Historically, database marketers have expected to increase their results by up to eight times when following up a direct mail or email campaign with a single phone call. But what you may not know is that stopping at that single touch can leave substantial business -- half or even more -- on the table for competitors to grab.
It's true. Traditional "one and done" advocates touch customers just once and then move on to the next big marketing initiative. That is extremely ineffective compared to campaigns that integrate multiple media and touch business prospects repeatedly. Multitouch builds familiarity with busy decision-makers and increases the potential of impacting him or her when the business need for a solution is high.
Throughout 2007, I collected data while working with more than 30 clients on over 50 separate direct marketing programs. As part of this, I tracked the number, frequency and type of touches performed and corresponding response rates. Analysis revealed that unless you are reaching prospects with at least nine individual touches -- including a minimum of two email messages -- you are not achieving the results you could.
Why nine? Well, that's the number of touches, delivered over a period of time through a combination of quality outbound calls, emails, voicemail messages, and direct mail, needed to achieve the greatest level of response.
You can think of a traditional one-touch campaign as being a single dart thrown at a target -- your prospect. A multitouch, multimedia campaign is like a lot of darts being thrown at the target over an extended period of time. Such an approach boosts your chances for contact and helps to keep proffered solutions top of mind until the timing is right.
Multicycle Amplifies Responses
In addition to multitouch, multimedia approaches, there is additional benefit in implementing multiple cycles for high-touch marketing campaigns.
The initial contact cycle -- the first time that you touch your market with a combination of those nine phone calls, emails, voicemail and direct mail -- will yield only 40 percent to 50 percent of the total opportunities. Continuing to touch the same prospects with the same multimedia, multitouch strategy on a regular basis can identify other opportunities existing within the market.
In fact, lead rates from the second and subsequent touch cycles can generate anywhere from 120 to 210 percent of the initial lead rate. This declines only after the fifth contact cycle.
In other words, there is a point of diminishing return. The most effective way to cover prospects after the fifth touch cycle is through periodic email and/or direct mail -- leaving the door open for them to make contact with you whenever they are ready.
Voicemail, Email Reach Busy Decision-Makers
Contacts responding to voicemail or email comprised over 20 percent of all leads generated for clients in the 2007 sample. That number has grown to over 27 percent thus far in 2008. Perhaps surprisingly, however, the most frequent responders to voicemail and email have been senior-level decision-makers.
Nearly two and a half times more leads were generated from multitouch, multimedia, multicycle campaigns to senior-level executives in large companies as compared to lower-level line of business decision-makers in large companies, or all levels of decision-makers at midmarket organizations.
The reason why? Most likely, voicemail and email work well with top executives' busy schedules. One senior-level decision-maker explained it in this manner: When he is sitting in traffic or at the airport, he often has time to listen to voicemail and read email. Sometimes it takes multiple touches to impact him, but as busy as he is, timely and logical messages do compel him to pick up the phone so that ultimately, live contact occurs.
The bottom line is clear: "One and done" campaigns should be "over and out" for companies seeking a higher return on direct marketing investments. Multitouch, multimedia, multicycle campaigns can multiply your marketing results.
About the author
Dan McDade is founder and president of PointClear, a sales and marketing services firm. McDade has also served as vice president of marketing for direct-mail firm Jackson & Perkins, and as president of UST: The Business Marketing Group. To find out more about PointClear's products and services, go to www.pointclear.com.
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