Here’s some added creative thinking for your 2014 marketing campaigns.
A customer recently called me to ask a few questions on the use of direct marketing techniques that I envision in the future. I asked, “Do you mean tomorrow?”
One of his customers read an article from the co-founder of LinkedIn, Allen Blue, writing that direct marketing ranks high on the extinction list. All types of marketing are very subjective and depending on how your customer feels when they receive your message, it’s hard to predict anything. In the long range view of ten to fifteen years, how people buy can be totally different than they do now.
Feel the pain.
I can feel the pain that Mr. Blue may be experiencing, if any at all, only because many marketing messages are wasted on people who have no interest. Pick up a magazine. Turn on a radio. Watch a TV program. How many ads do you see? How many are relevant to your needs?
With all the data capabilities direct marketers have at their disposal, aiming their marketing message closer to the bull’s eye becomes easier than ever before. For example, I recently searched on Yahoo for information on a vacuum cleaner. Days after the search whenever I opened Yahoo, there were ads for vacuum cleaners. And I thought the NSA was creepy.
Back to the future.
My first company was an advertising agency. Our biggest suppliers were newspapers, magazines and typesetting companies. A few years of operation as an ad agency told me the advertising industry was changing.
I started to re-focus our operations and personnel away from an ad agency to a marketing firm. It also was the company’s entrance into the world of direct marketing. And that was 30 years ago.
Just like anything else, direct marketing has and is still evolving. Direct mail was the king of direct marketing. Now direct mail is one of the many channels companies can use to reach their marketplace. If you’re in the B2B space, direct mail still has some advantages.
Learn how to hit a smaller moving target.
Precision targeting to prospects is truly one-to-one marketing. Add personalization with the right data and it’s much easier to communicate using relevant messages that really have value to the receiver of your message.
Mail has been called snail mail. That’s changing as well with better automation and the use of the mandatory Intelligent Mail barcode starting in January 2014. Faster service, cheaper mail costs and even tracking, such as delivery date and time, for the analytical minds now entering marketing making mail more competitive.
Anyone following this blog knows how important direct marketing is when using it with other communication channels, but especially in Social Media. The more channels a company uses to connect, there is a better return on investment of your marketing dollars.
As each generation grows up and moves into the workforce, count on more changes.
A company needs to focus more on obtaining as much information as possible on prospect and customers. These are people who must be at the center of your marketing core. Find out what they want, how they want it, and use their preferred communication channel to give them what they want. Here’s an added benefit - store all data in a contact management system.
No matter what changes occur in marketing, you’ll know quickly and learn from your customers. Unless that changes, never say never, Customer-Centric Marketing is a company weapon of choice to grow a business for the near future.
What marketing changes are you expecting in your company for 2014?
Everything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.
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