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How do you bring your Online and Offline marketing efforts together?

DirectTalk with Winnifred

The key to effective marketing in this day and age is in taking an integrated approach. An Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) strategy will ensure that at every point of contact (touch points) a customer has with your company, its products and services, they receive a consistent picture of who you are and what you offer. It has been proved time and again by a number of studies that a marketing message is significantly more effective if it reaches its target market through a number of different mediums.

Several of my readers have asked that I republish this article as IMC is becoming more and more important to their overall media mix. For previous DirectTalk editions, please go to our marketing communications portal and check under Direct Talk for archived editions.

The American DMA put this point across clearly in their article written by Dev Bhatia. Direct marketers are increasingly holding Web marketing more accountable than traditional offline marketing media.

Today's marketers are questioning all aspects of their campaign efficiency and effectiveness, including:

  • How does the cost of Web-based consumer acquisition compare to my comparable direct mail and telemarketing costs?
  • How can I manage the risks to keep them in line with my existing campaigns?
  • How can I maintain a message across channels and optimise value for each one?

These questions are driven by a direct marketer's need to live within cost-of-acquisition limits set by the overall lifetime value of a customer.

True direct marketers focus on customer value and extending the life cycle of the same customer, rather than the varying costs of advertising in different media. But with the Web a crowded, and often confusing medium, guidelines for online direct marketing success are critical.

Here are 6 Planning Tips to bring your Online and Offline marketing efforts together.

Tip 1: Measure the Right Thing
Keep an eye on transaction costs and measure accordingly. Focus on the number of transactions generated versus the dollars spent to arrive at a transaction. This is what has driven the continued growth of direct mail and other direct media to date. If you can track media dollars to transactions in the mail world, you can certainly do it in the Web world. Do not get thrown by Web media salespeople who may attempt to divert your attention to the cost of a "click through," or visitor to your site. And, do not build a Web site for the sole purpose of generating transactions. These types of sites can be high-cost, frequently high- risk, and require frequent changes. They must be added into your customer acquisition cost.

Tip 2: Measure Consistently
Measure the lifetime value of the customer, and keep that measure consistent regardless of the medium. Just because Web media work faster than offline media, does not mean your internal drivers will work faster. In other words, once you get an initial response, it will still take the same amount of time to get a customer to renew, or to buy more, or to do whatever action you measure to arrive at a model for lifetime value.

Tip 3: Drive to Scale
One of the biggest problems with Web advertising is that the best sources of new customers is often the least scalable. We see direct marketers who often get great initial results, but lack the ability to grow those same results. If you get new customers at a cost that is less than your allowable by using one method or source, you may quickly find that the results are impossible to repeat. Find the sources that will in fact be able to scale, and make them work to drive big results.

Tip 4: Reassign Risk
Do not pay for anything that is short of the results you expect in traditional channels. A customer is a customer. Said another way, publishers and sellers of Web media are under pressure, and you can take advantage of this by buying only on a cost-per-acquisition basis. This shifts the risk to the media source that must now work harder to offer you true accountability and fulfill on promises.

Tip 5: Test to Win
Web marketing allows a much greater degree of testing and a much quicker understanding of results than traditional media. Use this to your advantage. Test as much as possible. Build to test everything, from offer to premium to creative. Build multiple versions of everything. Work with someone who has a platform that enables you to test. Remember that marketing knowledge drives your results, not technology knowledge.

Tip 6: Do not get distracted by the wrong battles
We are often asked how to measure the "spill-over" effects of advertising in one medium into another. This strikes us as a distraction, best used by those who cannot deliver results in their own medium. Web media must prove itself to be an effective medium at delivering customers within the costs of traditional advertising sources, and within the confines of the medium itself.

The bottom line is that direct marketers are realising that their current skills serve them well in Web marketing. Risk aversion is a good thing and measuring for results serves a marketer well regardless of where the skill is applied.

Great tips from the DMA to remember and adhere to. The successful companies out there are realising that an integrated business and marketing approach is key to their survival.

Winnifred Knight

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