Tag Archives: multi-channel marketing

How to drive your customer relationships using mail and email

Last year I wrote about the impact of digital on mail and email.multi channel services

Whilst there maybe a genuine perception that print is on the decline the Royal Mail report found otherwise.

Print and email working in collaboration and using cross media marketing, (also referred to as multi channel marketing) works very effectively.

I am often asked for advice on how to go about adopting a multi channel marketing strategy.

Why I will not profess to being a marketing expert my knowledge of print combined with personalisation and social media gives me the objectivity to look at a marketing campaign and help define it for the customer.

I thought I would share with you a recent marketing/print campaign Digital Print Management fulfilled for one of its customers.

stay on targetThe starting point has to be what do you hope to get out of it?

By this, I mean not ‘more business’ or more customers, we all want that but what objectives do you want to get out of your campaign?

Being able to interact with your customers and prospects through multi channel marketing is necessary for companies to get their message out

Here’s an example of a cross media campaign using mail and email ?iStock_000026350319Small

Generating interest with print by using an interesting and engaging format so that when it lands on the doormat the consumer is highly likely to read and do something with it or take action.

A car dealership has a target list of 3,750 customers whom they would like to get in contact with and who haven’t visited their dealership in the last 18 months.

The key objective of marketing to these people is to motivate customers to come back to the dealership by scheduling a routine service and by offering a free oil change and a 15% discount off the standard service.

  • The dealership sends out personalised postcards with PURLs – the postcards and emails are uniquely personalised and individualised according to each customer’s past purchasing history
  • The customers receive the postcards and some do respond to the PURL – the invitation to visit the PURL is a way of inviting the customer to redeem coupons that they can then use at the dealership against a service/oil change
  • The inclusion of a PURL ensures that all the responses and updates are captured and the customer data list is updated
  • The response actions that are captured from the PURL trigger a personalised email which is sent to those respondents who didn’t respond inviting them to click onto the same PURL
  • A follow up email is then scheduled to go out to those who didn’t take up the offer in 5 days

Stacked MailThis is the customer decision stage by sending the prospects a mail piece that communicates a clear and persuasive benefit with a link to your website is more likely to encourage engagement.

When customers respond using the PURL they arrive at a personalised landing page which has their name and address details.

They are asked to confirm or update their details and then request to enter a code which is printed on the email or postcard so they can redeem their coupons.

Once the purchase is made, in this instance the redeeming of coupons an email is generated welcoming them back to the dealership; a welcome pack which is highly personalised is then sent out to them.

Whilst they are redeeming their coupons there are a whole host of other coupons that they can also redeem in exchange for more information about the condition of the car, how old it is, when was the last time they had it serviced, what time of day do they prefer to schedule a service, do they own more than one car from the same manufacturer.

Each coupon they click on encourages the customer to give more information which can later be used for future campaigns.

Where do I start?

Identify your marketing objective? In the above example it was to get in contact with former customers of the car dealership.

Do you have accurate data? In this example the dealership had a defined customer contact base of 3,750 former customers.

What technology or platform are you using? Can you manage this in-house if so how will it be managed and do you have the technology/software and resources to ensure it’s monitored through to completion.


Outsource it to a cross media specialist  who can work with you and design the campaign to meet your objectives.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

To ensure successful results there must be a planning process – who is your target audience, which media channels are right, what offer(s) and how then are the responses going to be captured and used.

Keeping the offer relevant and personalised to the customer should yield positive results.

Before managing a large campaign plan a test run with different offers, this will hi-light what works and what doesn’t, the campaign can then be upgraded to include your target audience, whatever the size.

A follow up plan is crucial to keep the momentum going and in this instance the follow up process which included an email could also include a postcard was used where people hadn’t responded in 5 days.

All actions and responses were measured when the customer clicked through to the PURLs.

The highly targeted and personalised win back stage is useful where customers have parted with information but have chosen not to redeem vouchers, sending a follow up mail piece is a useful way of staying in touch with those prospects that didn’t redeem their coupons.

