E-commerce Link: Plays Well With Others
Prior to widespread use of the Internet, the purchasing process was simple: An individual first became aware of a product or service through a direct mail piece, print ad or TV commercial. Then, the person filled out an order form, called a toll-free number or visited a store to make the purchase.
Today, marketing is much more complex. There are a number of paths and channels a prospective customer can take in the buying process:
- Online channels: search, social, videos, comparative shopping sites, coupon sites, product reviews and banner ads.
- Offline channels: direct mail, print, media and retail.
- Mobile channels: mobile apps, SMS, mobile search and the mobile version of a site.
For multichannel marketers, there are many channels to master. At the outset, you don't know what will stimulate interest. To be effective, you need to be where potential customers are with marketing efforts that will motivate them and move them through the purchasing funnel. Plus, people in the purchasing funnel have channel preferences that will change over time depending on where they are in the decision process.
Good multichannel marketing provides great rewards. Here's a quote from Glen Senk, former CEO of Urban Outfitters: "… multichannel customers spends two to three times more than single-channel shoppers … customers who engage with the company across three or more channels spend six times more than the average consumer."
Let's examine how email can be employed profitably in integrated marketing.
Email and Direct Mail
Use email to support direct mail campaigns by either sending a pre-announcement that features the catalog cover or direct mail piece, or by following up a mail drop with an email timed to arrive after the mailing is received. Consider these two examples of email and direct mail:
• Cataloger Miles Kimball conducted a test where a portion of the house list only received catalogs and another group received both catalogs and emails. The email plus catalog group generated 19 percent higher sales.