Went to a wedding this weekend. Fun time, completely unexpected. Who knew southern Wisconsin was a melting pot of ethnicity, culture and experiences. This was one microcosm of the world and it drove home the fact that we are truly in a global economy, where every imaginable perspective drives decisions affecting which companies someone does business with. Affinities, ethics, global issues, convenience, price and quality are all in the mix with a different emphasis for each person.
As I was thinking about writing this blog, with a swirl of ideas in my brain, I was looking for a way to tell a story. Because, why would anyone read something dry and business oriented, right? So the thought of all those people, old and young, with different backgrounds coming together for a small town wedding seemed a good way to start talking about multiple perspectives and the effect they have on marketing choices. Don’t ask me how I made the leap…it’s just the way my brain works.
The question of the hour is: How do you market to the global economy? Considering the exciting new technologies available and the myriad choices in communication channels, a better question may be: How do you market to the global economy well? The answer: You still must look at your audience and make strategic decisions (as it has always been).
Strategy is about blocking out the shiny new things, getting out of your rut-worn processes and rethinking everything. Let me be clear – there is no such thing as one size fits all marketing. Just looking at that small wedding group confirms that. I bet the stories that were told on Sunday were as varied as the people themselves. Marketing your business is about reaching all the other perspectives, not about you, the audience of one.
So, how does one deal with this new marketing paradigm? What is it exactly, this shiny thing called new media? Mobile, email, social – exciting stuff! It may be the Holy Grail for some people, but for others, it leaves them cold. What about good ol’ traditional direct? At d.trio we have done, and still do, plenty of it. How can you beat the science of targeting and testing, meets art of design and messaging, and creates measurable results? Well, apparently with email. Ok, we get that because email is a direct response medium too. And, it’s also a great direct channel. ALSO. That’s the point – you don’t want to throw out something that has been proven over years to be effective because there is something shiny and new to take its place. You need to pay attention to the new, figure out the appropriate way to use these technologies in your marketing mix and use them all together, in a cohesive, targeted way.
Research shows that people still have channel preferences. People are quick to call email that isn’t targeted to them “spam” just as they characterize mail that is not targeted to them “junk” mail. Stay tuned for the words that will describe mobile and social marketing overtures that aren’t done well, with integrity or received well (mobile mooch? social sycophant?). There already is ire toward companies who have done social marketing badly. The lesson-learned is you need to be transparent and above board. The same tenets apply to all direct disciplines – it has to be relevant, it has to be targeted, it has to be clearly written, it has to have a compelling offer, the creative/message has to resonate, it can’t mislead and in most cases in this day and age, it has to be quick to read.
Unfortunately in this economy with people afraid of spending money, there is a lot of bad direct marketing going on out there. When the only thing that is considered is the price per piece, bad things happen to direct. It doesn’t stand out in the mail, the data is not segmented properly; the offer is weak and the messaging weaker. Then, guess what gets blamed for not performing? Yep, junk mail. And it may kill the medium if we don’t all strive to do ALL channels of direct well – remember how the Spammers took over email at first and almost killed it?
There is still a reason to do good, relevant direct mail, along with email/digital and social strategies in true multi-channel marketing – you reach more people in the global economy, in a channel they prefer. I get excited when I see exceptional direct mail execution in the mail or at the ECHO Awards when I’m judging. So think about your own need to reach your targeted microcosm of customers, develop your marketing strategies and consider all channels in the mix. And if you do choose direct mail, do smart direct that is measurable, creative, and works along with email, mobile and social media – everything that you have in the mix. Remember we’re with you, cheering you on or there for you if you need help.
– Megan Devine, d.trio