Friday, May 4, 2012

Wires crossed on cross-channel marketing?

By John Blom and Margie Church

Lately, we and other marketing firms have been making a lot of noise about two very traditional marketing methods: direct mail and email. Time and again, it seems credit unions have misconceptions about how these different channels (print and electronic) work together. Some have the notion direct mail is too expensive or email is just plain worthless. After all, what good is the campaign if it ends up in the spam folder or Tuesday's trash bin? If you're still holding onto those fears, it's past time to learn more about how to use this combination effectively.
You might be wondering whether we have a vested interested in one over the other. The simple answer is no. Can we create an effective direct mail or email campaign? Absolutely. But we are stronger advocates of cross-channel marketing. Doing so doesn't have to add significant cost, but it can significantly increase ROI.
"I Need Advice."
When you look at your budget compared to your objectives, you might think you need to put all your eggs in one basket and do a bang-up job. You'd be right about the bang-up part. You might also be thinking you should create this fabulous, one-time campaign and lob it into the market. You'd have some success. Hail Mary marketing has a role, but it's a flash in the pan. You need frequency to make your brand memorable in the marketplace.
You've bumped into a brick wall. Before frustration takes over and you do the same thing you've always done or worse yet, do nothing, step back and ask yourself what really needs to be accomplished. Write that down. Now think about all the ways you could communicate that information to the market. Don't censor your ideas. That's the fun of brainstorming.
I bet when you look at the finished list, you'll see some crazy ideas and you'll also have listed things like send a letter, offer a free workshop, put a sign in the branches, etc. Those are perfect examples of cross-channel marketing. You already understand that doing a combination of these things puts your credit union's name and offer in front of members and non-members.
"Yeah, but doing all that stuff is really expensive, and I'm just one person here."
Simplify. Think about the times you've seen a car ad, for example, on television, heard it on the radio, and maybe saw it in the Saturday newspaper. They used the same graphics and message, just re-purposed for the different channel. And you remembered that, didn't you?
Here's how you can do it, too. Choose a strong headline and graphic. Start with direct mail. Use data systems or MCIF to identify the members and prospects most likely to qualify and/or respond to your offer. Compared to a mass mailing (prospecting only), the number of addresses could drop significantly by doing this. That's okay, because this group of people is most likely to say yes, and that increases your ROI.
Next, grab qualified member email addresses and send with the same offer the following week. Use the same attention-getting headline and offer. Use a PURL to make responding a no-brainer. (Do you realize that emails and PURLS can cost as little as $0.05 per address?)
Then, leverage this program further by turning your headline and graphic into a web banner. Create a statement insert and in-branch signage for prospecting to members and non-members. Tweet about the promotion, put it in the newsletter, and post it on your Facebook page. If you blog, figure out a clever way to turn the offer into a relevant blog subject. None of these activities has to be expensive, but each time they're seen, they make an impact.
Frequency and reach matter!

A combination of scheduling and the media you use, plays on the channel strengths, impacts your audience more effectively, and brings the highest response. You might achieve awareness of your message in five to seven exposures. People might take action after 11 exposures. Can you see now why a one-time blast into the market will have limited results? And the more time that lags between your marketing efforts, the harder it'll be for people to stop saying, "Who?" and start saying, "I'm going to the credit union to check this out."

By using a cost-efficient service-provider, and keeping a level head about where to sink your cash, you might be able to rerun the campaign a couple of times. You keep reaching out and making an impression on that member wherever they are. In the case of prospecting, even if the recipient isn't ready to bite on the current offer, you've made an impression. Keep it up, and when the time is right, they'll be at your door. You'll also save time and be smiling when you report your results to the Board. Cool.

That's the scent of cross-channel marketing success.
Pinpoint Direct Marketing creates data-driven, electronic and print marketing campaigns for the financial industry. Its customized campaigns achieve excellent results without premium costs. Learn more about Pinpoint Direct Marketing at or call Kerry Blom, owner, 866-784-7555.

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