This month’s Adstra Ideal Insights highlights privacy issues and growing trends at the national and state level.
“Renovation is not just innovation and change. It is also the process of aligning the results of change with our purposes. “- John W. Gardner
This month’s update
As the world around us is beginning to wake up from the pandemic, so is the level of marketing we are seeing from our customers. We are seeing increases with our customers in both our direct mail and our digital audience activities. Interestingly, we are also seeing an increase in combined direct mail and digital marketing campaigns. On the nonprofit side, we are seeing more than twice as many multichannel campaigns as in either of the last two years. So what is driving this interest? Multichannel or omnichannel marketing has always been one of those that has been debated often, but the ideas have not yet exploded. While we cannot offer a definitive answer, we can certainly provide information and guidance on the recent increase in efforts.
First, the need to address the impact of the announced postal increases. While digital marketers fear the looming changes of cookie deprecation and MAID tracking, direct mail marketers fear advertised cost increases in postage and printing rates. The performance of direct mail campaigns is equally dependent on response rates and execution costs. Marketers can adapt to small changes in costs, but are challenged by major changes such as those proposed. Direct mail certainly has a place for marketers in the future, but it needs an upgrade for ROIs to continue to work at scale and allow access to newer and younger audiences.
Second, marketers face continual change away from engagement with the mail by younger generations and the diversion of consumer attention across multiple media channels. No single medium has the scale of engagement and participation to make many traditional marketing approaches work. Walled gardens certainly offer some of the best opportunities to engage customers, but it is often done on garden terms and removes most of the branding ability to effectively manage the communication journey. For those brands that may exist outside of the older traditional direct mail audience, they can still get by, but the catwalk is getting shorter as that audience continues to age outside of the sweet spot of business. This is never more true than in the nonprofit arena, where organizations are desperate to find younger donors and ensure their long-term relevance.
Together these two factors drive the need to try something new. And this is where multi-channel campaigns fit in. Direct mail still has the many benefits of delivering relevant materials to help customers buy or donate, but digital offers the low-cost opportunity to build brand awareness and stimulate discussion about a potential purchase or donation. However, like everything new, the success of multichannel campaigns has been limited. In many cases, we see that brands simply state that it just doesn’t work.
We think a lot of this has to do with initial audiences. Models attuned to direct mail response often misrepresent the value or promise of digitally engaged prospects. And digitally defined audiences do not reflect the ability to engage in direct mail. Brands must start the audience definition process anew, just as they would with the launch of any new product. If you haven’t researched or understood how a multivariate test works, we suggest that you inform yourself here. Many more ideas and approaches need to be tried out before multichannel marketing is outlawed. Marketers need to better understand the entire customer engagement process and ensure that their campaigns fully and effectively support that engagement.
For many campaigns, marketers see the digital component simply as brand awareness building and direct mail remains the transactional method. But in some cases, and with some audiences, it may be better to reverse the thinking. Couldn’t direct mail be the brand awareness element and digital component of the transaction vehicle? The problem with this scenario for many brands is that their websites are not tuned for transactions, but rather to support the broader brand-building efforts of the company.
In one of our client’s recent tests, we saw a 250-300% increase in traffic to their website outside of the campaign, but effectively no increase in conversion. This was a clear case of missed opportunity because the website was not created to close the deal. The overall results of the campaign did not show an increase in performance, but it was clear that this was more of a self-inflicted failure than a failure of the campaign itself.
When thinking about customer engagement, we would also point out here the need for consistency and alignment in cross-channel messaging. When messages are aligned at the individual level, brands are much more likely to be successful than in situations where they are not. For one of our publisher clients, they were able to drive an 80% increase in direct mail performance for an insurance company they were working with by endorsing the highlights of direct mail materials and telling clients to stay tuned. to the mail piece. Given the success of that campaign, the publisher tried to support its own direct mail subscription offerings digitally, only to find that they reduced response rates by around 20%. The reason, the direct mail piece had long been designed to look like an “invoice,” so customers simply paid for the subscription. By raising awareness in the digital campaign that this was an “offer”, not an “invoice,” the impulse to respond is driven by a missing sense of obligation.
Overall, our experience suggests that if you stay aligned and consistent across messages at the individual level, you should expect to see a 5-20% improvement in ROI. And we think that will only get better as the experience and ability to market on an individual level improves. As we learn more through the campaigns we have on the market now with our clients, we will continue to report on successes and failures. There is a future in multichannel marketing, we just have to get there together.
Nationwide Privacy Highlights
Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, Joe Manchin, and Richard Burr introduced the Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2021. The bill “would give consumers the right to opt out and keep your information private by disabling data collection and tracking “and” require users to be notified of a breach of their information within 72 hours, “the sponsors said. The Verge, Gizmodo, and Ars Technica reported on the bill.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Data Protection Act of 2021, which would create an independent Data Protection Agency to “protect the data of Americans, safeguard their privacy, and ensure data practices that are fair and transparent.” The legislation expands on similar legislation the senator introduced last year. “In today’s digital age, Big Tech companies have the freedom to sell people’s data to the highest bidder without fear of real consequences, posing a serious threat to privacy and civil rights today. A data privacy crisis looms over the everyday lives of Americans and we must hold these bad actors accountable, ”said Senator Gillibrand.
R Street called on Congress to take steps to protect Americans’ data from their adversaries by passing a federal data security law and a data privacy law. A white paper published by the group “seeks to rethink the need for legislation on data security and privacy to recognize a stark reality.
Greg Bensinger, a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, cited the 6% of daily US users who have opted for data collection on Apple’s latest software update as evidence of demand from the consumers for more privacy. “Consumers do not have any federal rights to privacy, so technology companies must implement policies as they see fit. And critics allege that Apple could be coming out with the changes to get ahead of regulatory pressure and an ongoing antitrust lawsuit over its app store. Advertising is only a small part of Apple’s business, which means it can afford to cut revenue and keep it in front of competitors. Ironically, Apple will have to act even more as a regulator to make sure application developers follow the rules of their new software, “he wrote. “Businesses did well for decades marketing to consumers without access to all their movements or clicks of the keyboard and mouse. And with 94 percent of Americans saying they like it that way, it’s time for advertisers to listen. “
Consumer concerns about data privacy and the need to comply with regulatory requirements such as GDPR are the main barriers to the growth of mobile marketing, according to the WARC survey of more than 500 marketers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Statewide Privacy Highlights
Connecticut: Bloomberg Law, Connecticut Post, and Hartford Courant reported on failed efforts to include data privacy legislation in general budget legislation in Connecticut.
New York: Legislation that would require companies to obtain consumer consent before processing their data for ad targeting and would allow class action lawsuits for violations was passed by the Senate Consumer Protection Committee in New York.
As we are constantly trying to provide useful content to our customer community, we encourage you to visit our content blog, where you can get our latest insights on industry topics. While you are there, you can also see the new look of our website. Our goal was to provide a clearer understanding of identity, data, and all the services we have to offer.
If you are looking for more help on these topics, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. Email us at [email protected]
Connect with Adstra
If you like what Adstra has to share or want to know more about what we do, follow us on LinkedIn @Adstra, Twitter @Adstradata or Facebook @Adstradata. We welcome the new ideal in data.