Editor’s Notes: Response Is a Two-Way Street
The results of Target Marketing's fourth annual Media Usage Forecast are in. While offline channels like direct mail and telemarketing still factor significantly into most respondents' plans, the love affair with all things digital grows. New media that cast the widest nets of audience reach at lower costs per thousand are being given budget money, taking slivers away from traditional vehicles like direct mail, DRTV, space advertising and insert media. E-mail has come out on top for a second year in a row, but even this golden child now has to share the media spend with its online cohorts social media, search engine optimization and mobile.
The increasing diversity in media plans clicks well with the findings on consumer trust released by PR firm Edelman. The 2009 edition of its Trust Barometer noted that people needed to hear something three to five times before they would believe it. And now the 2010 study shows people don't trust their friends and families as highly as we might think. While people appreciate their peers' opinions, they rely more on the expertise of academics, analysts, NGOs and others with professional credentials. And even those in the business press, I'm proud to report.
Neal Flieger, chairman of research firm StrategyOne, said it best during a video presentation of the 2010 Trust Barometer findings: "You'll let your neighbor tell you if they think you've lost weight, but you're not gonna let your neighbor tell you if you've got swine flu."
The message here for direct marketers is one you already seem to be taking to heart: What works now is using multiple media channels with various types of spokespeople, leveraging the communication features of each channel to imbue your marketing messages and customer conversations with the information that makes the most transparent and compelling case for your offer.
Another development from this year's Media Usage Forecast research is the jump in percentage of respondents listing social media as a tool for acquisition and retention. Did these folks already read Powered Chief Interruptor Joseph Jaffe's new book, "Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones" (read Managing Editor Melissa Ward's excellent review)? Harking back to predictions marketing visionary Seth Godin made years ago about the importance of customer experience and influence in attracting new customers, Jaffe ties these concepts in with the current media landscape, consumer mind-set and marketing processes. With the rise of new media and consumers' use of them (like the dialogue of social media) essentially flipping the script on marketers, guess what Jaffe says has to adapt and evolve? Yep, it's the marketing process.
Jaffe's new take on AIDA goes like this: acknowledgment, dialogue, incentivization, action—or, ADIA. Offline and online, it's something to think about.