The focus of this year's Direct Marketing Association Annual Conference & Exhibition was reflected in its title, The Global Event for Data-Driven Marketers. That focus on data-driven marketing was evident throughout the show. The seminars were packed and a majority of the talks had a focus on and link to how direct marketers manage and use vast streams of multichannel data. Keynote speaker Nate Silver, who rose to fame with his incredibly precise predictions of the 2012 presidential election, reflected on the reliance that marketers have on data and the value of knowing how to use and interpret data correctly.
According to Epsilon Targeting, B-to-B and B-to-C sales are on the rise as households and businesses break from the restrained spending of 2009. Epsilon Targeting's Annual Multichannel Trend Report, which is based on aggregated 2010 merchandise purchase data from the Abacus Cooperative database, indicates an increase in nearly all key metrics including transactions, sales per household or contact, average order size and transactions per household. Consumer sales and business offers are also showing growth in early Q1 2011 data.
If the USPS hasn't done an economic analysis of what will happen to catalog volume and its own profitability from catalogs, then it's fair to say they're being “uneconomic,” which violates the statute governing raising rates under the “exigent circumstances” exception.
Customers who receive a mail piece along with regular emails have response rates 32 percent to 130 percent higher than customers who only receive email communications. This indicates the effectiveness of an integrated marketing campaign that combines direct mail and email.
If you want a scalable ROI, one that protects the future of your business, you're going to have to figure out how to pull pennies out of a large audience every two hours. The process of pushing messages that extract dollars out of a large message is slowly fading into the past.
An Abacus/Epsilon webinar I took part in on Oct. 1 addressed the challenge all marketers face today: how to maintain or grow our active customer databases despite increased costs and declining sizes of lists that used to be available for prospecting. Where do we turn for help to meet this challenge? To our customer databases, our largest assets.
At a recent catalog/multichannel industry conference I attended, all the talk seemed to revolve around the same issue: When will response rates recover? Attendees’ prospecting quantities were almost universally down, and their focus had shifted to forecasting how consumers will respond in the second half of this year — especially the all-important holiday fourth quarter.
For the many years I’ve listened to Don Libey, the investor, catalog owner, motivational speaker and wearer of many other hats related to the multichannel marketing business, I’ve often enjoyed his crystal ball-heavy looks into the future of direct marketing. I can’t say I always agreed with them — and certainly some didn’t come true — but they certainly got audiences thinking and implementing the ideas they took away from his presentations.
One couldn’t leave the Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) in New Orleans last month without mixed feelings. People wondered, “Where will the catalog industry meet with a show that has a critical mass of attendees from the industry?” Some took this year's disappointing attendance as a sign that the catalog business has truly evolved into a multichannel industry, and that catalogers are harvesting the low-hanging fruit over in Internet-land.