Cover Story: Full Sweep
"It's important to note that while online and mobile are critical to the future of the company, we haven't given up on direct mail. We will continue to grow this channel as fits with customers' preferences," says John Princiotta, senior vice president of marketing. He explains that PCH views direct mail as a strong acquisition and retention tool, as well as a good vehicle for cross-promotion of the company's online and mobile offerings.
Given that its average offline-acquired customer is at least 40 years old, direct mail obviously appeals to a slightly older audience than, say, mobile and social media marketing. "We attract a pretty broad audience," says Princiotta, noting that the online customer tends to be slightly younger, but not greatly.
But PCH doesn't rule out direct mail for a younger audience; its customer-driven strategy looks at various data, including demographics and behavior, to identify profitable multichannel contact paths for respondents. If the findings point to a proclivity for a particular online-acquired 20-something to respond to a direct mail piece, then he'll be queued up, provided he either opted into or didn't opt out of being contacted this way.
The campaigns themselves echo each other from a commercial perspective, with the main difference being that the online offerings can feature more bells and whistles due to the digital world's more interactive nature.
Also on the print front, PCH uses free-standing inserts to drive traffic to its online properties and support awareness of its direct mail campaigns. And it serves as a cost-effective source for testing new offers, creative and media outlets, says Goldberg, because it provides a quick read on performance. In fact, all the different channels employed by PCH serve in some capacity as test facilities for each other. "It's a concentrated multichannel approach that leverages our assets," Goldberg says, such as investments in creative, data, media, etc.