MindFireInc Spotlight is a monthly newsletter prepared and edited by Ted Raymond of Allegra.
Identifying Ideal Prospects for Multi-Channel Marketing
Who is a good prospect for multi-channel marketing? In the ever evolving world of multi-channel marketing, many service providers struggle to understand who an ideal prospect is. While there are no hard and fast rules that determine what type of client will receive benefit from a multi-channel approach, there are a number of criteria that do help ensure success.
Customer profiles can vary, but the following criteria will help to ensure you are targeting those prospects that can most likely benefit from your services:
1. Look within your own database. The greatest opportunities are generally those clients that you have an existing relationship with. If you have been providing them other services you probably have trust and credibility within the organization. Leverage your relationship to get to the right people (see point two).
2. Seek executive level contacts. This type of marketing approach requires a more strategic level of thinking. For this reason, you should not present this to a print buyer or purchasing person. Higher level contacts have the vision and authority to make decisions on deploying new methods of marketing. Find out who is responsible for customer acquisition, client loyalty, or sales revenue in your target account. Focus on business owners and marketing executives. Many of these contacts have the same types of issues. They will be particularly interested in how a multi-channel approach can deliver greater ROI. In addition, many of these contacts will be interested in how multi-channel marketing can provide real time data through an interface like the campaign dashboard. Sell this as a tool to help their business, not an add-on to a print job.
3. High ticket transactions. Look for prospects who sell a product or service that has a high lifetime value or a large purchase price. Often it is easier to build an ROI model for those companies that have a product or service that has high value. If you approach prospects with lower transactions, then success is predicated on much higher rates of response. Identify companies that are willing to invest in client loyalty or lead generation.
4. Utilize some type of CRM (customer relationship management software). Many times the best prospects are those that have some type of existing customer data. This can be sophisticated enterprise database programs like Oracle or SAP, or as simple as something like SalesForce.com, Microsoft Access, or QuickBooks. Often the most successful campaigns are those that are developed to help a client grow their existing business. The starting point for success is the client’s internal data.
5. Identify Trackaholics. Seek out companies that are consistently looking for ways to improve their internal process or increase their return on investment are key prospects for multi-channel marketing. You may be able to recognize this in your existing clients by asking them if they have process improvement programs or total quality management programs. This may also present itself in the form of reports or performance metrics that you see in your client’s office. If your client is one who regularly measures performance, then multi-channel marketing is a natural fit.
Email Etiquette – Opt Out’s Can Keep You In
Email marketing continues to be an effective way for marketers to reach prospects, but respect for the client relationship is the cornerstone of long term success. A number of best practices have emerged over the last several years, but perhaps the most important is the use of the opt out link.
All email marketing communication should have an opt out link included as part of the copy. It is important that the link be obvious to the reader. Nothing can erode client confidence faster than peppering them with unwanted emails and then openly deceiving them by hiding an opt out link. It is important to clearly state in the email how they can opt out. It can be as simple as placing a link that says, “I no longer wish to receive email offers.” The process that allows clients to opt out should be straight forward and take no more than a few clicks. Capturing this information back to a database is also a critical step in managing the relationship.
Once you have received an opt out request you must honor it. Analyze your communication strategy. Try and identify issues with content or frequency that may have led to the client request. Make sure that the communication that you send is relevant, and has value for the recipient.
By following this simple practice you can maintain long term client relationships. While losing the ability to market to someone electronically can be difficult, it is better than losing them as a client.
The MindFireInc® Look Who’s Clicking® product has embedded technology that allows you to manage opt out requests for all of your email campaigns. A simple embedded link will track those respondents who no longer wish to receive your emails. Information on configuring an opt out link within Look Who’s Clicking® can be found in the resource center help documents.
Demographics with Personality
In today’s world of one-to-one marketing, it can be difficult to understand how to use data to drive creativity. Often, when working with clients to create multi-channel marketing campaigns, it is challenging to decide how the message should vary from one person to another. One way to help clarify the message for your creative team is to develop client personas.
