Why Omnichannel Isn't For Everyone

Credit: talhakhalil007

This is a grand time for marketers with myriad tools now at our disposal. It seems that everyday we have more media options, more technology, and connected devices, and more ways to reach our consumers and customers.

Technology continues to disrupt, enable, and challenge the world of marketing. On my Marketing Horizons podcast Scott Brinker, VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot and editor of Chiefmartech, shared that the  proliferation of marketing technology products has been exponential. Since there are no barriers to creating software these days, anyone with an idea can create a software app.

Credit: Chiefmartech

More isn’t better

Sometimes it’s just more.

With new technology innovations come the great opportunity to do all sorts of cool things as marketers. We can capture, connect, and analyze disparate data; we can design unique and individualized customer journeys; and we can customize messaging and segmentation right down to an audience of one. We can even deliver omnichannel communications – meaning we can deliver content and communications across social, digital, broadcast, and offline media all at once.

But marketers beware – this can be impractical and often unnecessary. Why? Because not all consumers are the same and not all media strategies work the same.

Instead of trying to do everything with all your media, think instead of what your main objective is for your campaign, and then match your media selection to both your audience and your outcome.

I call this media orchestration. And it works particularly well with the direct marketing workhorse channels of direct mail and email. Both channels experienced a 200% increase in budget spend in 2021, and together accounted for 26% of all marketing budgets.

Direct Mail allows us to do robust segmentation and personalization and delivers impressive and measurable results. Despite the higher costs of print and postage, direct mail delivers an impressive ROMI when applied later in the purchase journey. In fact, BRAND United shared that in a recent ANA Response Rate Report, direct mail postcard ROI was higher than both social media and digital display advertising. Need more proof? LOB has seen that direct mail has a response rate 13 times higher than email. And when you combine direct mail with email in an orchestrated fashion it packs a punch, rocketing response rate north of 27%.

  1. Use direct mail to encourage repeat purchases with existing customers for high value products and service.
  2. Use it to motivate in-store or mobile purchase behavior by combining with digital media such as QR Codes and Informed Delivery.
  3. Combine it with a coordinated email to your current customer base to lift performance over a single channel alone.

Industries that have successfully leveraged direct mail include:

  • Nonprofit
  • Financial services
  • Insurance
  • Hyper-local QSR
  • Retail

Email combines the rigor of traditional data-driven direct marketing with a digital experience that can be adapted for mobile devices in a way no other channel can deliver. It is best used with your first party data — individuals who already have a relationship with you. While considered a “cheap” marketing media, results are continuing to decline dramatically as indiscriminate spamming is killing the golden goose. But email can still work if you understand which segments of your customer base prefer this communication and are influenced by the media. For example, Mintel shares that while millennials have learnt to embrace email, the outlook is far different for Gen Z. These consumers, currently aged 9-21, are growing up with text, Instagram and Snapchat and see the world through a different lens. To harness the power of email, consider:

  1. Using email to guide your digital-forward audiences to online content on your website and social sites.
  2. Using it with a frequency and cadence to encourage repetitive, commodity-based purchases.
  3. Using email as part of your ABM strategy to communicate with your B2B audiences to educate, engage, and move contacts further down the sales funnel.

Industries that have successfully leveraged direct mail include:

  • Travel
  • Retail
  • Subscription services
  • Education
  • Nonprofit

D+E Mail = Orchestrated Success

While each channel performs well on its own, the combination of email and direct mail has the potential to greatly improve your results. This requires you to have relevant content, accurate first party data with both physical and digital contact information, and a strong call to action.

In fact, combining email and direct mail can boost your response rates by as much as 35% compared to standalone campaigns in either channel, according to the DMA. One study even found that consumers spend 25% more when brands use both direct mail and email.

Don’t have an email list for your direct mail customers? Don’t worry. Highly successful campaigns have also been executed with the use of USPS Informed Delivery that schedules a daily email with mail delivery, and also provides marketers with the ability to add a mobile call-to-action. These campaigns are yielding impressive results, and in some cases up to 80% email open rates — especially with the all-important Millennials and Gen-Z.

As you evaluate your campaign objectives, you may find that you do not need a complicated omnichannel strategy after all. To achieve your results, you may reach or exceed your goals through the savvy, orchestrated use of direct mail and email.