Web Marketing is Key for Direct Marketing
Web marketing is key for direct marketing
Traditionally direct marketing meant US Mail marketing. With the increased power of tele marketing and the blossoming power of Internet marketing, direct marketing has become more of integrated direct marketing. Almost 80% of the companies still have to go a long way in integrating the traditional direct marketing, US Mail based, with the two highly interactive marketing, namely, tele-marketing and web marketing. Initial investment and paucity of system integrators who are also experienced integrated direct marketers are some what discouraging factors in leveraging web marketing.
Here I will review various aspects of web marketing best practices.
What a company supposed to do?
First principle in best practices is the understanding that there is no magic one size fits all software. For best practices in integrated direct marketing we need systematic development of web resources with a view to power the customer interactions and its integration with your other channels of direct marketing, namely telephone and US mail. While web is definitely important way to follow the usual business processes of direct marketing methods, namely acquisition, loyalty, sales and profitability, in this section I will spend more time on review of various signposts of web marketing.
The features of web marketing are:
- Web is an important opportunity to interact with your current customer and potential prospects.
- In the web, users expect personalized instantaneous information, as good as the tele-agents but with lot more privacy
- The technology of web is lot more complex in implementation compared to traditional direct marketing channels such as US Mail and telephone.
- Web, over time, is very inexpensive compared to other channels of interactions.
- Service levels are up to 100%, from the point of users of the web services, both in availability and in personalization.
- Web can be integrated easily with other channels
- Web creates lot more expectation in terms of privacy and confidentiality
Review of operating elements of web channel:
- Personalized solution for, anywhere, any time access including access with PDA and Tablet PCs over wireless, with contents similar to rich media traditionally available in desk top internet access.
- Content should have basic principles of communication (Consistent, Accurate, Relevant - CAR) and with enhancement, namely always updated with the latest information for the consumer. (CARU)
- Navigation should be not only simple, but also personalized; personalized navigation and personalized content.
- Shall be less intrusive and yet more personalized –a challenge considering these two elements run on opposite directions; however, people accept the inevitability of cookies.
- Integrated content – this demands a lot from web marketing, customers expect his/her previous interactions with tele-agents are integrated in to personalized web content which is updated very frequently. In financial transaction, the expectation is “immediate”.
- Interaction at the web site are captured using CAR based forms besides integrating data from such forms with the click through data to support personalization rules
- Expectation of response is with in 24 hours (especially if it is a email response that is expected), while telephone is mostly instantaneous
- Expectations about fulfillment material/products are typically with less time because there is supposed to be clarity on the steps, addresses, and fulfillment rules, even more than the interactions with tele-agents. This is because customers provide their details in black and white.
- Web using consumers typically expect the details of their interactions being integrated with other telephone and mail interactions – 3600 integration of the content
Web customer relationships
Utilize the web marketing for acquisition and loyalty of customers.
However, because the interaction with consumers are in black and white (etched in 0 and 1 bits, identified, tracked, and stored for any-time-easy-retrieval) and comes directly from the consumers, the consumers expect a much higher level of ethical treatment of privacy, permission to communicate, and again integrated with the permission in other channels. The most scaring part for direct marketers who are used to the cavalier usage of lists (vis-av-vis permission marketing), is customers’ expectation that they follow very strict codes of asking for permission, honoring it, not transferring it, and using it carefully as it can be revoked at any moment. A detailed policy and procedures are needed in developing tactics for web relationships on the following aspects.
Customers also expect that their privacy and confidentiality are integrated consistently with other channels of communication.
The power of database and analysis
Web database means more than content management
However demanding the characteristics of web data, the enabling part is that it could be fully automated with the right approach to understanding, defining, and executing the rules of integration, database aspects of the operations, and delivering database integrated operations with other channels of communication. The key elements that define these are the well designed steps and operations for
- Real time database management
- Integrated database management– 3600 view of the database
- Real time analytics, and
- Integrated analytics – 3600 view of the analytics
Web analytics means more than traffic analysis,
The first generation of web analytics created traffic analysis, and the current expectation is that web analytics shall get the nuggets from the data input in CAR forms (mentioned above), integrated with other web channels, such as search engine optimization, chat, traffic from affiliates, and banner ads, along with transaction analysis of products/services sold. Further more it needs to be integrated with service aspects of customer analysis (customer satisfaction, customer self service and how it syncs with other channels interactions)
The direct marketing principles have changed significantly since the introduction of web. Web resources are here for effective assimilation of faster competitive cycle (production, marketing, customer input, …) with in an organization. Web speeds this process in a systematic way and strengthens other channels of interactions with reduced total cost of customer interactions (direct marketing). Fast forward to success, by using optimizing your web resources.