By Melissa Donovan
Multi-channel campaigns provide maximum impact for marketers. Depending on the segment, there are different methods for measuring success. An integrated approach typically generates optimal results.
In Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements, a study conducted by analyst firm InfoTrends Inc. in 2012, 1,026 enterprises were serveyed about the multi-channel marketing approach. In a comparison of three different variations of a combined marketing campaign—print and Web landing page; print, Web landing page, and email; and print, Web landing page, email, and mobile marketing; 45 percent of those surveyed experienced higher results with the most integrated campaign.
While more channels may result in a better outcome, it’s important to align the tools used with the planned pool of recipients and the ultimate goals of the customer. Without examining these factors first, it is difficult to determine which parts of an integrated marketing campaign will be most effective.
With a variety of channels, one may wonder which stands out the most and why. Greg Cholmondeley, director, Caslon & Company/PODi, suggests that in today’s world, no one channel really shines. “The most successful marketing campaigns leverage and integrate personalized communications across multiple channels. Each channel has benefits and challenges for both marketers and consumers,” he says.
For example, Cholmondeley notes that electronic channels are often inexpensive and provide immediate and easy tracking capabilities. However, he cautions that these very benefits cause so many emails to be generated that they quickly become SPAM or background noise.
Social media channels also have dramatic effects, but Cholmondeley warns few campaigns actually hit significant viral levels. “As new channels arise, I find they not only complement print campaigns, but actually enhance it. Ubiquitous smartphones now make it easier to transport mail recipients from print to mobile applications or Web sites. The sheer volume of solicitations from electronic channels actually make direct-mail marketing seem less cluttered,” he adds.
Breaking down popular channels can offers a look at channel effectiveness alone, as well as the potential of possible combinations. Cholmondeley says print is probably the most effective and reliable channel for generating a reaction, particularly if it is personal and relevant. “As such it is primarily used for two goals, to deliver coupons that recipients can keep with them to bring to a retail location, or to drive recipients to a Web site for further information and reaction.”
He suggests email is probably the most read channel, at least in terms of the sender and title. “If an email gets past SPAM filters, recipients will at least look at the sender and/or title to determine whether it should be deleted. If relevancy is established, they will likely read the first paragraph of the email,” he adds.
Cholmondeley refers to the Web as is the heart of most campaigns, not counting online advertising. “Campaign Web sites are where information, offers, and messaging can be shared and where marketers easily gather information and track activity. The best ones are personalized to the recipient and contain relevant messaging, offers, and graphics that match email and direct mail communications.”
Social media offers the ability to reach a large audience. Cholmondeley warns that care must be taken, when using it with an offer. He suggests its not unusual to get thousands of responses, nearly all of which are junk. “Filtering out a few hundred valid responses out of thousands of replies can be laborious and difficult.”
Finally, SMS is a relevant, but tricky channel. “Unsolicited SMS messages are typically negatively viewed as invasive. It can, however, be an effective communications channel for solicited information resulting from a prior campaign interaction,” he offers.
Marketing tools should be selected based on the goals of a campaign. For example, intended audience should be considered—look at age range, sex, and location. Depending on the target group, social media might garner the best response; say with the ten to 30 age set versus 60 and over.
Lisa Cross, associate director, InfoTrends, suggests the goals of the effort are an integral consideration. What do marketers want recipients to do? Make a purchase, download more information, use reward points, or refer friends? This needs to factor into channel selection.
A study InfoTrends completed for PRIMR found that marketers commonly use printed direct response, email, and mobile marketing to achieve goals such as customer acquisition, customer retention, loyalty, and relationship building. Conversely, mass media, online marketing, print advertising, and social media are used in driving brand awareness.
Despite statistics that point to higher success rates when integration is heavily favored, Cross adheres that success is contingent on matching audience interests with the correct marketing channels and additionally—and perhaps most importantly—determining the value of each tool.
“Uncovering the value each channel delivers and determining if there is a tipping point requires measuring and testing individual campaigns. Marketers cannot optimize integrated marketing channel strategies if they cannot accurately measure the performance of each channel in the mix and how they work together. This is something they have struggled with for years,” shares Cross.
She explains that the process of collecting and analyzing data from all of a campaign’s marketing channels and using that data to determine the effectiveness of each segment is referred to as multi-channel attribution or multi-attribution modeling.
“Attribution is a process for assigning/crediting a lead or conversion to a specific set of marketing activities and touch points. The goal of this approach is to understand which marketing channels are introducers, influencers, and closers of a sale or another business objective to help quantify the effectiveness of channels used in an integrated marketing campaign,” says Cross.
Leeds City Council
PODi, a global, member-supported not-for-profit organization, commissions a number of digital printing/marketing case studies a year. In 2013, it reported on Leeds City Council, which operates gyms and leisure centers across the city in the north of England.
The council’s Sports and Active Lifestyles department wanted to create a multi-faceted marketing campaign to help them acquire new members for gyms and leisure centers within the Leeds metropolitan area, as well as understand how different demographic segments responded to various channels.
They worked with Resource, a cross-media marketing services provider based in Leeds, which created the unifying campaign theme, More than a Gym, across direct mail, email, personalized landing pages, out-of-home print advertising, social media, and local radio.
A recipient database purchased from Experian targeted residents of the wider Leeds metropolitan area who were not already members of a gym or leisure center. The audience included three main age segments, 14 to 18 years old, 19 to 45 years, and over 45. It was segmented to enable targeted variable messaging, imaging, and offers. Respondents were offered a discount voucher for membership, with the offer differing between age segments.
Print and email were used to drive audiences to a landing page via a personalized URL (pURL). Here, the recipient filled out an online form—populated with variable imagery and text per age segment—that once submitted allowed them to download a discounted membership voucher.
