Study: Cross-Channel Marketing Use Nearly Doubles

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to expand the number of marketing channels you are using and invest in deeper integration between them, just take a look at the data.

According to a study just released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Winterberry Group (April 2017), nearly 60% of U.S. digital marketing and media practitioners now engage in cross-channel marketing. This is up from 33% one year ago.

It’s no wonder. SailThru finds that 72% of consumers would rather connect with brands and businesses through multi-channel, and in a B2C environment, multi-channel B2C campaigns realize a 24% greater return on investment.  Multichannel shoppers also spend 3x more than single channel shoppers.

Not surprisingly, marketers are increasing the number of channels they use. More than half (52%) of marketers now use 3-4 marketing channels. This is up from 44% of marketers one year earlier (DMA).

Here’s another 52% statistic you should know—52% of multichannel marketers say they “usually” or “always” hit their financial targets! (CMO by Adobe)

Want to be among them? Here are some of the channels you should be integrating:

  • Print
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Web
  • Events
  • Mobile
  • Out-of-home
  • Video

The trick isn’t simply using more channels, however. It’s not about volume—it’s about strategy. It’s about integrating the right channels at the right time to reach the right prospects on the channels they use most.

This can be daunting, especially if you have limited resources to invest. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. Let us help you navigate the multichannel world and create campaigns that use the right mix of channels for your products, target audience, and marketing goals.

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Informed Delivery = Happy Marketers!

Are you looking for a way to make your B-to-C direct mail more relevant and responsive, as well as providing tighter integration with your digital channels? If so, Informed Delivery may be just the tool you are looking for. It is a tool that allows you to digitally preview your day’s mail and is available to residential customers for both First Class and Standard mail – all at no extra charge!

The United States Postal Service has developed this platform to unite physical and digital advertising by allowing marketers to provide hyperlinks to direct mail ads and promotions.  Informed Delivery has just completed pilot testing and is currently available in areas of California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The feature will be rolled out nationwide in mid-2017 through an intensive advertising campaign.

Example of My Mailbox page shown on laptop and mobile device.

Informed Delivery will allow consumers to sign up to receive a daily email that contains photos of what will be delivered to their mailbox that day. Users will be able to view up to 10 images of mail pieces within the email. For consumers that receive more than 10 pieces of mail daily, they can view all mail piece images on their online dashboard at

Business mailers will have the ability to display relevant digital content related to the mail piece images included in the notifications. By clicking on the image, the consumer can be taken directly to a designated website or video. Or, their click could launch a phone call from their mobile.

Zoomed Bubble showing example of scanned in mailpiece with ride along Ad content.

The Informed Delivery pilot, conducted in Northern Virginia with 6,600 users, generated the following results, which marketers will be interested in:

  • Direct mail expands to a wider audience. In most households, one member regularly retrieves, sorts and opens the mail. Informed Delivery insures that others within the household are seeing it, too.
  • 93% of the users opened their email alerts within 2 hours of receiving them.
  • 90% of the users said they would continue using the free service when it is made permanent.
  • 88% of the users stated they would recommend it to their friends and family.
  • The average response rate of Informed Delivery subscribers was 5.9%, compared to 0.5% for a control mailing.
  • 81% of those that responded did so through the click-through option.
  • Users were also twice as likely, as the control group, to type in a URL.
  • Response rates are 2-10 times higher with Informed Delivery, according to the 2016 National Postal Forum.

According to Joe Cochrane, CMO of the USPS, “What we can do is measure when recipients engage with Informed Delivery and then when they go to your site or convert. This is going to do a lot for the attribution issue.” Additionally, marketers will have analytics that indicate when mail pieces are viewed and what actions were taken. Informed Delivery should help support personalized brand experiences.

If you’d like to learn more about Informed Delivery – just ask us! Or, visit

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Customer Insight Is Critical To Effective Personalization!

Image result for personalization images

What’s the secret to personalized printing success? It can be summed up in a single word: relevance. You can “personalize” a document with dozens of variables related to a customer’s gender, income, geographic location and more, but in the end, if the document isn’t relevant to the recipient, it won’t be effective.

How do you ensure that your personalized mailings are relevant to the people you are sending them to? You get to know them.

The industry’s most successful marketers know everything about their customers. They ask questions. They do customer surveys. They conduct focus groups. They collect a variety of customer data that helps them create detailed profiles of those customers. They mine data efficiently.

How does this work? Say you are a marketer of women’s health products. You have been personalizing direct mailings by name, age and stage of life, but the response remains low. To figure out what’s going on, you conduct a survey to learn more about your customers’ lifestyles.

Based on the survey, you find that a high percentage of your customers are home-schoolers. While these customers value natural products, your research finds that their time and finances are restricted by home-schooling costs and activities. You also find that among this group, personal pampering is not a high priority.

