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D Is For Digital?

I have spent the majority of my career working in the Direct Marketing field for a number of companies across a number of industries. Direct Marketing has always formed a large part of marketing planning – particularly for Insurance companies, who rely heavily on renewal dated mailings to acquire new customers.  In my mind, ‘D’ was for ‘Direct’.

I had once thought that the only way to have a 121 relationship with a customer or prospect was to write to them or speak to them.

2512148775 61fa58b4b3 May 27About a year ago, I started working for Intergage, a full service marketing agency, and I
was thrown into a new world:  One of Google, Social Media, PPC, Blogging and DPRs. I felt like Owen Wilson in the Internship, and I would have suited the ‘Noogle’ hat if there had been one. I was going ‘On the Line’!

This new world had always been kept very separate in my past roles – a secret team of digital experts who didn’t mix with us traditional marketers. A bit like the move from mass marketing to direct marketing, the newer discipline always keeping itself to itself.

How refreshing it was to see traditional and digital working together under one roof at Intergage.

For me now though the ‘D’ no longer just stands for direct. It now also stands for Digital. But are these 2 terms actually that different? Well, no not really.

As a direct marketer, I am so excited about this evolving world. What better way to have a 121 relationship with your audience than using social media. Not only do you get to deliver the message direct to them (something that all direct marketers aimed to do with direct mail in the past) but now the audience lets you know what they think of you. They engage with you.

And the speed of the response has also meant that you can act on feedback quickly (and in the case of any negative feedback, very quickly). The response curves I used to produce for some traditional methods look like the transition from Triassic to Jurassic in their length. Response online is instant. If customers like what you are doing, they’ll engage positively – accept your invite, book training, take up your promotional offer, share your content etc.  Just make sure that you keep an eye on what people are saying.

So, do the old methods still have a place in your marketing plan? Does direct mail still exist?

Tell a direct marketer that direct mail is dead and you’ll have a fight on your hands. Direct mail is not dead. It has just evolved. It has become exactly what it started out as – a way to target a specific group of individuals with a relevant offer, at the right time.

In actual fact, as so many companies are now reducing their direct mail volumes and switching over to digital messages, the amount of mail that hits the mats (or desks) has significantly dropped and  means that your envelope is even more  likely to get opened. A simple way to differentiate your message.

Reduction-in-mail-graphicReduction in UK mailing volumes (courtesy of Royal Mail):

UK-Mail-VolumesTasty Marketing (Intergage’s sister company) uses the U.S concept of LumpymailTM  for a number of their clients. In essence, this is a gift in the mail. Not a free pen to complete your charity donation, but a truly useful gift. It works really well in the B2B environment:  Intergage uses LumpymailTM as part of their marketing programme to new prospects. Gifts sent out to selected prospects have included a USB stick designed to look like a doctor, promoting a PPC health check and more recently a personalised ‘Big Ideas Notebook’ targeted at Marketing Managers as somewhere to jot down all of their ideas. The key is researching your audience to find the perfect gift for your LumpymailTM campaign.

So what does the future look like?

In a nutshell, your marketing plans should include a mix of both traditional and digital methods. They work well together. A strong blend of marketing tools will ensure that your target audience engages with your message across multiple channels.

This is an ethos Intergage is passionate about and this is why Intergage has worked hard to become ‘Your Complete Marketing Partner’.

To find out more or to get in touch, contact us.

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