Today’s advertising market is far more robust, diverse and saturated than virtually any other time in the past, largely thanks to the prevalence of new digital platforms, solutions and strategies. In many ways, digital marketing has been viewed as a boon to competition between larger and smaller firms, essentially leveling the playing field and allowing entrepreneurs to gain much stronger visibility in their industries than would have been possible only a decade or two ago.
However, while many have started to view digital and physical marketing as two separate and distinct areas, they are far more converged and reflective of one another in reality. The best practices of segmentation, targeting, content creation, customer interaction management and more are increasingly consistent between digital and offline campaigns, and all businesses must focus on unifying their own advertising strategies in this regard.
One of these best practices is personalization that serves the dual purpose of making recipients feel special and creating a distinctive brand image that will be unique in the industry. With many of the pursuits taking place in search engine optimization, content advertising, social media and email marketing, it only makes sense to apply the tenets involved therein to direct mail campaigns as soon as possible.
Practices and advantages of direct mail
TechTarget recently reported that the use of analytics solutions and tools to guide decision-making and specialization in digital advertising is working out well thus far, but businesses still have a far distance to travel to reach optimal outcomes. The problem is, currently, that personalization might not be all that personal, meaning that half-baked approaches to these matters are not going to trick customers into believing that they are indeed the specific targets of campaigns.
Rather, personalization within the interaction management category must be carefully handled, and this is true for virtually all types of marketing and sales pursuits, regardless of whether they are online or offline. According to the news provider, what might be the most challenging aspect of this is striking the balance between computerized assistance and a personal, human touch, as going too far in one direction or the other will simply not come back with the expected returns.
The source affirmed that the ideal approach to personalization would involve the use of analytics and similar technologies to uncover some of the preferences and behaviors of target markets. Then, skilled marketers should use that information as a support within decision making. Think of it as leveraging technology to guide, but not autonomously drive, a marketing campaign.
“Too much of the [customer] experience has been mechanized to the point where it doesn’t feel very human,” customer service consultant and author Chip Bell told TechTarget. “We’ve experienced more high tech without high touch.”
Now, while the implications of these assertions are more than clear in the digital marketing arena, they also need to be digested and adhered to when pursuing direct mail campaigns.
The direct mail balance
This is a dilemma that can be seen in so much of today’s private sector dealings, in that technology is not necessarily at a point of performance in which the human element can be completely forgotten. Rather, this will likely never happen, unless of course some science fiction occurrence becomes a reality.
When developing, executing and optimizing direct mail marketing campaigns, professionals must be focused on the implementation of solutions that will help make sense of customer behaviors. Following the completion of that step, they can then use their own experience and skills to put those insights into action. Once that balance has been achieved, the chances of enjoying optimal performances in direct mail advertising over time will be inherently higher.