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Finding Marketing Success
in Uncertain Economic Times

By Chris Wagner

Multi-channel direct marketing uses targeted messages and timely results to maximize ROI

In today’s difficult economic climate, where unemployment rates continue to rise and consumer spending power continues to fall, a company’s marketing efforts can be the difference between keeping its ship afloat or watching it sink under the crashing waves. But with traditional mass marketing campaigns it typically takes months before you can really see if the campaign is working; which could mean months of wasted time and resources if it is not. So what’s the trick to finding marketing success without wasting all that time to test campaigns?

The answer is to move away from a mass marketing approach and look at targeted, one-to-one, multi-channel direct marketing. During challenging economic times especially, quality wins out over quantity. One-to-one direct marketing campaigns provide your customers with a personal touch that is customized to fit their needs, wants and lifestyle. Direct marketing also provides benchmarks to measure success quickly – because the effect of a direct marketing program is more easily measured. This allows you to make strategic decisions much more quickly, and provides you with the assurance that your dollars will be invested in high-return strategies.

However, many companies do not have the resources or expertise to begin a direct marketing campaign, because it is a new endeavor for them and marketing is not a core competency. In this case, it would be worth considering outsourcing marketing efforts to a direct marketer that has experience working with highly targeted consumer groups in many different markets, and utilizing the latest technologies to get messages out. While it might sound expensive, a good direct marketer can generate a high enough return on investment to actually pay for the program, and then some.

Based on your needs, a direct marketing company will come up with several solutions and channels that can deliver you the highest forecasted ROI possible. They can provide you with a full range of services to support new customer acquisition, existing customer retention (including customer care and technical support), existing customer share (upgrades, cross-sells and frequency increase), customer save strategy and customer win-back initiatives.

In addition, the direct marketer will offer several different functional channels for contacting a customer in a one-to-one interaction, such as inbound and outbound teleservices, e-mail and internet marketing including personalized URL’s, and individually customized direct mail pieces. The outsourcer should also utilize business intelligence to help you target intricately selected audiences for acquisition programs and identify attributes of your existing customers through demographic overlays, predictive modeling and data enhancement.

The end result is that your customers and potential customers will get your personalized message the way they prefer to receive it at the time that is best for them – drastically increasing the chance of a favorable response.

While navigating your marketing efforts through this down economy can seem like sailing through rough waters, a direct marketing outsourcer can serve as a lighthouse to guide you safely to your customers.  The days of mass acquisition programs, where the entire database is marketed the same way, are coming to an end. Companies need to adapt in these changing times, or they risk being left behind.

Chris Wagner is Vice President of Commercial Marketing of InfoCision Management Corporation, the second largest privately held teleservice company and is a leader in customer care services, commercial sales and marketing for a variety of Fortune 100 companies and smaller businesses. InfoCision is also a leading provider of inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, InfoCision operates 30 call centers at 12 locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. InfoCision has been named one of the top ten best employers in Ohio by the state chamber of commerce.  

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