How to Use Data Driven Marketing in Communicating Your Message - dummies

How to Use Data Driven Marketing in Communicating Your Message

By David Semmelroth

The first step in getting a customer to respond to your data driven marketing communication is getting them to pay attention to it. This is actually a two-step process. It has to first avoid the recycling bin. Next it has to be read. Only then will you have any hope of coaxing your customer into action.

First impressions are lasting impressions, as the saying goes. The first decision a customer makes when they receive a communication from you is whether or not to immediately recycle or trash it. In most direct marketing campaigns, the bin wins more often than not. For that reason, it’s important to put some thought into how you wrap your message.

Whether you’re communicating via direct mail or e-mail, you have limited opportunity to create a first impression regarding your communication. There’s only so much you can do on an envelope or catalog cover to encourage people to open it. In the case of an e-mail, all people see is the sender and the subject line.

Identify yourself with data driven marketing

Every spring there are a series of solicitations that are intentionally made to look like tax return checks. They come in a brown envelope with a clear plastic window. They have some variation of “Department of Revenue” in the return address window.

Often have some crafty, but meaningless, legal mumbo-jumbo printed on the envelope. In short, the whole package is dishonest. They typically end up in the recycling bin. But most tend to open them first.

It’s important to identify your brand clearly. Trying to fool people into thinking your communication is from someone else is not a particularly effective strategy. It may get them to open your communication, but it actually makes them more likely to discard the letter or e-mail. And the impression you leave with the customer is that you’re dishonest.

If you’re not proud of your brand, then it might be time to look for another one.

This is equally true of e-mail. In fact, with e-mail it’s even more important to be forthright about who you are. You can be thrown into the spam list with literally a click of a button. And once you’re spam, you have lost your connection to the customer who put you there.

Making the most of the “envelope” with data driven marketing

Personalizing your direct mail helps to get it opened. Or more precisely, not personalizing mail pieces helps get them tossed. Most people never open an envelope addressed to Resident or that contains the bailout phrase or Current Occupant.

You can also use the envelope to help entice the customer. Giving a hint of what’s inside can be an effective way of getting them interested in your communication. Discounts or special offers, in particular, should be announced somehow on the envelope.

E-mail and other electronic channels provide less flexibility. In these channels, your envelope is essentially the subject line of your e-mail. You don’t have a lot of space to work with. This makes it particularly important for you to put some careful thought into what goes in the subject line.

Some marketers are fond of including the recipient’s name in the subject line of the e-mail. The idea is that this makes the communication seem more personal. This can be perceived as a little contrived. People know that marketing e-mails are not “just for them.” Besides, subject line space is limited. It could be used more effectively to generate interest in the communication.