Multimedia Marketing -- Building Relationships, Not Just Response

Marketers—and the service providers that work with them—are oftentimes focused on quick return on objectives, improved response, and conversion rates. In many cases, this can lead to missed opportunities as the drive to get results can overshadow the importance of generating a more intimate relationship with customers.

Marketing campaigns that use more than one media, including print, have shown increased response rates of 35% in comparison to traditional campaigns that are print-only. As a result, more and more people are beginning to develop multi-media communications. But the difference between implementing a multimedia campaign and a personalized multi-media, or cross-media campaign, is the ability to be interactive. With a static campaign, you are presenting to a large audience, sending the same message to everyone. With a personalized campaign, you are communicating with many, but speaking and interacting with one customer. This strategy not only makes a campaign more effective in evoking a response, but also in building a unique brand experience and relationships with customers.

With personalized cross-media campaigns, print continues to be an important component. People react when they receive a relevant mail piece, and with today’s latest technology of RURLs (Response URLs) and QR codes, or 2D barcodes, print is a conduit to other media. For example, QR codes contain much more data than traditional barcodes and can direct the user via their mobile phone to personalized websites, videos, images and more. They offer a unique way to use the print component to deliver additional messages, drive response, and again, continue to build that relationship with customers.

Beyond mail

E-mail and websites play an important role in personalized cross-media communications as well.

More and more people are being driven to do business via the Web and e-mail. The computer has become the place where people find information, research, negotiate and even purchase, so why not include the Web and e-mail as part of a marketing communications campaign to create that invaluable dialogue with a customer. The Web is fluid, easy to change, and is the one piece in a cross-media campaign that can be used to collect data and have it automatically fed back to a database. In fact, a personalized website is like a Swiss Army Knife, it can provide information, gather new information on current customers, obtain new customer contacts, conduct transactions, and even provide maps and directions.

Take, for example, the marketing campaign Wittusen & Jensen, a print and marketing services provider, implemented for a health club client, Elixia Health and Wellness Group. The goal was to gain loyalty and retention from its current members, and acquire new ones. The strategy involved using an integrated, personalized cross-media campaign to encourage existing members to recruit a friend to join the club. The slogan used across the campaign was “Get a Good Friend to Become a Healthy Friend.”

Campaign begins

The campaign began with personalized postcards and e-mail messages that were sent to club members, driving them to personal RURL websites where they were offered as many as six months of free membership by recruiting new members. Messages were tailored to eight member segments (gender, age group, etc.), and relevant, variable content, including an attention-grabbing graffiti image of the recipient’s name on a locker, was also featured.

The personalized websites gave members the opportunity to update personal information, learn about the benefits of training, and access a member recruitment page. Through the recruitment page, members could refer-a-friend by entering a friend’s e-mail address. Then, a personal e-mail message was generated with a RURL to the friend.

By fostering an ongoing conversation among the club, its customers and prospects, the campaign recruited 2,500 new members and generated an astounding 1.5 million Euros in new member fees for the club. The campaign’s response rate was a healthy 27.5%, and many responders updated contact information that can be used to further target the next campaign.

What is important is that the campaign drew a high response from the initial direct marketing piece and RURL, and could have stopped right there. But as is the case with “relationship” campaigns, the objective is to maintain a steady dialogue with the customer—especially new ones. Elixia continued the campaign by targeting the new prospects with special offers and encouraging more referrals from its members. The end result is a multi-year, multi-media program that is active across all Elixia sites and continues to generate significant revenues.

Today, there are solutions that provide marketers and their service provider agencies with the power to reach customers with relevant one-to-one communications across all media channels, and to track and monitor the success of the components. It is this ongoing, personalized dialogue—not a single instance of response—that will evoke lasting, meaningful relationships that produce new revenues, steady profit and long-term growth.