How to avoid the pitfalls

  1. Be selective when it comes to the channels you intend to communicate your offer, too much and it becomes another sales blast.
  2. Whilst I’m a big advocate of personalisation, too much of ‘Hi Caroline, Caroline it’s been 18 months since, Caroline we think you might like this’ and so on then becomes a pain and is immediately off putting.
  3. Make the offer relevant and meaningful
  4. No campaign will be 100% successful first time out. Be prepared to modify, adapt and test the offer
  5. Keep any content either in print or digital relevant to the offer and to your audience

Some things to think about?

Sending paper bills or statements encourages retention and faster payment by using the white space on a paper bill or electronic statement to promote any services and offers you are promoting.

Renewal – as renewal time approaches send your customers a personalised mail piece that reminds them of the benefits they will receive as well as the future benefits they will be able to access after they have renewed with your.

Following up with an email is a great way to get them to make a decision but also makes them feel valued.

You can also find more information here 


Multichannel services

How to save costs with multi channel services

The sole purpose of offering multi channel services is to provide multi channel servicescustomers with options for how they would like to be communicated with whether it is a bill, statement, customer letter or being given a means by which they can make a complaint.

These documents are a critical part of the business process both a legal obligation and commercial necessity all of which can have an impact on your bottomline.

Thirty years ago the business communications landscape was very different.

Letters, statements, invoices, offers, contractual agreements and the myriad of other business documents were sent via post.

cellphonesThe 80’s saw the evolution of fax technology and businesses were able to send documents and the process of business transactions quickened.

In the 90’s, the emergence of email changed the business landscape forever. Businesses, brands, companies were able to communicate messages instantaneously.

The 00’s served to speed up the business document process farther by the rapid evolvement of smartphones and social media.

Businesses were having to evolve and adapt to ensure they were able to give customers the choice on which channels to communicate on.

Customers demanded choice it wasn’t good enough just to be able iStock_000014348375Smallto receive email or paper.

They want to receive information both in paper and electronic format and they also want to choose when they get it and where they view it – smartphone, tablet, mobile, PC, laptop.

multi channel services

multi channel services

Today many of us communicate with customers, suppliers, colleagues and associates using different platforms that include fax, email, SMS, social media and web portals.

Physical print and mail remains an effective means of communication but it isn’t always quick and organisations have to include digital alternatives at the same time not losing sight of the customers wishes.

Im my post Keep Me Posted – why multichannel works best I put it to you that customers should have the choice in how they are communicated too.

Digital communications do save time and money – there’s no paper, toner, postage and lower human resource costs, moreover they help companies respond quickly and to be more in tune with their customers needs.

Whilst paper still retains it’s place in the business landscape customers are driving how they want to be communicated with and the adoption of electronic or digital methods of communication have been deployed by organisations so they can deliver immediate information and stimulate interaction with the customer.

How do you manage multi channel services?

When organisations deliver multi channel services they are moving into a complex and bewildering world of communications with the customer.

How do you decide what you will send by email, print and post?

How do you understand what your customers preferences are?

How do you integrate paper and digital business processes?

How do you ensure that the document flow is secure and how do you store documents so that the organisation and the customer has a record of both paper and digital if needed?

Ensuring accuracy, quality and on-time delivery of these business critical documents is crucial. Get it wrong and the business doesn’t get paid.

Customers expect to be able to engage on the channels of their choosing, SMS, mobile/smartphone, call centres, post, email, web.

The challenge for organisations is deciding what to adopt.

Switching off offline communications and implementing solely online is a surefire way of alienating a sizeable proportion of your customer base.

65% of customers who prefer paper bills and statements would consider defecting to a competitor or would leave straightaway if a company removes that choice. 29% of customers who prefer to receive information electronically would consider moving if the option to receive paper statements was removed.

How do multi channel services save cost?

New technology means that transactional documents can be delivered offline and online to meet different customer preferences just from one data file.

  • There is greater flexibility in page formats from A4 to A5 or smaller if required.
  • High quality colour printing means shorter runs that can targeted and relevant for offline communications
  • Highly personalised transpromo messages embedded into online and offline communications

Why are multi channel services important?

Organisations can communicate and deliver their messages on different platforms.

In a digital world your customers want to access your information, marketing messages and offers anytime, anywhere and on multiple devices.

For companies, this gives the benefit of being able to provide a good service to individual customers efficiently which increases customer satisfaction and retention.

By providing choice also differentiates the company from the competition and ensures customer longevity.

