Scotiabank and Frederick’s of Hollywood mix media to propel customer interaction.
Long before the Internet, direct marketing companies practiced multichannel marketing, especially business-to-business firms. But this layered communication approach was more about pushing sales messages to prospects and customers than it was about being accessible and ready to take sales or questions at the prospect’s or customer’s convenience.
As the industry continues to realize, the Internet has completely transformed the direct marketer/customer relationship. By pairing e-mail and the Web with offline media, direct marketers are able to develop compelling campaigns that offer recipients the ultimate in communication choices.
Benefits of Channel Coordination
For Michael Seaton, director of e-marketing at Scotiabank, a Canadian financial services firm, channel selection for customer-oriented efforts is based on each customer segment that is isolated by various response models. Then, the Scotiabank marketing team works through considerations such as channel costs, customers’ demonstrated channel preferences and the fit between the message and the medium.
Seaton explains that an offer for online banking services presented via online media alone won’t reach the bank’s entire customer base, leaving potential users of this service under-served. Any one customer behavior viewed independent of other cues, he says, can result in pockets of missed marketing opportunities.
Frederick’s of Hollywood, a women’s intimate apparel marketer, also finds it’s important not to close off channel experiences to customers and prospects. For example, Frederick’s offers a virtual version of its current catalog to Web customers, in case visitors are not on the mailing list and prefer the experience of browsing catalog pages to scrolling through product listings, says Jennifer Bedolla, online marketing director for Frederick’s of Hollywood.
Other ways that Frederick’s tries to support multichannel commerce is by using e-mail pre-alerts to tease future catalog drops; these pre-alerts feature snapshots from the catalog so customers make the connection when their catalog arrives. In addition, Bedolla says, the Web site is stocked with merchandise from the catalog a week in advance of the drop, so these e-mailed customers can shop before their catalog arrives. She explains that this technique contributes to the migration of catalog shopper to online buyer; currently, 60 percent of housefile customers who receive a catalog go online to place their orders.