In part 1 of this series I summarized the crossroads at which digital marketing has arrived in 2010. In this part we will look at the surprising advances that direct marketing has made in the past two years.
The old-new direct marketing: Outbound
What web marketers don’t realize is that the new direct marketing (since the late 90s) has been a highly digital discipline in terms of the sophisticated, predictive analytics that were employed. Just not so digital in terms of the channels through which messages were brought out.
But why do we still have so much spam and junk mail then?
Because, while direct marketers employed PhD level analytics they lacked any timely data on their customers’ current interests. So the predictions were only true on average.
It’s like having a GPS device that tells you the neighborhood in which you are currently driving but can’t tell you which street corner you need to turn at.
The new-new direct marketing: outbound and Inbound and real time
The increasing digitalization and integration of channels made inbound and real-time marketing possible. Now, while a client is still on your website, or on the phone with your call-center, in front of your ATM, or using their mobile phone application to interact with you, the new direct marketer’s sophisticated analytics can be fed with real time context. That puts them in the position to refine their offer decisioning (i.e. behavioral targeting) on the spot.
Direct marketers from many industries have taken notice and expanded their ambitions to embrace the real time in their work. Thanks for that, web analytics are now increasingly on their minds too as a rich source of very current behavioral data.
Examples of the new-new direct marketing:
- Banks in Europe and the US have implemented interactive marketing programs that target individuals behaviorally in a consistent and analytical manner, regardless of which channel the interaction is on, i.e. the branch, the web, the phone, or outbound channels.
- Telcos in Australia, Europe, and US are including web behavior as part of their scoring calculations for attrition risk
- Multiple large, high-tech, B2B businesses in the US have designed demand generation marketing programs that integrate the web with other channels of interaction.
- Cable TV operators in Europe have implemented marketing programs that deliver targeted ads through direct TV. They are able to follow up consistently through phone, email, and web to nurture their leads and measure response across.
- With retailers, the degree to which the web team is asked to participate in a one-to-one marketing program depends on whether the team rolls up to the CMO or whether it is silo’d within an eCommerce, i.e. sales function. In the latter case, the web tean is told to focus on the website alone and it is difficult to get funding for cross-channel projects.
Overall though, we do seem to be heading towards a tipping point some time in the coming years.
Europe vs. USA, who is ahead?
From working with companies across continents, I gain the impression that more Europeans have been working on integrated marketing vs. Americans.
This is despite the fact that Europeans are much more concerned about privacy.
More European companies seem to have implemented sophisticated cross-channel programs or are issuing related projects. Until this year maybe, where noticably more American marketers are launching similar projects.
But until recently I felt as if the average American marketer was still building “Marketing Cadillacs” whereas Europeans were building “Marketing BMWs”.
Add to that the fact that Europeans (and Asians) are also ahead in their adoption of mobile devices including the willingness to interact with marketing messages.
Then you wonder what happened to the days when America was still 5 – 7 years ahead of Europe with any business innovation.
Wake up call!
In the final part of this series we will look at web marketing that has truly become multichannel in 2010.