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Orchestrating Mailings Across Channels to Drive Results

  |  January 30, 2012   |  Comments

Consumers view and interact with brands across multiple channels. Are you prepared?

While silos persist within almost every marketing organization, consumers view and interact with brands across multiple channels (email, social, offline), holistically. When consumers interact with a brand, online or offline, they expect to be recognized and viewed as the same consumer in accordance with their view of the brand as a cross-channel company. Delivering this consistent cross-channel experience requires marketers to not only leverage data, but orchestrate email and offline mailings to build a threaded dialog to drive customer action.

Delivering highly personalized messages requires that marketers leverage data for segmentation and produce messages that are completely dynamic. This complexity, which is common in personalized direct mail, is often too great for an email. Not every marketer needs such a sophisticated approach, but for those who do, they must embrace what is more akin to a direct mail production model. Synchronizing messages across channels, such as an email followed by a print piece followed by an email or a variation on the prescribed message string based on user response, is more effective than non-synchronized mailings.

A study that my firm did for Intelisent looked at marketers using segmentation and personalization. We then compared those marketers using an orchestrated lifecycle mailing approach across channels to those marketers who were mailing in a non-orchestrated manner. The study found that the orchestrated marketers were driving four times as much revenue and nearly a six-time improvement in ROI compared to their non-orchestrated peers. Marketers that use near real-time data to enhance the timeliness and relevance of their messages are clearly at an advantage.

Here are just a few tactics that are necessary to making cross-channel mailings work effectively.

  • Integrating cross-channel data. This is vital not only to build the store of information for segmentation but also to accurately attribute results to the appropriate channel. Data does not necessarily need to sit in the same physical location, but marketers must enlist solutions that allow them to easily gather data from disparate sources and put it to work quickly for segmentation and program analysis.
  • Leveraging data for segmentation. As mentioned in my previous column, the number of marketers using behavioral data segmentation is increasing. Using behavioral triggers such as click-through data from email or a similar offline data element, such as the date the print marketing offer arrives in home are valuable assets to use as triggers in such orchestrated mailings.
  • Testing removes the guesswork. Surveys show that only about one in four marketers regularly conduct multi-variant testing and use tactics such as tests that measure response lift against control groups. Testing is a necessary element of any email or direct marketing endeavor and is particularly useful when testing elements such as timing in cross-channel mailings.

Marketers using multiple channels in an orchestrated lifecycle approach have a competitive advantage. Currently only about 17 percent of marketers use multi-wave, lifecycle marketing across channels, indicating that there is plenty of opportunity for marketers to improve campaign results.

Until next time,


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David Daniels

For more than 20 years, David has been an industry proponent. Direct Magazine said David is "one of the most influential experts in email marketing, if not the most influential." Co-author of "Email Marketing An Hour A Day," David has held senior level positions at Forrester and JupiterResearch, Apple, Anthropologie, MacWarehouse, Proteam, and retailers that dotted the early days of CompuServe. David advises many industry organizations including the OTA, DMA, eec, and has been a contributor to the Weekend Today Show on NBC. Learn more about connected marketing and download free research with registration here. Follow David on Twitter @emaildaniels and learn more at www.relevancygroup.com.

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