Automated campaigns will define best practices
Here's what you already know: As marketers implement more sophisticated customer relationship management systems, databases gather richer content. Integrate what you have with predictive modeling techniques and you're set to hit the market with wonderfully personalized communications. Customized messages, in turn, open awesome opportunities for jacking up response and improving ROI.
Here's what you may not have realized: The direct marketing manager who knows how to plan and automate the responses to a cross-channel campaign will shine in 2008.
The integration of database wealth and precise campaign planning promises amazing results, but it's not easy. It's not necessarily cost-prohibitive, either, but it does demand forethought. The best campaigns anticipate, embrace, and predict possibilities, then seamlessly direct the results into appropriate channels. The process can unfold automatically because the technology is in place to make this happen, but only when direct marketers prepare carefully, before day one.
For example, suppose you're planning your spring 2008 campaign. For starters, seriously consider running the numbers on a possible variable data personalization (VDP) investment.
Whatever your initial approach, when the returns flow in, strategic planning will incorporate a series of automated responses. Did the prospect request more information? Those are ready to go out the door. Did an order come in? You send a “thank-you,” of course, but you also are prepared with a cross-sell or upsell. Did your offer use a PURL? Your Web site is primed to persuade. Is the response from a particular market segment (geographic, cultural, income, gender, age)? You have an in-kind response waiting to go. If you've prepared, your responses are impressively customer-centric. And it all happens automatically.
In our experience, direct marketers who do this well follow clearly defined goals in their cross-media campaigns. From first-touch, they have a plan that focuses on the goal, the audience, and the workflow. Optimizing this process takes knowledge and experience. A sophisticated direct marketing production company should be able to deal with every aspect of your campaign, as well as suggest great ideas about how to personalize and automate direct mail, e-mail, and Web site information.
Crystal Uppercue is marketing manager of EU Services. Reach her at email@example.com.