Location: Columbus, OH
Year Founded: 2007
Number of offices: 5
2009 Revenue: Total: $43 million
Web site: http://www.engauge.com
Key executive: Rick Milenthal, CEO
Major discipline/capability: Digital Marketing, Direct Marketing, Traditional Marketing, Experiential Marketing
Key clients: Best Buy For Business, Protection One, Nationwide Insurance, ZonePerfect, UPS, Food Lion, Dad’s Pet Care
Latest trends: There are three significant trends in direct marketing that we are seeing, and in many cases, driving.
Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen advancements in direct marketing and digital marketing traversing along different and often competing paths. In the process, each new communications tool or channel email, search, social, mobile, etc. has emerged as a separate silo, fighting for its place in the marketing mix. We realized the power of both direct and digital diminished as separate groups undertook separate efforts. What was needed was a new approach.
So, in 2009 we introduced iDirect the confluence of direct and digital marketing to drive total customer engagement at a lower expense, and with greater ROI, than ever before. This thinking is set forth in our recently published book, Reinventing Interactive and Direct Marketing, sponsored by Engauge in association with the Direct Marketing Association. It presents the premise that every marketer is now primarily an interactive direct marketer. It reveals this new relationship marketing paradigm, iDirect, as the new growth engine that sits at the intersection of advanced digital technologies and proven direct marketing practices. Since the introduction of iDirect in 2009, many agencies and marketers are now incorporating this concept in to their marketing plans.
2. Addressing the non-addressable
In this new marketplace, addressability changes dramatically. Addressability used to be limited to name and address/email, combined with demographics, and maybe recorded/appended interests and past purchases. Now we are adding many other dimensions of consumer behavior in to our data, and its changing how we are using new vehicles/channels to interact with our clients customers.
The reason is that we are now actually dealing with two types of customers:
– Those we reach with our brand and our activities and end up knowing by name.
– Those we reach but don’t know their names yet there is some interaction with the brand, with our content, etc.
Across the industry, there is still a widespread belief that we can only have a relationship with the group we know by name. As direct marketers, we must have relationships with both groups those who are known and addressable, as well as those who are unknown to us (non-addressable). We can begin building relationships with them, as well.
Examples of this include fans we create on Facebook, Twitter followers, YouTube channel visitors and the like. Of course, our goal is always to know more and more of our customers over time, and our activities work to accomplish just that building interaction, engagement, information exchange and, finally, loyal relationships between these customers and brands.
3. The evolution of direct/relationship marketing
There’s an evolution underway that takes relationship marketing beyond the tactics of building transactions to creating conversations with, and between, customers. We see it in social circles and in the social media that have exploded onto the marketplace. As consumers continue to change their traditional media behaviors, they are gravitating towards those media/channels that provide easy access to information, advice and recommendations, plus allow them to socialize and be entertained at the same time, building and continually refining their own trusted networks. It’s these conversations that change the future of integrated relationship marketing. Brands must succeed in creating ongoing and relevant dialogues with consumers if they are to have any hope whatsoever of remaining part of the consideration set going forward.
But even beyond creating conversations, there is a higher level of relationship-building available to marketers. It is one that asks and answers the question: How can this brand help its customers get or do what they want? Beyond our products, what do we do as part of the marketing effort itself to help our customers meet their goals and desires?
This higher-level engagement now requires that we explore that wide range of opportunities for the brand to interact with its consumers and to add value to their lives beyond the product itself. Done correctly, the relationship marketing communications and activities themselves become part of the brand offering and the customer experience.
Of course, this does not mean that the lower-level relationship activities that are focused on transactions have no place. In fact, they do. Nor does it mean that establishing dialogue is now unimportant. It is essential. But, going forward, we can make an even greater and more meaningful effort as a part of our relationship-building approach to help consumers discover, learn, share, grow and enjoy life with our clients’ brands. Our commitment must go beyond brand communications to brand behaviors that help our customers enjoy a life more fulfilled.
Notable new campaigns: International Delight “Facebook Fan Page” (social marketing); ZonePerfect “VH1 Save the Music Live. Create. Lounge” (website, social marketing, partnerships, event marketing, email marketing); Food Lion “Healthy Accents Private Brand Media Campaign” (Website, social marketing, email marketing, digital media); Best Buy For Business “e-Catalog” (digital marketing, in-store, sales collateral); UPS “UPS Mobile Website Promotion” (email marketing); Nationwide Insurance “NASCAR” (broadcast, print, digital, call center introductions, email marketing, event, sales collateral, direct mail); Woodford Reserve “Life Well Crafted Bartender Challenge” (website, social marketing, partnerships, event marketing, email marketing)