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Incorporating the proper blend of media into your marketing initiatives will help to increase the flexibility and success of your campaigns
Digital has taken hold, mobile is growing rapidly, and print continues as a standard for marketing initiatives. So you might be asking yourself, which of these channels offers the most benefit, greatest reach, and best ROI? The answer is all of the above. But the challenge is in integrating them for greater impact.
If your company's typical marketing efforts include running an e-mail campaign that drives recipients to an informational website, while for the same brand you have a separate campaign running a set of journal ads, as well as direct mail, all with separate vendors, tracking, and ROI grids ... you are not alone. However, the inefficiencies inherent with this traditional, segregated approach to campaigns will soon no longer be accepted by corporations or their customers.
With the continually evolving technology available, mixing a combination of multiple touch points across numerous channels with a consistent look and feel along with coordinated messages is quickly becoming the standard. The great thing about these integrated campaigns is that not only do they expand the reach of your marketing, but they are infinitely variable according to the needs and desires of the recipient, making it easier to efficiently and effectively market your products.
The key to reaching customers in today's 24/7 marketing environment is delivering real-time communication with maximum relevance. Producing generic promotions are simply ineffective. By utilizing intelligent technology, you can achieve customization, brand control, and customer engagement.
Here are some considerations to take into account when developing a multichannel marketing campaign:
» First touch: The first touch needs to be the most impactful and has the option of being introduced across multiple channels. Possible first touches for a campaign might include sending a direct mail piece to prospective clients, simultaneously sending an e-mail blast to current clients, or creating a brochure for the customer to pick up at a pharmacy or physician's office. While the options for a first touch vary, the one thing that every first touch must have is a call to action. The call to action can be a BRC card, a Personalized URL (PURL), a 2-D barcode that links to a customized mobile landing page, or any number of other points of contact you think might be how your customer wants to respond. The key is that the customer engages with the campaign in a way that is comfortable in order to obtain the additional information or services you are offering.
» Second touch: This engagement will most likely be where the call to action takes the customer. Typically, the second touch will be a customized landing page giving additional product or program information, either via traditional Web or mobile device. The purpose of the second touch is generally to drive the customer into a followup program consisting of multiple future interactions. The followup program could be a patient education newsletter, coupons for discounts on your product, or confirmations of an upcoming meeting. It all depends on the purpose of your campaign—and the options here are endless.
» Additional tertiary touches: After the initial interaction with your customer in this type of campaign, there can be any number of followup items depending on the purpose or style of the multichannel campaign, including: a thank-you e-mail; direct mail to drive non-responders into the program; direct mail followup with responders; a newsletter; customized premium items (calendar books, note pads, etc.); additional website access; and periodic e-mail updates (patient information, reminders, etc.)
The options for implementing a successful multichannel campaign are numerous, and with the correct execution, the impact potential and success rates for your campaigns can be greatly increased. Statistics have shown that including personalization in multichannel campaigns can have up to a 23.7 percent increase in response rates as well as generate as much as 23.4 percent in additional revenue.
An effective, coordinated multichannel marketing campaign can be tailored to help achieve success for any marketing objective you may have. Here are two examples:
Example 1: Patient Education
This campaign could start with brochures and e-mails directed to patients taking Drug A. The e-mails are sent to patients the company has had contact with in past campaigns and are able to contact again. The brochures and e-mails drive customers to the company's website and mobile site via URL or 2-D barcode. Once they visit the website, the patient desiring further education and information on Drug A enters their information and agrees to the legal terms. This initiates another e-mail that is not only customized for the drug, but also personalized to the patient, and all touches from this point forward will contain the patient's name, personalized images around basic demographics, and interest information.
A small magazine with information on the patient's disease as well as drug information is then sent along with a calendar that identifies the date that the patient indicated they began treatment, dates for refills, as well as reminders to see their physician for followup on their treatment. Additionally, the patient is given access to a symptom tracker app for their mobile device or a download for their home computer. Of course, with each touch it is essential to offer op-out options for the customers.
Example 2: Invitations to a Program for Physicians
A printed invitation is either directly mailed or delivered personally by a sales representative, inviting the physician to register for the program using either a 2-D barcode linked to a mobile registration page, a phone number provided on the invite, or by visiting a standard URL that takes the physician to a personalized registration page. After the physician registers, direct mail and e-mail blast reminders of the upcoming program are sent, and the physician is given the option to download meeting content and pertinent information to a mobile device. Once the program is completed, thank-you e-mails or cards can go out to attendees, as well as any followup surveys, questionnaires, or requests for additional information.
There are additional considerations that should be kept in mind in order to assure the overall success of multichannel campaign programs. One is vendor selection if you are choosing to outsource production. Managing multiple vendors has the potential to be a nightmare when it comes to coordination. The solution is to find one partner that specializes in these specific campaigns and has invested in the technology to run the entire campaign under one roof from start to finish. Single vendor selection also simplifies overall reporting and measurement from the campaign and enables quick in-line changes that can enhance the efficacy of your campaign as well.
Variability in the campaign is also important to ensure overall success. Recently, a marketing campaign was launched for a drug that treats a condition mainly affecting women. The ads and Web page had images of women and were clearly directed solely to them. However, the information on the drug and disease said that a small percentage of men get the disease as well. This is a perfect example of a situation that could benefit from personalization, so that when a man indicates he wants further information he gets brochures that incorporate images of men. The ability to lay out a full campaign with the capacity to automatically fill in the applicable variables will only further the effectiveness of your cross-media campaign.
Getting the right mix for today's customers and meeting the marketing goals for your products means incorporating cross-media, multichannels, and personalization into every marketing campaign. Having the ability to employ a robust approach when it comes to delivering your marketing messages will increase your flexibility and success, allowing your company to touch customers where they are, no matter where that may be.
Eric Boothe is Director of Business Development—Life Sciences Division for EarthColor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org