Integrating multiple media channels with direct marketing

One thing that came up repeatedly at this year's DMA Conference in Las Vegas was: How do you optimize your direct marketing content across media channels?

The three themes of the conference – big data, customer engagement, and marketing accountability – all point to integrating channels as direct marketing's new frontier. Specifically, it's about how to make social media dance to your overall branding identity.

So far, nobody is dominating in the multi-channel direct marketing game, so the field is wide open for innovation. Blue Cross Blue Shield is one company that has been able to turned its weakness into a winner by combining phone sales with mobile search. Instead of creating a killer app or mobile website, BCBS built in click-to-call functionality, so that mobile users could contact their customer service center directly from the SERP.

Another leader exploiting the strengths of different channels for an integrated campaign is Coach. They whipped up a buzz on Facebook for a new look-book, so the print campaign came with a built-in audience ready to buy.

There's an old saw that goes “Marketing makes plans while sales makes money.” That's what marketing accountability is going to change through big data's insights on consumer behaviorThe DMA expects sales from direct marketing to grow at about 5 percent this year, and most of that will be the result of cross-channel marketing.

One way to foster tighter integration of your campaigns is to start with the customer and work backwards, according to Shar Van-Boskirk, an analyst at Forrester Research. She suggests that patterns in your customer data will point the way to your next logical step.

“Organizationally align people who are responding to different channels into the same database. Integrate a loyalty program with an outbound email program and online booking engine, for example. Instead of thinking of them as three separate groups with three separate goals going after the same customers, try to nurture the customer in a holistic way.”

As you develop your integrated campaign, don't forget that we are here to help no matter what medium your message demands. Whether you need sources, selects, costs and other valuable information to help you find and evaluate lists and refine your list strategy (using the SRDS direct marketing database) or are looking for ways to integrate your message across digital or local media, SRDS can help. 

What about you—what have you heard or learned about at this year's DMA?

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