How does a multi channel service work?

Please watch the video below and this should give you a better understanding as to how payslips, letters, statements can be delivered both online and offline.





Keep Me Posted – why multichannel works best

Making print and electronic work together offers a powerful way to deliver communications in the digital and physical world. multichannel

I’ve always believed that the customer should have the choice in whether they receive a paper or digital copy, of any type of information.

Offering the end user a multichannel service gives your customers the choice between taking up the offer of a digital or paper copy.

Imagine my surprise at a recent networking event when someone asked me if I’d heard of the Keep Me Posted campaign.

‘The what I said?’

multichannelWith twenty five years in the transactional print and mailing business I had to admit embarrassingly that I wasn’t aware of it.

The Keep Me Posted campaign is committed to changing the attitudes of UK businesses and service providers about giving the consumer the choice between choosing a paper or digital bill or statement.

You can read more about it here.

It ties in very nicely with what I regularly write about and that is giving customers the option to choose paper or digital without penalising them.

Multichannel presentation of documents does just that by giving the customer the option to receive either a digital or physical copy.

Here’s a video to show how multichannel works:

What I particularly like about the Keep Me Posted campaign is that multichannelthey are not advocating one media over the other but rather allowing the customer to choose what best suits their needs.

Happy customer = long term happy customer.

Keep Me Posted is a partnership of representatives from charities, interest groups and business who have united to stand up for the consumer’s right to choose how they are contacted by banks, financial institutions, utility companies, media companies and service providers.

Fewer and fewer businesses are providing no choice how the customer receives their bills and statements with many forcing customers to accept an electronic document.

I recently bought a 4G MIFI so I can access the internet anytime anywhere.

My first bill was in paper format and the accompanying letter told how to register online to access my bill.

The process was not an easy one and as I am very familiar with the providers website it is not easy to navigate even for someone like me who spends eight +  hours in front of a PC.

Imagine an elderly person or someone not too familiar with online registration, navigating the same site because they too have a monthly contract and need to download their monthly bill?

The statistics make for interesting reading:-

16 million consumers aged over fifteen don’t have basic online skills [Source: Go On UK]

40% of UK adults say that the removal of paper statements could seriously affect their finances [Source: Opinium]

5.2 million households in the UK do not have internet access [Source: Office for National Statistics]

You might think how can you possibly forget to pay a visa card bill?

If there is no choice how you receive your statement or bill, viewing an electronic statement irrespective of the email reminder you receive, it is easy to overlook paying that bill.

We are inundated with emails and receiving a paper statement is a sure fire way of reminding us to take action with that bit of paper.

My guess is even if you do receive the electronic version you end up printing off the document as a reminder to action it.

81% of UK adults want to choose how they receive their information.[Source: Opinium]

4 out of 5 people are more likely to read statements available both online and by post.

81% of UK adults do not like it when companies take away their right to choose how they are communicated with. [Source: Office for National Statistics]

Only last week we learned that the paper driving license that we are so familiar with is to be withdrawn and the information will be stored electronically. The DVLA claim that not only will it reduce the red tape it will be cheaper for motorists.

Given that the DVLA reissued 445,000 lost paper licences in 2014 at a charge of £20.00, that’s almost a £1,000,000, I would of thought that there is a very good incentive to keep paper licences.

I await with bated breath when my road tax is due for renewal.

I am unconvinced, there are some things that should just be ‘paper’.

Online information is better, yes I said it.

BUT, there is a caveat, paper based communications are better understood and we the consumer are more likely to recall what is on that piece of paper than what we read online.

The organisations Digital Print Management work with tend to have a better understanding of the importance of giving their customers choice because we educate the benefits of paper and digital.

It shouldn’t be about PAPER VS DIGITAL it should be PAPER AND/OR DIGITAL, a subtle difference but one that will ensure your customers are kept happy receiving information from you in a format that they’ve agreed to and not one that has been forced upon them.

[Statistics courtesy of Keep Me Posted]

What do you think?

The impact of digital on mail and email

Those of you who have been kind enough to show up regularly know iStock_000026350319Smallthat I have each foot in the digital and print camp.

Digital media has had a huge impact on our lives making content accessible anytime, anywhere day or night.

