In this video tip Michael Leander talks about multi-step campaigns vs. one-shot campaigns and in the article below he takes this a big further to talk about customer channel / media preferences.

The take away from the marketing campaign example in the video and article below is

1) Should you give it “all you’ve got” in the first direct mailing (or email message etc) or can a multi-step campaign process increase response and Return on Marketing Investment?
2) Is knowing whom your target audience is still key to achieving better results and building longer lasting relationships?

If you know me, you will know that I often speak about direct email marketing and things digital. But if you have had a conversation with me about marketing, you will know that I am a great believer in direct mail.
One of the reasons for that is that research shows that a substantial percentage of consumers take preference for direct mail. And – mind you – consumers in all age groups. And for business to business marketing we know that direct mail still is a very efficient instrument.

I am also a huge advocate for the multi-channel marketing approach. But mostly I advocate multi-channel permission marketing, which in turn means you will let your audience decide how they want you to communicate with them and through which channels. You see, different people have different preferences. And media preferences can change depending on which stage in the buying cycle someone is at.

Before you get all psyched up, let me take a step back and explain something about buying processes

Let us say that you are thinking about making a major purchase. A purchase that will set you back a pretty penny. What are the typical stages you go through from the time you realize you may have a need to such time when you actually make the purchase?
Is it two stages, three stages, four stages, five stages?

And then think about what type of information you require to satisfy your specific needs for each of those steps of your buying cycle. What type of information do you need to move to the next stage? What sort of proof do you need? Which questions do you need answered in order to be comfortable in making that purchase?

Once you’ve got that down, now think about how you would like to receive that information. Can you service all of your needs through web-surfing? Do you need to talk to a sales representative at some point? Would you like to receive printed material that you can share with other decision makers and influences, family members? Would you be comfortable interacting with a social media community connected to that brand or product?

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For me to sell something to you effectively, I need to understand your needs. And I need to do my best to align my selling process to your buying process. And that likely involves playing a kaleidoscope of different marketing instruments to make sweet music in your ears ( ; – ) While I am simplifying matters a bit, I genuinely believe that far too few marketers have even tried to understand how their customers make purchases. Let alone which media preferences their individual prospects, leads, suspects, customers, churners have.

Back to the video and some important points to remember
In the video I discuss a direct mail piece from Adler. In the case of this direct mail piece, let me first summarize the facts:

  • the direct mail was sent to a cold prospect (they couldn’t possibly know if I am in the market to buy promotional gifts)
  • the direct mail aimed to get me to buy something immediately – that’s the reason they included the personalized pen, which served as a proof of their product & quality
  • the “who is Adler” insert was there to build trust – great for anyone whom aren’t familiar with the company
  • the enclosed pen is of a good quality (I know I have been using it)
  • the offer sucks ! not because it may be too expensive – I have no idea. But because Adler used the sentence “…low price of only € 1,60 per piece regardless of how many you buy”. Anyone who has ever purchased promotional items knows that the price should go down quite significantly when you order in volumes. So the offer rings my alarm bells saying “this advertiser cannot be trusted”.

All in all the direct mail was not bad. But the point in question relates to two factors.

First and most importantly, could Adler have produced better results at a cheaper CPO (Cost per Order) had they followed a simple two step direct marketing campaign process involving these steps:

  1. Send a cheaper direct mail offering me to get a free sample of the promotional pen – ordered through the post paid reply coupon or – even better – through a personalized webpage. This would also allow the respondent to choose between – say – three different pens at three different price points, different color etc. And of course acquire permission to email in the process.
  2. In the second step send the pen by direct mail with a compelling offer to make a purchase within 7 days, 10 days, 12 days (not 30 days as in the direct mail described above – its too long).
  3. In the third step send either a) a thank you for your purchase, your order will delivered in …. or b) we haven’t heard from you, you still have x days to take advantage of the introduction offer. Any of these could be done either through direct mail, email or – for crying out loud – telemarketing

While there are no certainties in marketing, I feel quite confident that the above direct mail marketing steps could produce substantially better results in terms of number of orders and possibly also increase the order value of each order (merely based on giving choice of different products at different price points).

Secondly, could this direct mail campaign have produced better results had the advertiser taken time out to qualify their suspects / leads?

Far too many marketers are not paying attention to the quality of the list. Since this Adler Nordic email was a cold canvas direct mail, it is highly like that a lot of recipients are not at all qualified to buy this particular product.

So in my opinion it would be worth considering using telemarketing to qualify the companies on the list and – most importantly – qualify the decision maker in said companies. Sure it will increase the initial cost of the campaign, but on the other hand Adler would have build a better list which potentially could be used over and over again.

Did I mention that research shows that repetition of the same message to the same people leads to significantly higher response and better Return on Marketing Investment? But you don’t have to send the same message to the same people over and over again. In the case of Adler, they could use their quality database to send different offers of promotional items to the same people over and over again.

Acta non verba
Action speaks louder than words. So if you have read this far, do remember it is not about what you know – it is all about how you apply what you know.

Sapere aude!

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