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Why You Need a MultiChannel Strategy

We live in an era of gadgets. Research shows that 94% of people have their cellphone within arm’s reach at all times, consumers are shopping on tablets while watching television, and more email is opened on mobile devices than a desktop. Customers continue to move into a multichannel world, and responsive marketers need to go there, too.

Channel integration isn’t something marketers can afford to ignore. According to Target Marketing’s Media Usage Survey, 37% of marketers’ 2016 budgets went to online marketing, 29% went to print (direct mail, magazines, newspapers), and 21% went to live events. The rest was split between radio, television, and space advertising.

Even as direct mail remains the bedrock of highly effective marketing campaigns, digital components are increasingly part of the mix. According to Target Marketing, the following digital channels are growing the most rapidly:

• Online advertising (54%)
• Email (49%)
• Mobile marketing (38%)
• Search engine marketing (41%)
• Search engine optimization (43%)
• Social media engagement (55%)
• Social media advertising (49%)

Consumers’ lives are multichannel, so marketing is increasingly multichannel, too.

The multichannel approach also produces better results. In a data analysis of retailers, McKinsey found that the more channels customer use to engage with the store, the more they spend on an annual basis. Customers who shopped both in store and who used catalogs spent three times more than those who did not. When Internet marketing is added to the mix, revenue grows by four times. Likewise, customers who shopped online spent four times as much when catalogs were added to the mix and six times more when they also shopped in store.

How the Brain Responds to Print vs. Digital

One of the marketing surprises of the last few years has been how strongly Millennials—the smartphone and fully wired generation—respond to direct mail. In fact, according to “USPS Mail Moments 2016,” Millennials are more likely than other generations to read, organize, and sort their mail than all other generations. They are also less likely to discard their mail without reading it.

Why do even so-called digital natives still respond so strongly to print? Could it be, in part, how we are wired? The answer is yes. Neuromarketing research shows that our brains react differently to printed material than to digital media.

To more fully understand how the brain reacts to physical vs. digital mail, the United States Postal Service partnered with the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University’s Fox School of Business to gauge responses to physical and digital advertising pieces. Researchers used brain images, biometrics (e.g. heart rate and respiration), eye tracking, and questionnaires to measure reactions.

They found that:

• Participants processed digital ad content more quickly.
• They spent more time with physical ads.
• Physical ads triggered activity in a part of the brain that corresponds with value and desirability.
• Participants had a stronger emotional response to physical ads and remembered them better.

Canada Post found similarly intriguing results in its neuromarketing research project. They measured the response to campaigns that used the same creative and messaging for both physical and digital media.

They found that:

• Direct mail campaigns required 21% less cognitive effort to process.
• Participants’ recall was 70% higher if they were exposed to direct mail rather than a digital ad.
• Activation in parts of the brain that correspond to motivation response was 20% higher for direct mail.

As human beings, we are wired to respond more strongly to physical, printed messages. For marketers who want advertising with long-lasting impact and easy recollection, printed materials can clearly make a difference.

Excerpted and edited from the USPSDelivers.com presentation “Still Relevant: A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail” (2017).

How Do You Know Your Efforts Are Working?

Creating a personalized print or multichannel marketing campaign takes significant investment in time, energy, and resources. You want to get maximum return on your investment. How do you know what is working and what isn’t? You have to measure the results.

Measuring results goes beyond determining ROI. Sure, it’s important to know what kind of return you are getting, but it’s just as important to ask why you got the results you did. What factors influenced the conversion rate and value per sale? Why was this campaign more or less effective than the one before?

Say you give respondents a chance to win a sweepstakes for $500 if they log into a website and fill out a survey. The campaign generates a 5% response rate with 28% of those responses converting to sales of $200 each. It’s important to calculate the ROI on this campaign, but it’s equally important to test which parts of the campaign were responsible for the results and what happens if you change them.

For example, what if you increase the incentive to $2,500? Does the response rate go up? If so, does the dollar per sale increase, as well? Or does it not have a significant effect on the response rate or value per sale at all?

Don’t stop at one or even two tests. Analyze over time.

• If you increase the incentive even more, does the response rate continue to go up? Or does it flatten out?
• Does the effectiveness change based on the audience you are targeting?
• Does a sweepstakes to win a free mountain bike motivate one audience, while a Nintendo Wii motivates another?

Mix it up, and test, test, test. This is critical intelligence that will help you refine your programs over time and get the maximum results out of your marketing dollars.

Need help? Just ask!

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