GETTING A BULLSEYE
All marketing channels target the individual, but perhaps none as well as direct marketing.
Although the landscape has changed, direct mail is still an effective and engaging way to connect brands with customers, especially if customers are properly understood, Track managing director Andy Bell says.
“Ultimately the point is not just to reach people, it’s to make a connection, to elicit some form of response, in the moment.
“To do that we have to get alongside the customer in the moments that matter.”
Track, which took away 13 awards at last year’s New Zealand Direct Marketing awards, uses ‘contextual creativity’, using insight and creativity to make meaningful human connections, Bell says.
“In old-school mass advertising we’d hit everyone, customers and prospects, with the same message and no consideration of where they were in the customer journey.”
With increasing data availability, it’s now about reaching people with messages relevant to where they are on their journey.
“Two people visiting the same
NZ Herald online page might see two completely different Westpac ads based on where they are in the customer journey – and the message will likely be different when they next return.”
The biggest win of the night for Track was the Grand Prix award it shared with Air New Zealand for the Airpoints campaign, which disestablished Air New Zealand’s partnership with Fly Buys and took the two programmes head-to-head in customer loyalty.
Once they’d overcome the hurdle of getting Airpoints cards to 1.8 million members, the campaign used direct communications to guide members through their first forays into unfamiliar Airpoints territory.
The judges commented the campaign was "a rare standout", and Air New Zealand had persuaded hundreds of thousands of Kiwis to change their loyalty habits, saying “the strength of the entry is in the over arching strategy; it’s a big thought that has produced big results”.
Bell says the reason direct mail can sound old-school is because it’s a single channel among many that allow us to deliver moments of personal connection en masse. Arguably, he says, we’re in "the second golden age of CRM", where we can address people individually through an incredible range of channels – like digital display.
“What we’re really talking about is marketing one-on-one, datadriven marketing that allows us to identify, target, reach and connect with individuals.”
Increasingly businesses are becoming interested in data management platforms in a media sense, which create opportunities for increased effectiveness, Bell says.
“Combining media behavioural insight with first-party transactional data via the data management platform gives you a much richer picture of the customer and enables you to do so much more."
Joseph Silk of Chemistry Interaction, which celebrated nine wins at the Direct Marketing Awards, also sees the trend of businesses focusing on data to improve targeted results.
He says cheaper database tools, more data analytics companies and better and cheaper data capture through online tools, apps, social media, POS technology are aiding this.
“Better data means more knowledge about what people want and when, and hence better targeting and improved results. It’s a virtuous circle."
Direct mail marketing remains a strong delivery channel for real brand interaction, and this may be increasing in the world of fast forwarding ads, fakes news on social media, and high content saturation, he says.
“It is highly engaging, when done right. A DM piece is like a conversation between a brand to its target audience and should feel like a true demonstration of the brand tone of voice and look and feel.”
An example of this was Chemistry Interaction’s recent campaign for Placemakers to move customers to a new loyalty rewards programme.
Silk says connecting to tradies offline when they were taking a break from their busy lives was important.
“We wanted to be in the home when they had a chance to take our message in properly, rather than receive an email and end up in the bottom of their inbox.”
Using tailored and multi-segmented direct mail, Placemakers retained 100 percent of its high-value loyalty customers, 50 percent of eligible customers signed up to the programme and active customers increased by over 26 percent.
Although 95 percent of the agency's campaigns are multi-channel, Silk says direct mail is very much a part of the marketing mix. No matter the channel, he says an effective campaign is a simple formula – “right offer or message to the right people at the right time, delivered in a way that grabs their attention and provides them with a clear and simple way to respond".
Looking forward, Silk hopes direct mail delivered through the mail becomes interactive in its own right, using technology like AR and VR.
“Forgive me if this is before your time but I reckon Star Wars had it right when Princess Leia delivered a message to Obi Wan through R2-D2.”