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At the end of 2015, marketing experts opined on what they believed 2016 would bring. Now may be the appropriate time to reflect on what those predictions were.
One topic that consistently landed near the top of trend lists was the use of mobile devices as the “first screen” customers reach for. A March 2015 article Marketing Land references audience measurement company comScore data showing mobile activity accounts “for 60% of digital media time spent in the U.S.” Mobile growth is outpacing not only laptops, but also television – and that’s just in this country. The rest of the world is even more mobile-obsessed.
What does that mean for the art of direct marketing? First, be aware that, if you send out a mailer with your website on it, your target will likely reach for a mobile device to view your site. Is it optimized for mobile viewing? What will your potential customer see from his smartphone or tablet? Mobile is so important Google has created AMP – the Accelerated Mobile Pages project. It’s an initiative to create pages optimized for mobile, which are viewable anywhere, delivered at the fastest speeds.
As a device we’ll likely never spend more than a foot or so away from the rest of our lives, mobile is part of everything and can be integrated in creative ways. Social media use is overwhelmingly done from smartphones. Are you fully utilizing your social media channels to promote your business and the geo-location abilities of your phone to tag images? And suppose you place a code on a postcard which, when entered into a smartphone, goes right to your website, Twitter feed, Facebook page or a clever YouTube video. Now a user has engaged across a few channels. The possibilities will continue to grow.
That leads into the next trend: multichannel marketing. Media is becoming increasingly fragmented. This means that a television commercial may not reach as many people as it used to, since more of those people are now spending time on their mobile devices, so you need to find the right customer wherever they are. Make it all work together! Assessing the value of action taken in each channel during the different stages of the customer’s purchase journey will be key to successful campaigns and getting your hands and head around the possibilities. Start small. Pair an online ad campaign with an email campaign and more traditional advertising.
Direct marketing involves targeting a specific audience. It could mean mailing a postcard to people in a certain geographic area, a calling campaign to specific prospects or an email campaign. Indirect marketing casts a wider net. Think of a billboard or traditional broadcast campaign. At it’s most focused, an indirect marketing campaign targets customers at the closest point of the sale or purchase funnel, for instance using Adwords when a consumer’s searches suggest an immediate purchase.
A multichannel marketing campaign taps into all of these avenues. Suppose you send a postcard with an offer to prospects in a certain location, follow that up with phone and email campaigns along with Adwords targeting searches related to your offer. Now your company name is where your potential customers are and you’re receiving repeated exposure. The importance of a multichannel campaign is to coordinate all the pieces so they have one cohesive message and drive sales.
How well do you know your customers? Personalization has long been a marketing cornerstone, but it remains there because of its importance. Take a moment to make sure you’re sending the right offer to the right audience at the right time. If one of those three pegs doesn’t fit, your advertising dollars might be going to waste.
If finding the right audience plagues you, InfoUSA can provide targeted lists and ongoing sales leads.
As audiences become more savvy and choices for buying increase, personalization will become even more important to marketers. A marketing campaign’s success revolves around how well the business can connect with the right audience. Therefore, the first and most basic fundamental of personalization is to know your audience. If you already have a database built, find a unique way to segment them. For example, if you sell pet supplies, consider segmenting your customers based on species of four-legged companion. This will also help you with another fundamental of personalization – making strong connections with your customers. Find out what they need, build their trust, and then deliver.
There still may be time to adjust your 2016 marketing plan if you feel any of these trends are relevant to your business. And if you need help launching any of them, reach out to InfoUSA and speak with one of their experts.