Archive for August, 2010
Data rarely gets to be the star of the visual show. It takes people who are both creative and data-savvy to conceptualize how data points can be translated into visual appeal. Today’s marketers are increasingly in-tune to both left-brain and right-brain thinking, which makes this the perfect time to consider what data you have and how you are using it.
I recently wrote a report on using Data-Driven Charts and Graphs that is filled with examples, and also contains guidance on addressing common implementation challenges. This report is my attempt to help agencies and marketers plan how data-driven graphs and charts can be employed to make their direct marketing more relevant, more engaging and ultimately more effective.
You can download the report at www.mailprint.com/charts. I’d be delighted to have your feedback. Please feel free to email me directly at rhondab(at)mailprint(dot)com.
We get a lot of questions about our Marketing Communications Portal, and have found that visuals are worth much more than a thousand words when explaining its benefits and features. Have two and a half minutes? Check out the video below that gives an inside view of how marketers, salespeople, business owners and administrators use the portal to access, manage and deploy company-branded materials.
Today’s decision makers have changed. They scrutinize buying options more carefully. Their expectations are higher across the board. They want to understand the opportunity costs of making a purchasing decision; or rather, the value of the alternatives that he or she is giving up to choose your company.
Undoubtedly, your prospects control the buying process.
To help decision makers navigate successfully through the buying decision process, imagine your team of sales and marketing professionals as city planners or heads of transportation. It is their task to build the onramps, highways and traffic lights that will keep your prospects moving to the destination: a buying decision.
As heads of transportation, your sales and marketing will need to define the key communication points needed along this educational and relationship-building process.
Multi-channel marketing campaigns are perfect for complimenting sales interactions with automatic mail and email communications. But be careful. Not every interaction with the buyer or customer is about closing a new deal; it’s about delivering relevant information at the right time to the right individual. If you add irrelevant messages or touches, congestion ensues and the buyer goes elsewhere to obtain the information they need.
Decision makers want more information. We’re not just talking about an extended list of features and benefits. We’re talking about empowerment through education, fact finding, and knowledge acquisition.
Companies are currently grappling for pole position as the trusted advisor, a role now paramount to success for not only new business, but for up-selling and cross-selling existing clients as well. The question for you is whether your company will be the source of this information, or will your prospects go elsewhere to satisfy their curiosity?
In a recent BtoB Magazine Online post Karen Bannan says, “transactional messages can help you reach out to new or current customers to help build brand awareness and even create new sales.” Her article “Tips for Transactional Email” contains a multitude of reminders of how impactful email can be for building customer relationships. It also highlights all the wonderful benefits of relevancy and timeliness when communicating with customers.
- But what if the customer’s email address isn’t accurate?
- What if, the client gives you an email address they never check? (We all know that many people have a “junk” email account that they don’t check all that often.)
- What if, your email gets caught in a spam filter and the customer never receives it?
With new advances in email and printing automation technology, there are ways to make sure your transactional marketing (transpromo) stays at the top of its game by using a multi-channel approach. Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
- Based on the value of the customer, if the email hard bounces you send a direct mail piece to present the information and great offers they missed in the email. You also provide an easy way to collect the correct email address, usually via a landing page or Personalized URL. This landing page is also a great place to ask their preference for all types of transpromo communications.
- You can define engagement rules to know when you should communicate via a different channel. A couple of examples:
- If the email isn’t opened within seven days, a mail piece is triggered.
- If three transactional emails are not opened, a text message or direct mail piece is triggered.
It is important to remember that the goal of the utilizing alternate channels is not just to sell more, but to get the customer to engage with the channel that’s right for them. Email Experience Council research states that 85% of the people on your email list will stop reading your emails without unsubscribing after the third message your company sends to them. How are you going to re-engage them?
Derek Harding, CEO of Innovyx, Omnicom Group’s interactive arm states, “If someone has just made a purchase, you absolutely must try and keep that dialogue going.” The way I see it, that means utilizing every channel at your disposal to serve and engage your customer.
A special thanks for Karen Bannan for her thoughtful article on transactional email. You can read it here.