And yet print is still holding it’s own.

Marketing departments are realising that print and digital work in harmony to ensure audiences are targeted with their brand messages.

Consumers like to receive email and mail each have different qualities and as audiences move between online and offline, mail and email help drive the consumer toward purchasing.

In 2007 the Royal Mail commissioned some research which showed that having 1 to 1 conversations with your customer required both mail and email and should be used in conjunction with each other.

Smartphones and tablets have made us truly mobile so obtaining information on the go is easier, it also means that marketers can deliver their brand message into our inbox when we are mobile.

In a recent report conducted by the Royal Mail, a survey showed that whilst email is on the decline it still works effectively with print marketing.

I’ve taken the most relevant information from the report and created an infographic and included it in this post. It makes interesting reading.

You might think that after reading this post and viewing the infograhic below that we are more digital than mail.

But, mail is redefining and aligning itself alongside emails and the physical channels such as direct mail, leaflet drops and physical advertising are holding their own.

In my follow up post I’ll go over why print and email work well when you employ an effective multi-channel marketing strategy.

See what you think.




Multi channel services. Should we give up paper and go digital?

It is the perennial question I’m asked.English Bulldog

Caroline, we want to give up paper what can we do?

We use shed loads of paper and we want to go paperless?

Where  do we start?

In my last two posts I discussed how to work multi channel marketing into your content delivery to develop customer engagement and help customers along the buying journey.

I’ve placed greater emphasis on multi-channel services and marketing in my earlier posts because it has to be part of an organisation’s strategy to deliver targeted buying messages to its audience or deliver transactional information in the way of a payslip, bill or statement.

How does a multi channel service work ?

Ask yourself what do you prefer paper or digital?

What are your motives for wanting to go paperless?

Is paper needed?

There are those who want to promote the continued existence of paper, whilst others spit in the face of it claiming that digital is the only way, digital or no way.

Each have their merits in the hierarchy but ask yourself this, why not use both?  News just in, you can.

iStock_000034282008SmallMulti channel utopia. Multi channel engagement with customers and employees.

In my last two posts – multi channel marketing for success and how it fits into our digital world paper forms a strategic part of multi channel engagement with the customer.

The internet has changed the way we access and view information from payslips, invoices, statements and marketing content.

We rely on the internet to access information, to seek and retrieve, we shop for our favourite brands, we listen to music and watch films.

Consumers are putting businesses under pressure to provide multi channel services for the distribution of documents in both paper and digital versions.

Consumers are dictating where and when they want to view content, on and off line. Digital media usage will be dictated largely by the consumer’s behaviour.

The growth in the use of mobile internet and social media represents a great opportunity for information to be highly relevant and specific to the reader.

At the same time paper continues to be used in businesses everyday.

Paper documentation gives the added reassurance that the document is real and authentic, it can also be used as a physical reference rather than its electronic counterpart.

Should we give up paper distribution?paper stack

Answer: No!

You can use both and that way you are not alienating customers that want paper and at the same time embracing those customers  that wish to be totally digital.

There is room for both versions to co-exist.

Instead of online documents why not supply both a printed version and a digital one?

You are giving the customer the option to choose which solution they prefer by giving them a multi channel engagement option.

Allowing your customer to make their own choice means they retain control ensuring that all your customers are left feeling valued and important.

This is known as offering a multi channel service.

The option to distribute both paper and digital content which includes marketing messages, payslips, invoices, and statements to the end user.

Whether you are delivering payslips to your employees, bills to your customers or content marketing to your prospects the ability to provide this information using a multi channel service is key to making sure the ‘customer’ experience is meaningful and relevant.

Companies that don’t provide multi channel services are disengaging their customers and employees.

We live in a multi-media world and it is a short sighted strategy whereby a company delivers information on a single platform.

Consumers are digesting information from several media channels simultaneously including paper and print.

Making information available in digital, mobile and paper format will be challenging for organisations.

In a multi-device world, the main objective is to engage with the customer.

An organisation that is responsive to customers needs and gives access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself and set itself apart from its competitors.

multichannel marketing

5 tips for multi channel marketing success

In my last blog post I talked about the importance of multi channel marketing in our digital world. multichannel marketing

Multi channel marketing interacts with the customer using a combination of indirect and direct communications channels that include social media, websites, catalogues, direct mail, phone, SMS/text, email, television and radio.

