Is there still a place for direct mail marketing?
The world of marketing and PR is ever-expanding, and it can often be difficult to know how to channel your marketing efforts. Do you keep utilising traditional methods, go digital, or try a combination of both?
Recently, Royal Mail MarketReach published a report covering The Life Stages of Mail, an 82-page report on how different age groups engage with mail. Giving an exciting insight into marketing, Precision Printing has summarised this report for us, as well as making some suggestions and comments on the findings in the hope that you can better utilise for your marketing efforts.
The age groups
The study chose to analyse age groups, as age is an absolute, linear figure that every individual can be categorised into. Age has always been used as a key part of defining demographics in marketing and is very relatable to those working in the industry.
The age groups were narrowed down further, and assigned to seven particular life stages, to provide an effective way of looking at the age category variations. The following is a look at these seven life stages in more detail:
Young adults living with a parent, of which they are three million in Great Britain. 52% are aged 18-24 and 17% plan to move out of their parents’ home within the next 12 months.
Adults living in shared accommodation, but not with a partner, of which there are 1.9 million in Great Britain. 51% are aged 18-24.
Adults living with their partners and no-one else, of which there are 6.4 million in Great Britain. 47% are aged 35-54 and 36% are aged 18-34.
Families with one or more children living at home, of primary school age or younger, of which there are 8.5 million in Great Britain. 69% are aged 25-44.
Adults living with children, where one of the children is in further or secondary education, of which there are 3.6 million in Great Britain. 63% are aged 35-54.
An adult, or two adults living as partners, with children who have left home, of which there are ten million in Great Britain. 67% are aged 55-74.
An adult, or two adults living as partners, who are financially dependent on a pension or have an interest-only income, of which there are six million in Great Britain. 67% are aged between 55 and 74.
Royal Mail MarketReach asked two independent research agencies – Quadrangle and Trinity McQueen – to look at the opinions of individuals in the different life stages, conducting qualitative research through interviews, cameras and diaries. In addition to this, users of digital technology were also selected, to effectively fit the respondents’ opinions into a digital users’ landscape.
Between September and October 2015, Quadrangle conducted 30 hours of interviews and 20 online diaries, and Trinity McQueen conducted 12 week-long immersions. Royal Mail MarketReach also enhanced this research with TouchPoints 6 and TGI GB data.
Direct mail has an impact on store visits
When asked if they had visited a store as the result of receiving mail from a business over the previous 12 months, many of the groups responded positively. Young Families were at the top, with 31% agreeing that they’d visited a store as the result of direct mail, and Older Families weren’t far behind at 27%. Some of the younger groups also felt enticed to go in-store after receiving marketing through the post – 22% of the Couples questioned and 18% of those from a Shared House agreed with this statement.
TIP: Tailor your print advertising to encourage people to come in store.
Direct mail has an impact on purchase
When it comes to a final purchase, direct mail’s success varies between age groups. It has most effect on the Young Family group, with 30% of them admitting to have bought or ordered something as a result. Couples and Empty Nesters weren’t far behind, with 26% buying or ordering from direct mail. Even the less responsive groups were still responsive to direct mail – with 23% of Fledglings and 22% of Sharers still buying or ordering after receiving something in the post.
TIP: If purchase is encouraged by direct mail, it’s worth pushing your most popular, or most valuable, products in print form, then you’re even more likely to make a sale.
Direct mail’s advertising has more impact
It looks like direct mail is still effective when it comes to getting your message noticed. 11.1% of Young Families and 11.3% of Older Families admitted that they paid more attention to an advert that was sent to them through the post. It also has an impact on Couples, with 9.3% paying more attention to an advert through the post, and those from Shared Houses at 6.8%.
Printed media is also still relied upon, with Young Families (15.2%) Couples (12.2%) and those from Shared Houses (9.7%) all referring to information from mail when online.
TIP: Investing in print adverts lets you have more impact and get your message noticed. For smaller budgets, save print for the one big message you want to make in your annual budget.
In fact, for many, something in print is perceived as more trustworthy than something online
Many of the respondents, as well as being responsive to direct mail, admitted to being more likely to trust something they receive through the post. This, potentially surprisingly, was particularly true of the Fledglings, 32% of whom said they were more likely to trust post marketing than online. Couples followed at 26%, with Sharers at 15%. This goes to show that print is still a very reputable choice.
TIP: If print is perceived as more trustworthy, there is even more reason not to neglect it. Even if your strategy is predominantly digital, approaching a prospect first by post will establish a trust that can then be emphasised online.
Online is the place for more information
Space on print and postal mail is often limited, and can’t often contain all the information readers need. In fact, 16% of Couples, 16% of Young Families and 9.2% of Shared House respondents surveyed admitted to looking for more information online after seeing something in print.
TIP: Set up a specific landing page on your site to direct your print marketing towards. Display the short URL on your direct mail, while keeping your message strong and simple, and people will find out more if they need it.
Precision Printing has created the Enticer range to drive even more engagement than previous types of marketing, through unusual sizes and optimised costs. Use the Enticer to increase even more engagement today.
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.