It’s an exciting time in direct marketing. New technologies and touch points are bringing with them new ways for marketers to connect, communicate, and interact with customers—increasingly, at the optimal place and time with the right offer or message. But with all those opportunities come challenges: channel and technology integration, process reengineering, organizational alignment. Marketers who want to harness the opportunities that today’s multichannel marketing presents need to work at it. Hard.
Blending email or print and Web can have its share of challenges (like PURLs and unique landing pages); mobile and social adds another layer of complexity. Add geo-location and real-time elements on top of all that and any marketer’s sanity could be at risk.
But the trials and errors, risks and challenges are all worth it when customer engagement, interactions, and purchases all begin to improve. When response rates go from 3% to 30%, sharing content and promotions leads to growth in customer acquisition, and increases in customer engagement help build loyalty and purchases intent, it makes all of the blood, sweat, and tears worthwhile. Just ask Godiva, L’Oreal, and Vegas.com—three companies that are successfully weaving channels together to build customer engagement and capture sales.
As we discuss in “Formulating the Ideal Marketing Mix”, Godiva uses insight from its 5.3 million-member-strong loyalty program to inform its multichannel marketing efforts, and uses a mix of channels to reach those and other customers to drive sales in its stores and online. On a more local level, L’Oreal and Vegas.com are weaving social and mobile elements into their marketing to drive sales for their partners (see “SoLoMo marketing hits the spot.”)
Along with the risk taking required to test new avenues and new combinations of channels, managing marketing communications and the customer experience across channels requires some basic juggling skills: encouraging interdepartmental collaboration, data sharing, aligning objectives. Marketing today is not for the faint of heart. But find an innovative way to keep those balls in the air and customers are going to be captivated.