Channels can be used in combination or independently to deliver a branded message enabling the customer to take action in response to buy your product or service using their preferred channel.

Multi channel marketing and communications is about delivering information to your customers in a way that will engage them quickly, whenever and wherever they are.

With so many different channels available it gives the customer choice over the buying process.

Here are 5 things to consider when considering multi channel marketing. multichannel marketing

1. Create visibility You must be where your customers are and this means you have to provide them with the opportunity to engage on all channels, which gives them the freedom to choose what information they want and on what platform, at their convenience.

Customers today have more buying power than ever before and no matter what your brand or company marketing message says, customers have the power to decide when they want to buy and who from.

They have to be able to interact with you at all stages of the buying journey and on whatever channel suits them. So making sure your message gets seen and heard is the key to making sure you are at the front of the queue when they are ready to buy.

All sounds very easy, right?


There are numerous pitfalls and one of the obvious is ‘I’m going to send out a mass email and newsletter to see what happens?’ Irrelevant messaging is guaranteed to be deleted even before the strap-line is read by the recipient.

The right message delivered to the right audience is not enough.

Your message needs to be targeted, specific, personalised.

Each campaign or message has to be fine tuned across each channel so that the message isn’t distilled making it meaningful for the customer and trustworthy.

Customers need to be able to view your message, be attentive and receptive before they take action.

With so many mobile devices, smartphones and media channels, businesses must be able to develop well coordinated campaigns that use different touch points so that the customer can jump onto his preferred platform.

2. How do I know which channel(s) to use?multichannel marketing

Understanding the profile of your customer is a good starting point. Having a single view of your ideal customer then helps you identify where they are likely to hang out.

Measuring the success of the campaign is easier if you send a direct mail or email marketing campaign because the responses are directly associated with the campaign and can be measured in click throughs and responses.

However, managing a coordinated campaign across different channels is more of a challenge.

Your website analytics will show you where the customer entered the website, which landing pages and what channel they jumped onto.

But the sequence of touch points that lead to the customer taking action is not so quantifiable.

Having loads of data is great fun but knowing what to do with it is another.

Having this data on a customer database and understanding which route your customers came from i.e. email sign ups, YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers is a useful starting point.

In our case our target audiences can be found on Linkedin, limited exposure on G+ and FB and some on twitter, this makes it easier for us to talk about what we do, who for and where to target the message.

Providing email sign ups and accessibility to information on your website in the way of downloadable PDFs and newsletters is a great way to attract your audience and keep them coming back for more.

At the same time you can encourage them to join you on their social media channel of choice. multichannel marketing

3. Be consistent Maintain your consistency across all the platforms you intend to deliver your content and message that way the customer learns to associate you and your brand to the message.

From paper to digital keep it the same. I’ve been in print and communications for 25+ years and I’m still surprised when I see companies using different forms of advertising from paper to digital.

If your marketing messages are mixed it can give the wrong impression a high bounce rate on your website might indicate that your landing pages aren’t delivering what the customer was looking for.

Every digital marketing channel used must have a clearly defined objective and goal and keep in mind the end goal, what is the purpose of the campaign, what are my business objectives, who are my customers.

Having a precise set of goals will lead to a better marketing experience.

Ensure that any single campaign deployed gives the customer the same experience on all channels.

Your customers experience your brand in different ways so if they have a negative experience for example in your retail store then there is no value in having a positive online experience. So keeping it consistent and positive and treating each channel differently helps the customer experience.

4. Transform your data

Treat your raw customer data as gold dust. It can be used to deliver targeted and personalised information to your audience.

By having a data collection point and establishing where your audience hang out online (see point 2) helps you build a presence there.

Converting prospects into customers is the real end game and not about how many facebook likes, G+’s, followers, all vanity and not reality.

How many subscribed to your newsletter, read your e-books, downloaded a free trial you were offering.

Focussing on conversions, sales, sign ups and building customer relationships is key for business development.

5.  Be mobile, Be digitaliStock_000023887471Small

Following my Google seminar being mobile and being a digital business has to be part of the game plan. It’s not good enough being mobile friendly, your business has to be accessible via smartphones and easily shareable. It has to be digital.

