Top tips for building a brand
Direct mail entrepreneur Tony Kemp knows a thing or two about building a brand. Now the brains behind digital print and direct mail firm DMP and its platforms Hello Market and Giving.Cards, has come up with his own top tips for companies wanting to make the most of their direct mail opportunities to engage with customers in a busy marketplace.
Said Tony: "Up to now it has only been big businesses with deep pockets who could afford this kind of brand building activity. Now small and medium sized businesses can join in. Big company tactics at a small company budget is out there.
"The Federation of Small Businesses latest member survey indicates that more than one in five companies feels their lack of marketing skills is holding them back (1). With advances in technology, marketing tools which anyone can use are now readily available and offer a great opportunity to boost brands of all sizes."
One to one communication
"Speaking directly to your individual customer via a direct mail campaign can trump anything else you may do to market your business - if it's done well. The more it is personalised, the more it makes the client feel special, it's friendly and shows attention to detail. So the logical progression is to individualise as much as possible in your direct mail marketing activity," said Tony.
Electronic or traditional?
Research suggests that most people prefer traditional mail rather than email.
According to the Royal Mail's MarketReach research (2), direct mail is seen by consumers as being more authoritative and informative than email. They are also more likely to go online after considering a direct mail missive. Emails are perceived as being more informal and quick - but 70 percent of respondents also said they felt they received too many emails.
And research has shown that 51 percent of emails are deleted within two seconds (3) whereas 69 percent will open a letter from a company about a promotion or special offer. Furthermore, 60 percent will open mail if it's from a company about a product or service they don't currently have.
Add to this a poll of 9,000 people for CMS Ltd (4) which suggests that 83 percent of people feel direct mail is easier to take in than email and it is becoming obvious that targeting doormats makes business sense.
Said Tony: "Use this knowledge to your advantage. Contact via email, but ignore the power of the post through the letterbox at your peril."
Remember to make your direct mail attractive and eye catching.
Tony commented: "With software such as Hello Market readily available and so easy to use, every business large or small has access to literally thousands of really well-designed, fully flexible templates to create direct mail which will make an impact. Hello Market allows marketers and businesspeople to produce professional looking direct mail adapted to suit individual recipients."
"Pictures can make a significant impact on your customer. Choose wisely and vary where possible. Beware using a poor photo - something which isn't up to standard doesn't create a very professional impression. Luckily Hello Market has a huge library of quality images which can be used," said Tony.
Print techniques and clever colour
"Think about how the customer will feel when handling your communication. Full colour is standard these days, but there are clever techniques available such as gloss and watermarking which will make your mailing special," advised Tony.
DMP offers traditional litho and digital print technology from its base in Royd Way, Keighley. Its Hello Market platform, which allows businesses of all sizes to create personalised, fully flexible, online direct mail campaigns, is constantly evolving as the company reacts to customer needs.
1 FSB Member Survey 2013-2014
2 Royal Mail's MarketReach report 2014
3 Litmus Email Analytics 2013
4 Direct mail statistics as quoted http://www.centralmailing.co.uk/direct-mail-statistics-2014/
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.