It is amazing how much direct mail gets produced every
year. A lot of it is junk mail and goes straight to the dustbin, sometimes even
before opening! U.S. households received 3.8 billion credit card offers in 2008.
And at the same time, every bank ,utility & in some cases
even telecom companies are sending out billing statements? These statements are
“always read” and always have the customer's attention.
Why then should Marketers not send something more valuable?
Banks, utilities, retailers and credit card providers are among the companies
discovering the communications value that previously had gone untouched in
their statements. This is being commonly referred to as trans-promo
communications. The trend is towards merging transaction and promotional content
into one document, and delivering it via print or electronic channels. Marketers
who have successfully used variable messaging in direct mail are waking up to the
value of adding personalized communication to high-value transaction
Infotrends Inc has an interesting take on this : Transaction
documents are vital links between critical business processes and desired
outcomes. They fuel the transfer of funds and ensure cash flow. Invoices and
statements are the ultimate “mission-critical” documents. As such, they are
among the few types of mail that are almost always read. Organizations are
investigating new and more efficient means of producing and distributing these
documents, and this has resulted in the so-called “transpromotional” category,
which combines direct mail and transactional documents. The adoption of
“transpromotional” documents could transform the existing document landscape.
It would be interesting to see how marketers are able to
combine Direct marketing ,Analytics & technology to provide solutions in
If you were to quantify the time spent by CMO’s , you would find that Communication issues still top the list.
CMOs have always intensely thought about their brands and the emotional connection that they create with their customers. But more needs to be done about actually building value for the customer at each interaction and that means the CMO necessarily has to be the customer advocate within the corporation. Most times this is not a popular role to be playing and often it is not the easiest or the best way to actually “build a career”.
Dave Frankland , a principal analyst at Forrester makes this interesting point about those few companies which have been able to use Customer intelligence as a strategic differentiator. Dave asks about “What defines these leading firms?
They treat customer data as a strategic asset, put the customer at the center of all decision making and use data-driven insight to tailor all customer communications. It sounds simple, but can you name five companies that do it?
Dave’s research shows that fewer than 15% of firms have a strategic customer-intelligence operation. These firms leverage customer intelligence broadly throughout the organization, they value customer knowledge as a corporate asset and they frequently have an evangelist in the C-suite. They continually demonstrate that customer intelligence drives overall business growth.
Key questions that come to my mind are:
1. It is no point doing analytics on customer data if you do not have the right organization structure that converts that “insight into action”.You need a passionate analytics evangelist who forces the pace on decision making based on "insight".
2. How many Marketers do you know who would risk putting their career at risk by being customer advocates internally?
The total load of junk email,
sms and snail mail that hits me is huge and increasing rapidly! And still I do
not see as much adoption of “relevance” in marketing communication. For example
when I go to my bank and give a “change of address” request it should
automatically trigger a small booklet of “special offers” for using my bank
credit & debit card in this new pin code! Mostly this does not happen
because creating highly “relevant marketing programs” involves significantly
more effort as compared to the vanilla “spray & pray” marketing efforts
that are so effortlessly being created. Also most CMO’s seem to believe that
this will cost more-though, no one has in my experience really established the
trade off between “higher response” and also same cost if one is using “digital
In the past maybe cost could
have been a reason-because offset printing was so much more cost effective. But
today both the penetration of email is increasing and also digital printing is
for some volume runs catching up with offset.
On another note, Marketers
often ask for advice on marketing solutions given that a large set of customers
are opting in for the “Do not call list”. At one level this is completely
connected to the “spray & pray” type of marketing programs. Bringing more
“relevance” into marketing will definitely allow more customers to interact
with the communication they get from their banks, telecom companies &
Recent studies find that a
third of Web merchants failed to send any e-mail to new subscribers within 30
days of sign-up. And 60% didn't send “welcome” e-mails to new registrants,
according to deliverability firm Return Path.
Once behaviourally triggered
e-mails are set up, they're automatic. They don't have to be all that
complicated. And by all accounts, they work like gangbusters.
I found this interesting
insight from Carole-Ann Matignon’s post and here is what she says :
more mobile and more willing to move to competitors' products than at every
before and, thanks to the growth of the Internet, more able to do so easily.
Customers have access to more information about companies and their products
and are able to pick and choose what to read, watch or believe. Companies are
more complex these days - gone is the vertically integrated company and in its
place has grown the outsourced, distributed company. With more "moving
parts", more third parties, more channels companies are struggling to
deliver consistency yet increased regulation and more demanding customers make
this consistency more essential than ever. The article's solution to this
dilemma is"targeted marketing that is consistent and integrated across all
Now I don't have a particular issue with this, indeed this is
clearly part of the solution. I think it understates the problem though and I
think a better solution is maybe something like this:
Precise and timely customer treatments that are consistent
across all channels
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