Learning from 2009. Planning for 2011.

By | August 10, 2010

By Tom A. Wilde, CEO & Vice Chairman W.A. Wilde

Here we are: the dog days of summer. For marketing departments, it’s prime season for planning—for both the balance of the year and ahead to 2011. So what’s worked so far in 2010? It’s no secret that marketing departments were hit heavy by budget cuts in 2009 because of the economic downturn. However, the lessons from the prior year have started to payoff in 2010; we are more resourceful and more efficient with our smaller marketing budgets.

In 2009, some direct marketers were quick to cut direct mail from their marketing mix and focus solely on the online channel. In 2010, direct mail has made a comeback. Marketers have realized that when used effectively, it is necessary to their multi-channel marketing mix and can be one of the best tools for starting a conversation with their customers.

To that end, the advent of digital printing methods has allowed increased flexibility for companies to be more audience-focused. It’s not enough to just personalize the greeting of a marketing piece; marketers can use the technology to create campaigns that speaks relevantly to their customers at the individual level based on demographics and previous engagement with campaigns. Further, digital print technology allows for these greater design freedoms with quicker turnaround times.

Marketers can leverage direct mail as a launch pad for their online marketing efforts. For instance, a highly personalized direct mail piece can drive a customer to a PURL where they can access highly personalized online content that is specific to their engagement with the company. The PURLs then can direct customers to the company’s social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, where they can engage with fellow customers and ultimately creating a community around your company.

As you look to the rest of 2010 and beyond, remember the lessons of resourcefulness and efficiency when planning your marketing programs. Find out what channels are most effective at getting them to act, and use that marketing mix to create a cohesive marketing message. Create conversations with your customers, don’t talk at them in some channel that they aren’t even listening to.

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