The Many Paths of Direct Marketing
To remain relevant to customers and boost the bottom line, today’s direct marketing campaigns must move across the borders of direct marketing media nimbly and fluidly. More importantly, marketing channels need to work in unison so that prospects and customers receive not only a consistent message, but one that builds a case for your products and brand. Does your direct mail creative prominently feature a Web site address where customers can find out more about your product and the particular offer being pitched? Do your search engine marketing (SEM) efforts coordinate with your print ad copy? There are many ways to integrate offline and online direct marketing efforts. Here are two examples of marketers whose multichannel strategies engage customers at varying points in the buying cycle and across a variety of communications media—strategies that build on the message of why each marketer has the best solutions to meet its respective customers’ needs.
Speaking in Broad Terms
Ensuring that all channels—online and offline—support each other is one of the ways HP Home & Home Office Store, the direct-to-
consumer e-commerce business of technology solutions provider HP, drives sales and ROI, two of its most important metrics. These dual objectives were the main motivators behind HP Home & Home Office Store’s back-to-school initiative, which tied search engine optimization (SEO) to e-mail and offline direct marketing efforts. The campaign, which ran during July and August of 2005, combined aggressive bidding on broad category keywords with relevant, timely, event-oriented ad copy throughout HP’s catalog, inserts and e-mail, as well as print and TV advertising.
Typically, brand- and product-specific terms, such as “HP Pavilion” or “Compaq Presario,” convert better than broader terms such as “laptop,” “notebook,” “computer” and “printer,” which also cost more and convert at a lower rate. However, optimizing paid search on these broader terms during the back-to-school program allowed HP to reach consumers much earlier in the purchase process. “We already had been using the broader category terms, but … if we were going to try to drive growth of search, we really needed to increase our presence on these terms,” explains Catherine Paschkewitz, manager of consumer marketing for HP Home & Home Office Store.