Multi channel is not limited to goods and sales it is about developing interaction, including communication.

Customers want to consume content on different channels – email, mobile, online and print depending on the context and convenience.

It is impossible to predict which channel will be used when and so the only approach is to make your content, message, brand available on all channels.

Being a digital business and delivering your marketing efforts across multi channels is key to developing and keeping customers.

Why multi-channel marketing matters in a digital world?

I was invited by one of Digital Print Management’s suppliers, to visit Google HQ in London recently to experience google’s  ‘Drive for work” which is superseding google apps for work. content personalisation

The purpose behind google’s re-positioning of this product is to make it more personal, accessible and more mobile for organisations.

There were a number of key factors that came out of the conference:-

  • This year alone it is estimated that 1.2 billion smartphones will be in worldwide use
  • Mobile video will increase exponentially
  • Mobile e-commerce is set to go even more ballistic
  • Mobile responsive websites are key to customer engagement
  • Encrypted BYOD which I’ve talked about will be ever more prevalent in the workplace

During the day I was impressed by the various presentations and videos, an american powerhouse company delivering great content.

However, there was one thing that resonated with me during the day and that was the use of the word ‘digital’. A digital business, a digital culture, a digital brand.

According to Google, digital and mobile are key to the future success of any business.

Google put forward the scenario that companies and brands should be thinking in terms of being a ‘digital’ organisation or business.

A digital business involves creating digital content using a communications strategy across all channels to excite the consumer along his/her journey to purchasing.

Organisations no longer sell goods, or services or products they are delivering meaningful digital content, subliminal messages to awaken the customer across a variety of channels as a way of planting the seed for purchase or opening the customers eyes to a problem they didn’t know they had.

marketing content

I see a communications strategy looking something like this and should comprise of the following five components. This makes it easier to decide which and how many touch points you will use to deliver your content.

  1. a creative strategy – the ideas bit
  2. a media strategy – what media – print, social, video, TV, adverts (channels and platforms)
  3. content strategy – what are you going to talk about, what are you trying to tell/sell your audience
  4. a digital strategy – how do you deliver it and where
  5. a mobile strategy – having mobile responsive websites, being able to view content across multiple devices

None of the above will be successful if used in isolation and simply calling it a “communications strategy” is too big a deal to work with.

Successful digital companies embrace new trends and innovation comes out of the need to meet and go beyond customer expectations.

These companies are successful because they no longer perceive themselves as a maker or provider of X but have repositioned themselves as a digital company.iStock_000023887471Small

An organisation able to deliver their brand, content and marketing message digitally.

In google’s words Digital brand = Digital culture = Digital success I would add at the end of that =  multi-channel/media communications.

These companies are optimising digital platforms for marketing success.

Marketing in our digital world has changed. Advertisements in the major newspapers, leaflet drops in local and national newspapers, adverts on billboards and commercials on TV were how your brand and message was delivered in the past.

Whilst the above retains it’s place in the stratosphere getting noticed by your audience is increasingly more difficult.

How do you position yourself to be in the right place at the right time in front of the right people?

In my last post  I talked about how hybrid mail along with content marketing can be used in conjunction with digital marketing to deliver your marketing efforts.

content personalisation and printUsing a multi-channel strategy combining digital services with print to communicate the same message but delivered in different ways is an effective way of staying in front of your audience.

An organization that is responsive to customer needs and provides easy access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself in an otherwise crowded field.

Organisations that do create a seamless experience and integrate different forms of technology into its marketing effort can gain customer loyalty.

We’ve become an increasingly mobile workforce, 68% of adults in the UK access the internet on the go (Office of National Statistics) the statistics would appear to stack up. Looking at DPMs analytics clearly shows that more people visit us via some form of mobile device.

In our 24/7 connected world business owners are accessing information around the clock from multiple devices and locations.

Multi-channel communications are about delivering relevant and timely information to your customers in an engaging way giving them the opportunity to interact with you and your brand. It is impossible to predict which channel will be used when so making your content available on all channels is a must.

Being able to co-ordinate a print and digital campaign simultaneously is a great way of targeting your audience with personalised communications.

In my next post 5 tips for digital multi-channel marketing success.