Based on this new information, you might change your pitch. Instead of focusing on the appeal of your products to the recipient personally, you might begin to address this demographic’s larger concerns and lifestyle needs. You talk about the cost-effectiveness of natural products in comparison to commercial products. You talk about the ability of these products to boost energy, improve the restfulness of sleep, and provide long-term health benefits for growing children. What do you think will happen to your response rates?

There is a common saying, “Knowledge is power.” While that’s true, I believe that applied knowledge is far more powerful. So, mine the data you have, gather more, if needed and then apply that knowledge to your marketing efforts for greater success!

When you want to put your data in motion to develop personalized AND relevant direct mail, we’re here to help!

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Positioning Your Business For Tomorrow

Do you see marketing as a sprint or a marathon? Increasingly, marketers are taking the marathon view, developing their plans to focus on long-term results rather than just “right now” sales. In this view, marketing has a two-fold purpose: to foster immediate sales and to plant seeds for tomorrow’s.

First you must identify the factors that will further your company’s long-term marketing goals. You might not have a perfect understanding of every looming competitive, economic, legal, sociological, or technological force, but you can become alert to the possibilities. Arm yourself with information on the longevity and profit potential of your present market’s lifecycle as well as budding market opportunities so you can begin positioning your business for tomorrow today.

Here are a few ways to foster future business opportunities regardless of your business size or budget.

  1. Provide platinum-standard customer service. Your goal is always to exceed your customers’ expectations, but if you fall short, admit it. Many loyal repeat customers result from perfectly corrected errors.
  1. Cultivate your elite customers. Your best customers—those who are easy to work with, who really like you, and who have a positive history with your company—are a goldmine of quality referrals. Strengthen existing relationships and build new ones by giving your top clients and their guests special offers, insights, and previews of your innovations.
  1. Create top-of-mind awareness. Not everyone needs your product or service today, but many will at some point in the future. Capitalize on your vision of emerging needs and trends, communicated using our suite of multi-channel marketing tools and techniques, to get your product in front of tomorrow’s customers now.

It takes time for the seeds you plant today to germinate into future business. Essential to all of this is to communicate effectively with your target audience. Consult with us to learn how our technology and expertise can support these efforts and put your ideas in motion!

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What Marketers Can Learn From Magazines and Newspapers

Digital marketing channels have an important place in the media mix, but as marketers have learned, ubiquity of presence doesn’t necessarily translate into greater profitability or effectiveness. Recently, an article in USA Today reinforced this conclusion. It discussed the hard copy vs. digital issue from the perspective of traditional print media, and there are important conclusions for marketers.

Despite the pounding that traditional media have taken in public opinion lately, here are a few points from the article worth noting:

  • Investors are still lining up to make bids for ownership of traditional print news media. In fact, one group offered Time Inc.—not fire sale rates—but a 30% premium for its shares. The offer was rebuffed because management felt the paper had too much value.
  • Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, also refused an inflated offer to buy its shares, even after a bidding war that drove up the price.
  • Although margins are declining, many newspapers and magazines remain profitable. The fat has been trimmed, and profits are now about cost management and efficiency.
  • What isn’t making a lot of money? Digital channels. Readers expect to have access to digital content, but after 20 years of fiddling with revenue models, publishers cannot figure out how to make it truly profitable. Readers expect digital content to be free. The revenues from the digital arms of traditional publications still cannot compete with those from print.
  • Traditional publications like Time, Fortune, and The Washington Post (along with more populist publications like Sports Illustrated) have something digital channels do not—reader trust and loyalty.

What can marketers take from this? The print vs. digital debate isn’t unique to marketing, and neither are the conclusions.  Whether it’s traditional news media or print and multichannel marketing, print continues to maintain a value and importance in the mix that cannot be replaced by digital channels.  In order to maximize profits and reader (or customer) engagement, you have to include print.


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Not So Fast: Print Ain’t Dead Yet (AKA Direct Mail Outperforms Digital Channels by 600%)

In lieu of blogging my thoughts today, I wanted to share a recent article by David Rosendahl, one of the founders of Mindfire. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.


Image result for direct mail images

If you think direct mail is dead, I say you, my dear reader, may have your head in the “cloud”.  Before you call me crazy, consider the following:

The Direct Marketing Association recently reported that direct mail’s response rate surpasses that of all digital channels — by a long shot.   

According to their research, direct mail achieves a 3.7% response rate with a house list, and a 1% response rate with a prospect list. OK, sounds very respectable, right?

But it gets even better:  Mobile, paid search, social media, email, and internet display combined (yes, combined) only achieve a .62% response rate.  Put another way, print outperforms all digital channels combined by over 600%.  Print outperforms all digital channels combined by over 600%.

If that’s not a repudiation of the “print is dead” mantra, I don’t know what is.  (By the way, when people say “print is dead,” I take it to mean one of two things: they believe print no longer performs well in the face of digital media, or that print output is declining in the United States.  We’ll talk more about this in a moment.)

Let’s get into a few more of the details to understand how these response rates break down.

