No Medium an Island

  |  September 8, 2005   |  Comments

Prepare for the holiday shopping season by coordinating your different media and leveraging e-mail’s strengths.

John Donne said, "No man is an island." In marketing, no medium should be an island. All too often, though, media are treated as individual silos, with little or no coordination between interactive and traditional efforts. The result for customers is often confusion and inconsistent messaging.

Integrated Campaigns

Each marketing medium has its own strengths. Utilizing those strengths in concert can enhance a campaign’s overall effectiveness.

Some of email’s key strengths can support traditional direct marketing:

  • Precision. Sophisticated segmentation and personalization enable true one-to-one messaging.

  • Immediacy. Most recipients will receive the message within hours of it being sent.

  • Cost effectiveness. E-mail can touch more people more frequently at a lower cost.

  • Responsiveness. Purchase can be just a click away.

With the holiday season fast approaching, here are some examples of integrating traditional and email marketing in holiday sales campaigns.

Building Anticipation

If you send holiday catalogs or brochures through traditional mail, they probably account for a significant percentage of your annual marketing budget. Inevitably, though, some will be recycled or discarded without a glance.

Schedule an email message to arrive just before the first in-home date, alerting people to the catalog’s imminent arrival. They’ll look for it, heightening awareness and anticipation. Customize the message with highlighted items, offers, and promotions that may be of particular interest to recipients.

Response Uplift

We’ve all received offers, coupons, and promotions we intend to take advantage of. But then they expire before we can.

Schedule an email soon after the last in-home date or shortly before expiration to encourage people to follow through on their good intentions. If online ordering or purchasing is available, enable the same offer on your e-commerce Web site. Including a link in the email encourages conversion to a sale.

Increasing Reach

Maximizing return on investment (ROI) by balancing the number of recipients and cost per piece is a well-established practice in traditional direct marketing. Integrating email adds another dimension to the mix.

Widen a campaign to a larger number of recipients using email’s cost-effectiveness and precision. Increase focus on key segments by combining print only, email only, and print plus email to further heighten campaign effectiveness.

Medium Crossover

When running multiphase campaigns, enable crossover between media. Make use of user preferences. For instance, ask people which medium they prefer. Apply business rules based on behavior and implied preferences. If an email address starts bouncing, switch that person to print. If she doesn’t respond to print, send her email.

Segment Testing

Use email to rapidly and cost-effectively test different offers and promotions. Then, select the best for your print campaign. One caveat: switching to another medium introduces a second variable, which can throw off test results. To minimize this outcome, use this technique for factors that are less affected by presentation. Pretest to identify and account for variances between print and email responsiveness.

Media integration requires the interactive and direct marketing groups work closely together; this may mean cultural or managerial changes. What is acceptable and effective varies from medium to medium. The groups must respect each other’s expertise. Evaluating success requires campaigns to be analyzed holistically. An email supporting a catalog may not meet your standard response requirements on its own, but its effect on catalog sales may be significant. Similarly, a postcard to a person whose email is bouncing may not produce the direct marketing return on investment normally required.

As you plan and prepare your holiday campaigns, look for opportunities to integrate your media. Play to the strengths of each, and respond to recipients’ preferences (both explicit and implied) to enhance the customer experience and maximize your overall ROI.

Until next time.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Harding

Derek is the managing director of J-Labs, Javelin Marketing Group's technology skunkworks, a role that draws on his 20 years of experience and leadership in the fields of marketing and technology. A British expatriate based in Seattle, Washington, Derek is perhaps better known as the founder and technologist behind Innovyx, one of the first email service providers later acquired by the Omnicom Group. An industry veteran and thought-leader, Derek is a regular expert author, contributor, conference speaker, and takes an active role in a number of industry and trade groups.

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