It is no secret that your audience no longer resides within one channel. Twenty years ago, all you needed was an effective direct mail plan. Retail, Frequency, and Monetary (RFM) was king, and you could leverage that to intelligently segment your audience to deliver mail pieces that were more relatable. Email followed and allowed marketers to reach their audience immediately, quickly providing relevant information to capitalize on behavior. I can remember the reaction from clients as we discussed the concept of co-targeting their online and offline efforts. It was revolutionary!
Our world is almost completely online now, or at least it feels that way. As marketers, we have redefined how we collect data on our respective audiences, but it often seems that our marketing approach has not adjusted accordingly. We all understand that subscribers expect messages that relate to their challenges. We analyze engagement metrics, review website analytics, and comb through our databases to utilize the digital breadcrumbs our constituents leave behind, which leads to more relevant messaging. The part of the equation that often seems forgotten is understanding where our audience wants to engage with us and tailoring our marketing plans to meet this expectation.
Think about how you personally approach a relationship with a brand you like. Do you subscribe to emails from them? Do you follow them on Facebook? Twitter? All the above and more? When we find something that we connect with, it doesn’t feel intrusive to receive their marketing across multiple channels. In fact, in some ways it is preferable because then we get to choose how we want to engage, and when. This choice, in a lot of ways, provides a sense of control in the subscriber/organization relationship.
From a marketer’s perspective, this is powerful knowledge. If you can understand the where and how, along with the what, your marketing plans take on a whole new dimension. I recently worked with an organization that studied audience engagement as part of a membership renewal program. They isolated members that were not engaging with their email marketing efforts and found that many of these people responded positively to direct mail. Knowing this, they revised their marketing plan, alter how they targeted certain segments, and provide more messages within the preferred channel resulting in a very successful campaign.
But according to Adobe, only 14% of organizations are currently running coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels. Perhaps the issue isn’t that that we don’t understand what channels our audience prefers. Marketers have had insight into this data for years now. The amount of available analytics surrounding email marketing, and marketing in general, is staggering. The key issue then becomes how we are leveraging this data.
Advances in marketing technology over the last few years help to provide data points and information that were never possible. While the advent of this technology is incredible, have we adjusted how we craft our marketing plans? Just as our marketing teams should no longer include siloed roles, our marketing efforts should not be separated by channel. Development of an integrated marketing plan that includes contact points for all channels provides a clear understanding of how you are communicating with your audience.
As we look forward to a successful 2017, be mindful of your marketing strategy. Bring your marketing team together and create an integrated plan that includes all channels. Be mindful of how your audience is engaging with you, what content segments resonate most, and adjust your communications as needed, regardless of how big or small. After all, sometimes the little adjustments make the biggest differences.