Friday, October 21, 2011

David Bohan: Successful messages air across multiple channels

The old adage about not putting all your eggs in one basket applies to marketers and how they must approach media in today’s multichannel world, especially if they’re chasing well-to-do customers.

The affluent market is significant. There are 58.5 million adults in households with incomes of at least $100,000, just under one-quarter of all U.S. families. This group represents 60 percent of all income and 70 percent of the nation’s net worth.

A study of affluent consumers by the Ipsos Mendelsohn research firm showed that those consumers tap into multiple channels of media. The Internet has 98 percent penetration, print reaches 80 percent (six publications a month per household) and television is still huge.

They are online more than 30 hours a week, half of them are active on Facebook, and their normal TV time is 17 hours a week.

“From a media perspective, new technologies have been layered on top of existing choices; television, radio and print remain mainstays of affluent consumer media experiences, with the Internet and various devices adding layers of interactivity and content immersion,” said Steve Kraus, chief research and insights officer at Ipsos Mendelsohn.

Looking at the broader market, the Direct Marketing Association reports that more than half of all consumers read directmail offers from merchants, and 55 percent find catalogs useful.

“Consumers don’t live a single-channel life, or even a dual-channel life … there are so many ways that consumers are engaging and searching for content,” said Liz Miller, vice president of the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

Are marketers listening?

Despite this evidence, a recent Pitney Bowes study found that only 60 percent of businesses incorporate multichannel campaigns in their marketing programs.

Practical examples of multichannel campaigns were profiled in the August issue of Deliver magazine, a U.S. Postal Service publication.

N’Tini’s, a New Orleans restaurant, combined direct mail, personalized URLs, social media and email to promote its lunch business.

“Combining print with some sort of interactive tool allows you to really build a database, rank your direct mail and build a relationship with customers,” said Renee Hall of the Dukky marketing technology firm, which supported N’Tini’s campaign.

Norton-Norris, an Illinois agency that specializes in college marketing, produced a multichannel campaign to increase enrollment at Virginia College.

The campaign started with TV ads whose call to action was visiting the college’s website. That led to six pieces of direct mail to reinforce the Web inquiries.The percentage of enrollees was 62 percent higher among the prospects who received the direct mail pitch.

“The broad reach of television and the personalized targeting of direct mail complement each other very well,” Robert Brecht, director of research and education at the DMN3 Institute, said of the Virginia College campaign.

Your own marketing message may be very good, but are you letting it speak for you through only one channel? If so, rethink your media plan.