Update, Upgrade, Convert
Having a hard time finalizing your 2008 contact strategy? You’re not alone. The mission hasn’t changed: You want to develop the most efficient way to convert prospects into first-time buyers and first-time buyers into repeat customers. But piece together the rapid pace of technological change, the volatile economy, the ongoing migration and evolution from phone to Web ordering, then add the likely distraction of the presidential election throughout the year, and it can make any marketer feel like throwing in the towel in bewilderment.
Realistically, there are only three ways to proactively convert known prospects to buyers and one-time buyers to repeat buyers: mail, e-mail or call them. The challenge is to combine these in the right mix at the right time for each segment to achieve maximum benefit. The best approach is CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement), where you refine your strategy through an iterative process.
A few years back, the frequency of mailing customers was the most challenging aspect of contact strategy planning. Each housefile segment “supported” some theoretical number of mailings (sometimes zero). You just had to figure out how often to mail each group.
Today that theory remains valid, but online ordering and e-mail marketing complicate integrated strategy planning. B-to-B (and some B-to-C) catalogers incorporate outbound telemarketing. You can add other tactics such as solo mailings and postcards to the mix. Lest that not be challenge enough, we endeavor to maintain consistency of our “brand” throughout all customer communications.
Allocating Marketing Efforts
We sift through more data than ever to figure out the true effect of each marketing effort, determining how many and which contacts to allocate. Percentages of phone orders are decreasing as more customers order via the Web. Using matchbacks and analytics to identify what drives online buyers to purchase continually is obviously becoming more important.