Prospect environment needs stewards by ProQuest

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What does fishing have to do with direct marketing? More than you might think. Not long ago, marketers could expect reasonable response rates and decent returns on direct campaigns a 2% to 3% response rate was considered normal. Today, with response rates underwater, we?d be happy with 1%. Marketers struggle to show returns that are worth the investment at all. To put it simply, marketers have been overfishing. Anyone with a mailing address can relate; it?s relentless.

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									        8 | DMNEWS | March 30, 2009 | www.dmnews.com



        OPINION


                                  Editorial
                                                                      Prospect environment needs stewards
                                                                                                                                                                a marketing solicitation. The sheer volume, compounded
                                                                                                                                                                by irrelevance, is the culprit.
                                                                                                                                                                  Let’s go fishing again — this time for solutions. Today,
                                                                                                                                                                many countries enforce quotas and limits on how many fish
                                                                                                                                                                can be pulled from the ocean, as well as how often boats
                                  Julia Hood                                                        Brent Lever                                                 are allowed to fish. Thus the fish can replenish themselves,
                                  Editorial director,                                               Senior consultant,                                          ensuring supplies for future generations.
                                  DMNews                                                            SAS                                                           Why not approach marketing in the same way? Certain
                                                                                                                                                                credit card companies have already overmarketed to the


        W
                 e’ve all been there, waiting at home for the cable     Economists and environmentalists have grappled for                                      point that response rates are nearly zero. Mail from those
                 guy to come and install the system “sometime         centuries with the dilemma of overfishing. It goes like this:                             brands generally hits the trash can unopened. But at least
                 between noon and 5:00”. When he finally shows        fishermen are incented to take all the fish that they can                                 one retail bank has controlled “fishing” and has maintained
        up, the interaction you have with that one individual will    from the ocean while prices hold up, while their bodies and                               a solid ROI. This bank is staying relevant by carefully man-
        play a major role in determining your attitude towards        crews hold up and while supplies of fish hold up. Acting                                  aging the volume of campaigns. While it may not replenish
        the brand going forward. Was he polite, informative,          in their own interest, they deplete themselves of the very                                the overall stock of customers, it may well refresh their
        and thorough? Or rude, in a rush, and tracking mud            resource their livelihoods depend on. Inevitably, the fish                                current customers’ interest in offers from the bank.
        all over your nice beige carpet?                              either disappear entirely or survive in numbers too small                                   Like quotas, an “adaptive contact planning” strategy could
           Much of the conversation in marketing today relates        to be worth the trouble.                                                                  go far safeguard against customer overfishing. Beyond basic
        to customer “engagement” with brands, and how highly            What does fishing have to do with direct marketing?                                     common sense, this approach has proven effective by organi-
        we must value those truly engaged consumers. This             More than you might think. Not long ago, marketers could                                  zations that not only testing offers, but test the frequency of
        makes a great deal of sense. As Digitas CMO Seth              expect reasonable response rates and decent returns on                                    those offers. Adaptive contact planning adjusts recency and
        Solomons said in our March 16th issue, “Consumers             direct campaigns — a 2% to 3% response rate was considered                                frequency of contacts by considering all contacts: planned,
        are aggressively turning out those brands with which          normal. Today, with response rates underwater, we’d be                                    trigger-based, and inbound. It also puts limits on channels,
        they have no affinity or affiliation… You’ve got to find      happy with 1%. Marketers struggle to show returns that                                    product types, or anything that contribute to customer
        the currency and the utility to provoke the consumer          are worth the investment at all. To put it simply, marketers                              contact fatigue. Because, as we all know, a customer with
        to want to build an affiliation with you.”                    have been overfishing. Anyone with a mailing address can                                  contact fatigue might just stop biting.
           He’s right, of course, but the engagement insight          relate; it’s relentless. I rarely open mail that even smells like                         brent.lever@sas.com
        must not be limited to social media platforms and word
        of mouth. Customers are engaging all the time with


                                                                      Make your DM campaign search-ready
        brands — through call centers, sales reps and other
        operational functions.
           The problem is that right now, at least, marketing
        does not typically play in these interactions. Wendy
        Lurrie, the president of G2 Direct & Digital, believes
        that marketing — in particular, direct marketing — needs                                                                                                  There’s nothing preventing competitors from signing up
        to take a bigger part of the most critical relationships                                                                                                to receive your marketing materials, using those materials
        between brand and consumer.                                                                                                                             to predict which terms your potential customers will search,
           “A tremendous amount of what actually matters to                                                                                                     and advertising on those terms to steal your best traffic
        customers in how a customer engages with the brand                                          Dave Pasternack                                             away. To defend yourself, know which search terms your
        is not controlled by the marketing people,” Lurrie says.                                    President,                                                  collateral is likely to drive. Command strong positions in
        “Organizations have become so complex that entire                                           Didit                                                       the paid and organic results on those terms. Run search
        areas of business process, such as customer service and                                                                                                 ads that are so enticing, they distract your customers away
        distribution are handled by operational people who              Whether your marketing
								
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