Monday, September 17, 2007

Direct Marketing Success: Integrating Your Customer Touchpoints

DM News has recently reported on the DMA's study of the catalog industry. The results of the study are that this industry, too, has embraced the thought of integrating customer relationships across all channels of marketing. It seems like an old thought -- I know we've been talking about this for years. However, talking and acting are two different things.

The whole premise behind Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to understand and know your customer, how much business that they do with you, how they prefer to do business with you and how to treat those who spend a lot with you the right way. Most companies haven't done a great job at this -- irrespective of the dollars that they've spent on CRM technology.

The DMA's study entitled: "Multichannel Marketing in the Catalog Industry," is based on surveys completed online by 474 catalog marketers. The study also "indicates that nearly 70 percent of respondents saw an increase in multichannel sales over the prior year and 59 percent increased their catalog circulation in 2005." These are some great trends for catalogers!

Not surprisingly, the DMA study found that "multichannel marketers have learned that consumers expect to interact with one company with integrated systems that are consistent across all channels." As consumers, this seems like simple logic. If the message isn't consistent, we get confused about the offer and the value of the offering.

Here are some of the study’s other key findings:

  • Of the respondents with mail-order catalogs, 44 percent of total sales were consummated via the Web, up from 39 percent in 2005.
  • 33 percent of respondents believe that their online sales were “incremental.”
  • Respondents whose online sales are increasing reported an overall 20 percent growth rate.
  • The Web site/e-catalog was the primary marketing channel for 45 percent of respondents, followed by the paper catalog with 33 percent of responses and retailer stores with 22 percent.
  • In 2007, 82 percent of respondents plan to employ e-mail promotions, which was followed by discounts/special sales with 67 percent of responses, coupons with 38 percent and prize/sweepstakes promotions with 33 percent.

Although the study focused on catalogers, there is a lot that can be taken out of it by everyone. It is incumbent upon all of us who are responsible for direct marketing to understand that as we engage our customers through the different channels available to us (and more are being added all the time), we must first understand that our customer relationships fully -- then market to them appropriately across the channels. And, we need to focus on the message and the offer to ensure that it is consistent across channels. For more on our ideas on effective multi-channel marketing, take a look at our white paper.

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