Direct Marketing: Get Relevant, Get Results – Part I

Written by Bill Michael
eMarketing Manager, Xerox Corporation

You understand the benefits of direct marketing, its effectiveness for your customers and the value it can deliver for your bottom line. But actually doing it, and doing it well – now that’s a completely different story!
DMA states the response rate of direct mail is more than 30x higher than that of email, with an average response rate of 4.4% compared with the 0.12% of email. Offering direct marketing services can help you deliver endless value to your customers, transitioning your company from a print provider to a trusted adviser for marketing strategy and print production.
Crowd at Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation
But becoming a strategic partner involves more than simply adding to your service offerings – you’ll also need a sales team in place capable of selling direct marketing services. If this sounds intimidating – just remember, you aren’t alone and Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day. If making the jump into marketing services was so easy, everyone would be doing it!
We recently gathered with a large group of print providers, marketing service providers and industry experts to discuss everything-direct marketing at the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation in Webster, New York. Our Thought Leadership Workshop covered:

  • Psychology based marketing and how to trigger the unconscious minds of your consumers
  • The art and science of selling direct marketing
  • Real examples of how customer database information can be utilized to market more personally
  • Integrated direct marketing opportunities using XMPie offerings

Psychology-Based Marketing: Direct Marketing that taps into consumers’ unconscious mind
During our workshop, Jeanette McMurtry of e4marketing explained the importance of understanding the thought processes and unconscious mind of your consumer. This allows you to better position direct marketing campaigns for success. Brand loyalty doesn’t exist today like in the past. 52% of a company’s ‘highly loyal’ customers will be reduced in one year’s time, with 33% leaving for a competing brand. 60% of brands will lose at least half of their customers from year-to-year.
So what does ESP and direct marketing have in common? Jeanette explained how human behavior is based upon two fundamental premises: the avoidance of pain and pursuit of pleasure. Identifying the pain your customer’s end-users are trying to avoid, and addressing through a well-thought out direct marketing campaign can drive incredible results. Each consumer’s behavior is guided by its id, ego, and superego, as explained in Freud’s theory of personality. If your customer is looking to create a campaign to reach 100 consumers, they are actually reaching out to 300 because of the varying personalities! As a marketer – it is critical to understand how different personalities affect loyalty to brand and purchasing behavior.
Do you know what makes your customer’s target audience feel happy and what they value? Happiness and an understanding of what is important to them can drive purchase behavior. By knowing what messaging will resonate with end-users, a campaign can more accurately be designed. Edelman Good Purpose Survey found that 71% say they will make a point to buy from companies with similar values as their own. Is it a coincidence that this year’s Super Bowl ad that generated one of the top purchase-intent scores was created for Got Milk? They understood their female audience and what messaging would resonate, crafting an advertisement that conveyed how their product can help in the caring for their family.
Jeanette then went into detail on the importance of color and messaging in campaigns, and how they each uniquely affect consumer response. Studies show within 90 seconds, a consumer will make an unconscious judgment of a product, and 60-90% of that judgment is based upon the use of color. Choosing the right messaging can help tap into consumers’ unconscious. Words such as ‘dependable’, ‘limited time’, and ‘approved’ are proven to be emotionally charged. How a message is framed is also a critical consideration, as ‘free’ speaks louder than ‘two-for-one’.
Easier said than done, but by understanding the unconscious mind of your customer’s end-user, you can better develop a psychologically relevant campaign that will drive a desired behavior.
A Look Inside Relevant Direct Marketing Programs
Shelley Sweeney, Vice President Service Bureau/Direct Marketing at Xerox, shared several examples of direct marketing campaigns that have utilized database information to market more personally. One that really stood out was a campaign for the New York Mets, who were moving into a new stadium but were struggling to drive attendance. In a typical day, a consumer is exposed to roughly 3,000 media messages. They pay attention to 52 and will positively remember 4. For the Mets, a relevant and highly personalized campaign was necessary to drive a behavior – purchase of season tickets!
The campaign targeted group sales, using a database of 3,000 groups that had attended games in the past, as well as a purchased mailing list that brought the total to 6,800 groups. Database information included the organization name, contact name, address and email address. Variable marketing pieces were created and included the name of the organization, the group leaders surname sprawled across the back of a jersey (using XMPie uImage) and specific messaging and imagery reflecting the group’s category and likely interests (boy scout organizations included different messaging/images than business organizations, for example).
The list of 6,800 groups was split in half to create a test group (Shelley emphasized this during the workshop), with 3,400 receiving static mass-marketing pieces similar to what the Mets had been sending in the past – while the other 3,400 received the newly- created customized mailers. Three weeks later, a follow-up mailing was sent to the same divided list.
The results were quite impressive: the data-driven mailer saw a 57.2% increase in group ticket sales over the static control mailer. Revenue from the data-driven mailer was 40.9% higher than revenue from the static mailer. Even more impressive, the Mets saw an 80% increase in group ticket sales over the previous season.
What have you found to be critical considerations for successful direct marketing? Check out these other direct-marketing related posts:

Part II of our Direct Marketing recap will discuss the art and science of selling direct marketing services, as well as a look into integrated direct marketing opportunities using XMPie. Jeanette McMurtry of e4marketing can be contacted for more information on the Psychology of Direct Marketing.

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  1. steve burdette May 14, 2013 -

    The evidence is clear as to results of successful campaigns incorporating ESP. Although much ground has been made in collecting and filtering data, the fact remains that current data is still far behind the technology utilizing such data. The majority of failed Direct Marketing is due to poor data. Affordable, accurate and timely data is challenging to collect, maintain and utilize. The ability of data companies to collect names and addresses and then add what we are lead to believe is tangible insight into a contacts likes and dislikes is impossible to verify, thus making the risk unknown.
    The future challenges us to find solutions to gather information on the next generation and that information will come from social media.

  2. Jeanette McMurtry May 16, 2013 -

    Great post Steve. I am finding the most powerful direct marketing integrates modeled data with personalized messaging that is based upon the processes of the unconscious mind. Seeing huge lifts in response and revenue when all of these come together. If direct marketers are willing to invest in current technologies to create psychologically, personalized marketing programs, we will continue to achieve strong results. We are lucky to have so many tools to drive our efforts today.

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