Those over 45 years old on the prospect list received personalized direct mail, a postcard with the pURL—a total of 10,000 pieces were sent. Email campaigns were sent to the 14 to 18 and 19 to 45 age groups, which included the pURL with a direct link to a personalized micro site—a total of 50,000 personalized emails were deployed.
Banners, outdoor posters, 30,000 non-variable postcards distributed at leisure centers, social media sharing, and radio advertising utilized generic URLs to drive prospects to a landing page that allowed them to take part in the promotion.
A Hewlett-Packard (HP) Indigo 5000 was used to create the postcards. MindFire Inc.’s LookWho’sClicking and HP SmartStream Designer were utilized to incorporate the Web-based components of the campaign.
The ROI for the campaign was 400 percent—including the cost of the list, outdoor and broadcast media costs, online infrastructure building, and print and postage costs. Tracked by age segment, the 14 to 18 year old age group generated the highest response with 10.5 percent visiting the Web site and 7.3 percent downloading the offer voucher.
7.2 percent of the 19 to 45 year olds visited the Web site, 1.3 percent downloaded the offer. Out of the over 45 age group, 3.2 percent visited the Web site and 1.4 percent downloaded the offer. Overall, the campaign contributed to the Leeds City Council matching its year-on-year performance for membership acquisition. In addition, with the success of the campaign, Sports and Active Lifestyles adopted this personalized online communication method for its ongoing marketing.
Leeds City Council’s multi-channel marketing campaign is an ideal example of reaching and recording results regarding target demographics. One of the top uses of mixed media is generating a more targeted approach.
In InfoTrends’ Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements, the firm polled enterprises on why they choose to utilize multiple media channels to market their message. Out of the 378 that responded to this question, the top three reasons for blending print and digital channels were reaching a broader audience, reaching a target demographic, and boosting response rates.
These same organizations shared what digital content they integrated with print over the past 12 months. Overwhelmingly, 71.7 percent combined a print campaign with a Web site. 52.4 percent linked with a social media site and 31.2 percent worked with a mobile application in an online marketplace.
Examining the scenario from the other angle, when asked what types of printed media were integrated with digital media in the past 12 months, 56.1 percent stated brochures, 52.1 percent direct mail, and 41.5 percent bills or statements.
As reported by InfoTrends, fast food chain Chick-fil-A developed an integrated, personalized, cross-media direct mail campaign that included a social media sharing component. Print, Web, and social media channels were combined to create a successful result. Driving the campaign was direct mail—which as previously stated in the Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements survey is a popular type of print component integrated with digital media.
The company mailed 5,000 plastic postcards with two perforated cards that instructed the audience to log on with a pURL to receive free menu items. To redeem the offers, recipients were asked to answer a few questions. Once the questionnaire was completed, users could then share the offer on up to 265 social media networks, email, and SMS. If a recipient shared the offer, they were entered into a contest to win free Chick-fil-A for a year.
To power social media sharing, Chick-fil-A utilized Dukky from Dukky, Inc.—a marketing software platform for integrating, managing, and deploying social marketing promotions, identifying social influencers, and tracking campaign results.
22 percent of recipients logged on to their pURL after receiving their direct mail postcard—1,111 users in total. Based on statistics from Dukky, the campaign had a total response of 14,124—a 279.8 percent response rate. More users participated than initially projected due to the power of word of mouth marketing.
PODi also took a look at Kroll Ontrack, of Minneapolis, MN, and the success it experienced with a cross-media marketing campaign. The data recovery, information management, and e-discovery consultant and service provider opened a new Document Review Center in Washington, DC and wanted to introduce the facility and its services to local prospects.
With the campaign, it hoped to gain new customers, increase current customer sales, showcase its Document Review Center, and provide an integrated registration process for the local open house—with a goal of 50 attendees at the event. The company worked with integrated marketing service provider Visions to create a cross-channel campaign that incorporated multiple touches.
A personalized invitation included a pURL response mechanism that was mailed four weeks prior to the event. A reminder postcard was sent to non-responders the following week. An email was sent to non-responders one week before the open house. Responders received a confirmation email after registering and a reminder email one day before the event. Static invitations with a generic URL were given out by local sales representatives.
A combination of current and prospective customers received the invites. The prospective customers were compiled and submitted by sales representatives. The invites included messaging regarding the time, date, and location of the open house, and also encouraged recipients to attend by offering several prizes including free massages, spa gifts, massage gift certificates, and a drawing for an Apple iPad.
Messaging was complemented with a personalized creative campaign across all of the components—from direct mail postcards to emails and landing pages—that centered on the theme, Relax. Refresh. Review. Pieces included the recipient’s name, as well as the name, phone number, and email address of their sales representative.
An image of a martini was used throughout. Variable image font spelled out the recipient’s name, resembling splashes coming from the martini glass. A personalized map showcased a route between the respondent’s business location and the Document Review Center.
Visions used a Xerox Corporation iGen3 to print the postcards. The personalized images, pURLs, and variable data composition were created using XMPie, a Xerox company. TrekkMaps was used to create the personalized maps.
In total, 335 customers and prospects in the Washington, DC area received postcards from Kroll. 28.7 percent visited their pURL and 26.3 percent went to the pURL and registered for the open house. In all, 56 people attended the open house event at the new Document Review Center.
Multi-channel campaigns can be successful. More channels typically translate to better success. The heart of this type of marketing is the awareness of the audience and the goal of the marketing message. If these questions are addressed during the implementation of a campaign, results are almost guaranteed. Understanding the recipient is essential to successful marketing campaigns, whether entirely Web or print, or a combination of both. dps