Direct Mail Response Rate Highlights

In comparison to direct mail, how did each of the digital channels stack up?  Here are the average response rates reported in the survey by channel:

  • Mobile: 0.2%
  • Email: 0.1% (for a prospect list);  0.1% (for house list)
  • Social Media: 0.1%
  • Paid Search: 0.1%
  • Display Advertising: 0.02%

You like charts (right?), so here’s a handy bar graph illustrating each channel’s response rate: 

Which offline channel has the highest response rate?   Did you catch that in the chart?  It’s the telephone.  Yep.  It had the highest response rate at 9-10%.  So pick up that phone and start making calls.

How does direct mail’s cost-per-acquisition compare to other channels?  Cost-per-acquisition for direct mail is very competitive. Direct mail stands at $19, which fares favorably with mobile and social media (both at $16-18), paid search ($21-30), internet display ($41-50) and even email ($11-15).

Are there certain direct mail formats that do better than others?  Yes.  Formats play a role. According to the study, oversized envelopes have the best response rate at 5.0%, followed by postcards at 4.25%, dimensional at 4.0%, catalogs at 3.9%, and letter-sized envelopes at 3.5%.

In addition to direct mail, how many channels are marketers using?  Marketers continue to embrace multi-channel marketing, with 44% of the respondents using three or more channels for their marketing efforts. In these instances, the most popular channels were direct mail, email, and social media.

So What Are the Opportunities With Direct Mail?

As with all data, we can draw a variety of (often conflicting) conclusions.  But follow me for a moment:  The study also asked, why, if direct mail performs so well, do marketers object to using it?

They found that marketers say their biggest problems with direct mail are: its cost, the effort to deploy it, and difficulty tracking results.

Let’s break each of those objections apart:

  • Cost should only be an issue if the overall marketing campaign is not ROI positive.  If direct mail creates leads, and those leads turn into opportunities — and those opportunities turn into enough sales to exceed your investment in the campaign, what’s the problem?  You may not have a handle on your metrics, or maybe you have a math problem — but don’t blame it on the medium.
  • If deploying direct mail is difficult, keep in mind that there’s somewhere around 25,000 printers in the United States (not to mention agencies and other types of service bureaus).  If you can’t find one that meets your needs, give us a shout and we’ll connect with you at least half a dozen.  There’s plenty of great talent and hardworking people who will take the burden of direct mail’s complexity upon themselves to free you up to drive revenue.
  • If you’re having trouble tracking the results of your direct mail campaign, then perhaps you’re unaware of the variety of solutions that are available to make print measurable.  The good news is multi-channel marketing automation software can help.  If you’re not using a platform to track your mail and generate more leads, you’re most likely leaving money on the table.

“But wait a moment,” you say to me, still unconvinced, “doesn’t the study also find that fewer companies report using direct mail?  Doesn’t that suggest it’s not working for others, and thus companies use it less?”

Yes, my friend, you’re right.  The study does find this to be true.  We’ve all seen the print forecasts and there’s no denying that there’s a diminished output across the United States. But I submit to you that within this challenge lies your opportunity.

Why?  What if it’s also true that because there is less competition in the mailbox for your prospects’ attention, your message may get more easily in front of your prospect?  Combine this thought with something else the DMA has reported: direct mail response rates over the past 2 years are rising.

So, not only are you competing against fewer people for your prospects’ attention, but response rates are also moving in your favor — meaning that you’re more likely to generate leads.

In light of these facts, the only sensible thing for us to do is test, test, test.  Get out there and see if this might work for you.

You might be surprised.

Thanks, David Rosendahl, for the great article! And, dear readers, know that when you’re ready to put your direct mail ideas in motion, Multi-Craft is ready to help!

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The Right Content At The Right Time

Increasingly, marketers are looking at the sales process as a set of stages, with each stage of the process requiring different types of content to move prospects from one stage to the next.  This process is called lead nurturing.

One of the most important tools for lead nurturing is content marketing. According to BPM Online, which offers a platform for process driven CRM, B2B marketers overall allocate 28% of their total marketing budgets to content marketing. However, companies that see the best return from this channel tend to allocate up to 46% of their budgets for content marketing. Content marketing is a great investment!

Image result for lead nurturing images


According to BPM, there are three stages to lead nurturing:

Early Stage (Awareness): During this stage, you want to provide free access to content. This includes white papers, research papers, curated content, infographics, and webinars.

Middle Stage: (Consideration): At this stage, you want to start qualifying prospects as warm and hot leads so your sales team can stay in contact with them and funnel these leads appropriate content at the right time. Content at this stage should be gated so you can identify and qualify these leads. Content might include RFP templates, calculators, guides, and analyst reports.

Late Stage (Evaluation): At this stage, you will be communicating only with the most qualified leads, so you want to make their purchase decision as easy as possible. Content should once again be free and ungated, including product demonstrations, success stories, and video testimonials.

According to BMP Online, 79% of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) never convert into sales because of the lack of lead nurturing. This is not a process you want to overlook!

Need help putting your lead nurturing process in motion? Give us a call!

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