Database: Playing Your Cards Right
The concepts of demographics and location extend into the digital world. The proper balance of digital to print campaigns needs to account for the individual participant's digital usage patterns, prior response rates, online and offline location history and, where available, a proper understanding of the persona and/or identity of the individual at each given place.
In other words, it's not enough to just know where someone is anymore. Marketers must endeavor to apply a sociological understanding of what frame of mind the target individual is in to further increase the likelihood of success.
Information to help marketers determine that is gaining traction. Today, it still isn't easy to combine online and offline data—for privacy issues and technical reasons. But profiles of each consumer exist on each channel, albeit anonymously. Your phone, your laptop or your iPad have shadows of your behavioral patterns carved into them. Creating the appropriate media mix, particularly between email and print, should leverage both the established data you can access, as in the example above, and the online, newer sources of data you can access going forward.
Know When to Play
As the industry has looked at demographics, geography, transactions and behavioral data sets to create the appropriate mix, a new focus has emerged around prioritizing data sets into more time-focused usage. This is a natural offshoot of the exploding mobile market and increasing awareness of "location now" data about each potential customer. So, while sorting on demographics or location alone now seems outdated, so too is the concept of generating a media mix without taking into account where someone is right now. Or, even more illuminating, where they've been and what they've been doing up until right now.
As individuals allow their mobile devices to "check-in" their locations and social media sites to chronicle their lifestreams, the amount of real-time information available to marketers is skyrocketing. To know someone is home when he opens his direct mail is an obvious assumption, but to know someone is home for the first time after being on a family vacation in Florida for the past week is entirely different. Marketers must manage their delivery, follow-up and mixture of digital and print content in light of this emerging data or suffer the indifference of well-trained six-deck direct marketing shufflers everywhere.