Data Driven: Ignore the Org Chart
When you combine a higher average order value, greater conversion of one-time customers to two-time customers, and a historically stronger lifetime value of direct mail customers, the easy answer is that mailers would be foolish not to have some direct mail acquisition efforts as part of their overall prospecting mix.
One of the great obstacles to acquiring new customers through direct mail, but converting them online, is measuring success. How do you separate online visitors who come in through mail efforts from regular website visitors? Did the direct mail piece drive the online conversion? Simply including a website address is not sufficient.
Creating personalized urls (PURLs) or personalized landing pages is one method that allows the Web analytics team to determine if the customer was originally acquired through print or online. In addition, enabling prospects to share offers from PURLs through social media and/or e-mail has frequently increased overall response rates.
Online customer acquisition should never be substituted for a single print acquisition approach. The immediacy of online marketing generates responses now from prospects that print acquisition efforts could take months to reach. The breadth of services or products online cannot be completely reflected in print. And the sheer volume of potential prospects (including international) is unmatched through any other marketing approach.
It's critical for overall customer satisfaction to create a one-brand, multichannel approach. Common promotions, creative strategy and pricing benefit the overall brand. The days when the print marketing team and the Web marketing team did not even know each other's names, let alone each other's contact plans, promotions and pricing strategies, is not the approach of an integrated marketing solution. No matter what the org chart shows, given the benefits of both online and print customer acquisition, it is reckless not to coordinate a multichannel contact strategy process.