Bring Your Database Online: CRM Retargeting for Direct Mail Marketers
Some of the major challenges faced by direct mail marketers include consumers’ lower tolerance for marketing messages in the mail, consumers who are increasingly plugged in, heightened demand for accountability due to the rise of online marketing, and how to bring a direct mail campaign online.
New and sophisticated online advertising technologies can help the savvy database marketer address these challenges and take her direct marketing strategy above and beyond the competition’s.
Many brands with an online marketing strategy are using traditional site retargeting (retargeting is the practice of showing ads to users who visit the brand’s site), but there are many other ways to use core retargeting technology to further your brand’s reach. One particular retargeting technique, CRM retargeting, is the perfect online marketing tool for database marketers. CRM retargeting, a newer and lesser known practice than traditional site retargeting, involves showing retargeted display ads to people with only their email or mailing address.
CRM retargeting is an incredibly powerful complement to both direct mail and email marketing, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on the benefits for direct mail marketers. CRM retargeting is the perfect addition to direct mailings as part of a larger cross-channel marketing strategy. (For more on cross-channel marketing, check out our recent blog on developing a successful cross-channel marketing strategy.)
If your database is comprised largely of physical mailing addresses, this is one of the only ways to take those contacts online and begin serving ads to them.
Here’s a good example: let’s say you’re a retailer and you use catalogs as one of your primary direct marketing tactics. Maybe you already have a robust online advertising strategy, maybe you haven’t allocated much of your budget to digital, or maybe you aren’t advertising online at all. Regardless of your existing online spend level or how sophisticated your strategy is, you still have much to gain from serving ads specifically to those who also receive your catalogs.
According to a recent study by Oracle, a strong majority of people do browse catalogs at least occasionally (79%) and discover products of interest to them. However, a significant percentage (41%) never complete purchases from catalogs.
Catalogs remain a good way to maintain brand recognition and introduce customers to new products, but catalogs do not fare so well when it comes to direct response. Online ads are particularly strong in this regard—you can send users straight to your website, and direct them to take specific action (e.g. complete a purchase purchase) online. Rather than replace catalogs entirely, a good cross-channel strategy will supplement catalogs’ weak spot with online ads.
In addition to setting up a direct response channel, combining catalogs with online advertising is a great way to set up multiple touch points and reach your customers both offline and online. The same Oracle study found that 78% of people will research a product over at least two channels before committing to a purchase. Serving retargeted banner ads to people who have received a catalog will remind them of your brand while they’re online and spur them into taking action by doing more product research, with that research ideally leading to a completed purchase.
It’s a mistake to repeatedly blast your customer with catalog after catalog, email after email, or even banner ad after banner ad. Customers don’t respond well to overexposure in any one area, but seeing a brand across many channels is a reinforces recognition without leading to ad fatigue or brand dillution. CRM retargeting is the best way for direct mail marketers to develop a strategy with multiple touch points for the consumer, avoid overexposure, while keeping the brand top of mind.