Direct Marketers: Target What your Customers Want, Not What’s “Hot”

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, smartphones, and tablets are just a few digital entities that have given marketers the ability to connect with large numbers of consumers. But just because these are the “hot” new channels in the digital marketing space, it’s important for direct marketers to keep their eye on the prize: delivering relevant messages to customers through the most appropriate channels.

Today’s direct marketers seem to be missing the most important mark for a successful campaign: ROI. While social and mobile messaging might be hot topics, email is still the preferred channel for permission-based promotional messages by 77% on consumers. A distant second is direct mail at 9%, followed by text messaging (5%) and Facebook (4%).

Direct Marketers: Target What your Customers Want, Not What’s “Hot” image Keys2Direct Marketers: Target What your Customers Want, Not What’s HotMarketers and Consumers Define Engagement Differently

A recent report conducted by Forbes Insights and Turn shows marketers and consumers are oftentimes not seeing eye-to-eye on what may be the most effective marketing channels, a rift that could be costing direct marketers’ valuable customer interactions and potential sales. In fact, less than half (45%) of survey respondents rated consumer redemption rates of promotions or discount codes as a strong influence on their measurement of engagement.

However, 85% of consumers said that they searched for promotions or discount codes for things they wanted. Eighty percent of consumers read email alerts or updates on special deals from advertisers but just 52% of marketing executives measured engagement based on open rates on email alerts or updates on special deals.

From the Forbes study, “This data underscores the very real differences in how marketers and consumers define and value various types of brand engagement. Engagement in and of itself has changed in recent years, as increasing amounts of marketing activity shift online—and again, particularly, as social media becomes more integral to consumers’ daily lives.”

All Direct Marketing Channels Have Their Place

A Direct Marketing News article also shows some statistics that reveal marketers can often times get caught up in emerging technologies’ hoopla. The article, based around MarketingSherpa’s “2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report,” sheds some truth to this claim, as 58% of marketers believe the growing presence of mobile and tablets is a prime development that will impact email marketing programs in the next 12 months. Also, 57% feel that social should be taken more seriously.

Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content of MECLABS, says in the DMNews article, “I think sometimes in marketing we get caught up in terminology, technology, and specific channels, but our customers don’t think this way,” he continues, “What they care about is communicating with each other. And finding the information they need.”

Marketing efforts are nearly always based on ROI, so, as a direct marketer, make sure you are focusing on the channels that offer the best chance of returning value. The crowded digital space offers some fun and easy to use channels, but as various survey results show, these “exciting” new channels may not fit customers’ wishes. Older, well-established channels like direct mail and email marketing may have the most to offer with regards to ROI.


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