Editor’s Notes: Mighty Media Pairings
Forcing your direct mail package or free-standing insert into the cold, harsh world by itself is not the truest path to success in this brave, new age of direct marketing. Rather, enterprising companies continue to discover the effectiveness of channel integration to optimize response.
For example, a shopping trip to the GAP Web site during last year’s holiday season revealed a smart cross-over strategy for turning the company’s TV commercials into Web sales. Instead of making visitors hunt high and low on its site to find, say, the sweater actress Amanda Peet modeled in the commercials, the GAP made a special section featuring this TV-promoted merchandise accessible from its home page.
Another media-combo example: When e-mail first came onto the direct marketing scene, many people predicted that its lower cost, quick test results and targeting capabilities would mean trouble for direct mail. Now companies are using e-mail not to replace direct mail campaigns, but to pre-test creative and offer ideas before testing them in the direct mail channel.
And while insurance company The Hartford (profiled in this month’s cover story, “Surrounding a Market,”) gets its best results for its AARP automobile and homeowner insurance program from direct mail, it supports its target audience’s need for more control over the marketing process with access to a variety of response channels—even as the prospect moves from channel to channel. For example, Web pages feature toll-free phone numbers that prospects can call whenever they want to discuss program features with a Hartford representative.
I’m a firm believer that companies need to invest more in their Web sites to drive traffic and then enchant these visitors to come back again and again. With this in mind, Target Marketing has invited NETexponent CEO Peter Figueredo to regularly discuss the many ways marketers can beef up their Web traffic through online advertising, search engine optimization and more. He kicks off his quarterly contribution to the E-commerce Link column this issue with some must-read guidelines on how to avoid negative exposure, lawsuits and fraud associated with participation in affiliate marketing and pay-for-performance online advertising programs.