Let’s assume for a minute that you and your team have been asked to market a small business banking product. The institution has told you that one of their key demographics is female business owners between the ages of 18-45 with moderate income, who primarily live in the Southwest United States. This typical demographic profile explains the facts, but does not give most creative designers a clear picture of who their target audience is. With this information, it may be hard to create a message that resonates any emotion with the consumer. To develop an award winning campaign, creative groups must find a way to develop a message that generates just this kind of response.
Let’s pause for a minute. What if you could personify this key demographic? What if you could give this demographic a personality so you understood how to communicate with them? For example:
Meet Erin Entrepreneur, she’s the owner of a small but growing floral business with four employees. Erin is in her early 30s and has been a business owner for nearly five years. With a husband and two children, she tries her best to spend time with her family and squeeze in an early-morning workout each day before the responsibilities of small business management take over. She prefers to do business with people in her neighborhood that she sees on a regular basis, and convenience is a key factor in her purchase decisions. She often works at night she prefers companies that have an online presence.
Now you get the picture. You can start to see how to create a campaign that speaks to the lifestyle of “Erin”. Perhaps you would create a direct mail piece that has imagery of the local business banker who is also a Mother. The messaging could talk about the convenience of local branches, and the ability to work off hours using an online banking system. This could all be built around a theme of allowing you to manage the other important things in your life.
In the end, taking the time to build client personas and segmenting potential customers will allow you to deliver improved results in your campaigns. By using this information, you can create a relevant and personalized experience that recipients will remember.
This same client experience can be continued in an online experience. By using a tool like Look Who’s Clicking®, a marketer can create personalized URL’s that deploy a customer landing page with the same imagery as a printed piece. This one-to-one communication allows you to gather additional information about your prospect. This method of dialogue marketing is one of the most powerful methods to engage potential customers.
Non-Profit Case Study
Fall is the time when many non-profits begin to develop their winter appeal campaigns. The use of multi-channel communication has proven to be an effective way to gather information and increase donations for numerous non-profits.
Allegra Print & Imaging, a MindFireInc® partner, has had success in the non-profit sector by using variable data printing with personalized URL’s to engage potential donors, gather information and measure results.
Last fall, a campaign was developed for a Phoenix based non-profit organization that focuses their efforts on child welfare issues. The non-profit had a specific need to increase overall donations that would help fund programs for children in need.
A strategy was developed to re-activate dormant donors and increase donation levels for those active donors who were in the database. In an effort to understand what was important to donors, Allegra Print & Imaging used the MindFireInc® Look Who’s Clicking® system to create a personalized survey a month before the campaign launched. The survey results showed that people wanted to know that the donation they made stayed within the community. It was also clear many donors where willing to donate more if they were simply asked.
These key pieces of information led to the development of a highly relevant appeal campaign. The multi-channel approach included variable data printing of direct mail, email, and personalized URL’s. The personalized URL’s were re-branded to the non-profit market, and positioned as personalized contribution websites.
The content that was driven to the recipient was segmented geographically so respondents knew the donation would stay in their community. The combination of a personalized direct mail piece and an email blast drove recipients to their contribution website (that was built on the MindFireInc® platform). By using business logic on the personalized URL, respondents saw one of five landing pages. These pages varied based on the level of past donations. By delivering custom content, recipients where asked to donate at a higher level than they previously had.
The results were impressive. In a post-campaign meeting, the non-profit shared that the multi-channel approach delivered the largest revenue in the history of the organization. Total donations nearly tripled from the prior year and added an incremental $30,000 in donations. In addition, by targeting the message to the individual, they saw average donations increase from $155 per donation to more than $260 per donation.
This campaign has opened new doors and has helped Allegra Print & Imaging continue its transformation from a transactional printer to a marketing service provider.