The final day of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conference, &THEN opened with yet another challenge presented to the marketing community: how to evolve their strategies to engage with a volatile and on-the-go consumer. Keynote speakers from Google, Collective Digital Studio, and a YouTube personality with 12 million followers discussed how new social media and videos are connecting with customers at the personal relationship level. Only recently has technology broken down the barriers of communication between marketers and consumers, and the underlying message of many of Day 3 sessions was a reminder that it is now more than ever, a two-way relationship.

Session Highlights:

  • CMO Harlan Bratcher suggested in his “Tapping the Human Psyche” session that it’s important to look at things from an innocent point of view, and to have a natural curiosity as to why somebody does something. Only through understanding motives, as well as end product uses, is it possible to engage with your customers on a personal level.
  • Data and new channels can provide unparalleled access to the consumer, however this has understandably bred some skepticism and privacy concerns. A session on connecting with a skeptic consumer showed research that while consumers are aware of hacking and demonstrate some concern, nearly 65% of them would welcome more advertising and engagement if they had the ability to control what was being advertised.
  • “Marketing Run Amoc: Where Myths & Realities Collide” was an essential reminder for marketers to always be measuring and evaluating what is and is not working. A similar “numbers don’t lie” point-of-view was presented in a “Do This, Not That” email marketing best practices session with Jay Schwedelson of Worldata, where he suggested “pre-headers are the new subject lines; subject lines are the new sender information.”
  • A discussion on “Engaging Customers from Acquisition to Advocacy” highlighted how experience is key. Consumers are getting more ads today than ever, but they are also the most informed in their purchase decisions. Up to 90% of consumers do seek information from multiple sources before making a larger purchase, and 64% of customers say that experience is more important that the price while shopping. Experience is the vehicle that takes the customer from engagement to advocacy, and 86% of CMOs believe they will own this end-to-end journey within 5 years.
  • Finally, closing out the theme of personalization was a session on the staying power and effectiveness of direct mail, which highlighted how the medium is still the best equipped to provide truly personal outreach. As digital channels make more inroads into engaging customers, direct mail still remains one of the best ways to acquire and inform them.

What we think

Throughout the final day, it was stressed that mass advertising is outdated; instead, we should have “mass specialization”. The wealth of data now available to marketers has to be deployed at a truly segmented level to allow personal customization. Customers are increasingly ranking products first on experience, then on price.

Engage customers on every touchpoint and across devices. Continuing on the omnichannel theme of the first two days, marketers should try to engage their customers at multiple points before and after the purchase. Customers are willing to give up some privacy and deal with more ads, so long as those ads are either customizable or more relevant.  

Claude Lawrence is a Senior Research Analyst with Comperemedia. His areas of focus include Credit Cards, Unsecured Lending and Banking.

Eric Fahey is a Research Manager at Mintel Comperemedia, where he specializes in email and digital marketing, consumer trends, and competitive intelligence.

 

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