannel, as well as geographically. 

Not everyone in San Antonio uses social media the way they do in New York. So, how is your media, how is your message getting out there from a local level and a channel level? You have a very dynamic plan that you need to constantly adapt to, to drive your message. 

Direct Marketing News: Do you track results of integrated efforts? 

Van Hoof: Sometimes it's difficult to attribute. Some of it is brand health metrics. We do our best to measure that. Millions of views and hundreds of comments… They're not your typical ROI metrics.

Measurements are siloed. You can test your television creative, get a sense of your online efforts and click-through rates, but to determine the right integration and balance is still a struggle. As new platforms are evolving, it's a moving target. 

Marianacci: Online is self-contained and you can measure through “cookie-ing” and you have the offline challenge of how to bring these channels together. First you have to have the buy-in from the advertisers themselves to make sure those two components work hand in hand. We've had ads on TV and  done control groups with advertising in a TV station's website with banners. We see when we're not on TV, there's no lift in those banners that are on the TV station's website. When we are on TV, there is lift in the display ads.  

Ghastin: What we see is departments and groups within companies don't share business objectives. The only way to create consistency is through shared business goals and compensation across the entire company. It's the siloed business syndrome and, unfortunately, it permeates a lot of organizations. You have a board with a CEO who has a finance background, and they hire a rock star CMO who is expected to change the culture, and they expect it to be done within a year, and he's set up to fail from the beginning. 

Direct Marketing News: Marketers talk about the decrease in direct mail. Are you incorporating direct mail?

Greenberg: I think it has become more important because of the white noise, and the best way to use it is in conjunction with other media. So when you have an important sale going on, you send an e-mail and support it with a direct mail piece.

Lee: I've watched direct mail fall, and now I'm watching it rise again. People are using direct mail as an educational tool. If you can get the person to engage and open it, your lifetime value is much stronger vs. Internet or radio or TV. They've had to take so many steps to engage with the direct mail piece.

Ghastin: I recently saw a statistic from Alloy Media and Marketing that within the tweens, direct mail has significant impact because they don't get anything tactile anymore. It's all about electronic media. To get something in the mail that is personalized to them and customized has a lot of impact. 

Tingle: It comes back to relevance. If you have a singular message, direct mail is a great way to go. If you are communicating multiple offers, digital is the better way to go, because you can't get the scale in printing and direct mail that you will in e-mail. 

Saati: Without a doubt, I've seen the direct mail landscape evolve, and I've seen it come back. It's a very surgical layering of communication at the right time with a judicious use of data. Tying it back to barcodes and key codes and driving them to another channel using that tactile piece. I'm definitely seeing clients who've moved away from mail get back into it in a surgical, tactical way.

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