Target Marketing March 2014
It's almost as though Stephanie Miller was readying for her closing keynote roundtable when she wrote "Mad Men vs. Math Men: 5 Ways to Automate for Both Sides of Your Marketing Brain." While the article by the VP of member initiatives for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) was penned for ClickZ on Aug. 19, it echoes her upcoming panel "Old Rules That Work in the New World."
Usually, at the beginning of the year, I try to look at what marketers might expect from Congress in the coming year. For 2014, I'm taking a different approach. This year, I'm looking at the less obvious actions—the ones we don't expect to have an impact on us—and examining the unintended consequences that will, in fact, impact our businesses.
How many times in my life have I offered to work for good causes that were in trouble? Pro bono. Free. I remember the development guy from Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences contacted me for pro bono help. I took him to lunch and regaled him with stories of the Who's Mailing What! archive of direct mail—over 200,000 mailings going back 25 years. I assembled a sampling of powerful control mailings from museums around the country and delivered them to him. My explanation: these worked. Let's pick out several we like and "steal smart."
Many fitness routines concentrate on strengthening core muscles before worrying about the rest of the body. eHealth, a Mountain View, Calif.-based online marketplace for individual and family health insurance, concentrates on its core strengths and hires the corporate equivalent of personal trainers for the parts that need more help. "We are not fulfillment experts," says Gary Matalucci, eHealth's VP of customer care. "And, as our volume has increased, I think we looked to find efficiencies leveraging, whether it's technology, scale or relationships with other vendors, to help with areas that aren't our areas of core expertise."
One of the frequently asked questions about email marketing is "How often should I mail?" Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. The answer will depend on how robust your email program is, your email preference center, how diligent you are as a marketer, etc. So to begin, let's explore the cons and the pros of frequency.
More marketers are spending more money (and time) with email, social media and paid/organic search marketing than ever before, according to the responses to our "2014 Media Usage Survey." As one B-to-C respondent sees it, there is "potential for more cost-effective growth online than in the mail." On the other hand, there's a countermove of companies who see a rising tide of what one B-to-B respondent calls "too much noise in the digital world," and they're pushing back with more direct mail and telemarketing spending.
B-to-B marketing is fundamentally different today than it was in years past, such as when I entered the field in 1979. Let me contrast then and now to show you the major differences and how it affects your work.
Once, there was a Constitution-ordained, universal delivery service of hard-copy, print communications called the United States Postal Service. It was affordable, reliable and the most efficient of its kind in the world. Direct mail was its bread and butter, and many brands that sought to find and keep customers in a very targeted manner used the service avidly.
Content marketing is the most important trend in our media usage survey, and it's not even a media channel. It's a strategy that leverages several digital channels and marketing tactics, and it has become even more popular in 2014 than it was last year: 89 percent of our respondents engage in content marketing, and 65 percent are budgeting more for it.