Jun 30, 2011
Direct Mail as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool
The ability to generate leads is a clear benefit of direct mail, but most marketers don’t consider how it can also be utilized as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Yet those companies that have evolved their direct mail efforts into a CRM tool have realized great success. Savvy marketers use direct mail for customer relationship management to:
1. Collect data. One of the challenges for every marketer is creating and maintaining clean distribution lists. Through direct mail response, however, this becomes less of a challenge as you can gather key information such as contact information as well as interaction and privacy preferences to begin measuring purchasing behavior.
2. Gain customer insight. Through the data you collect, you can discern your customers’ needs and what they value, and then can anticipate what offers or products those customers will need next. This insight is incredibly valuable as it becomes the foundation for your next interaction. Use the insights you gain to develop a customer profile.
3. Take proactive action. Using that customer profile, develop customized direct mailers that really resonate with the recipient. Of course, continue to collect information about your customers and prospects at every interaction opportunity. Here, you’re painting a picture not only of your current customers, but also those prospects likely to purchase your product.
4. Evaluate responses. Direct mail makes it easy to track responses, elicit direct feedback, and gauge the level of customer engagement (that’s CRM gold). Summarize the interaction data and listen to what it tells you about your customers’ purchasing behavior. Continue to use this information as you hone your mailing list segmentation criteria and your marketing messages.
This is a different way of utilizing direct mail than the common (and effective in its own right) transactional-based mailers used to generate quick sales. Instead, it’s about using direct mail as a relationship-based communication vehicle to foster customer relationships that endure over time.
You may have to train your staff to think about CRM and direct mail as an integrated strategy. Teach your staff to ask the right questions of your customers (in your mailers and every other time they interact) and train your customers to tell you what they need and want.
When it comes to executing your direct mail strategy using the CRM framework, remember that your direct mail pieces need to be calls to action for your customers within the context of your relationship. Do this by applying mass-customization to the message content. Define your segments by similar interests and where they are in the relationship stage or the sales cycle then customize your communications for those segments.
Click2Mail offers solutions that can be customized into the smallest segments – even a mailer to a distribution of one. So no matter how you break your mass mailer into smaller customized relationship-based communications, we have a product that can work for you.
Does using direct mail as a CRM tool require more time for analysis, drafting purchasing behavior cycles, and creating consumer profiles? Yes. But it can be a very effective strategy and one that will – ideally – create long-term customers for your company. (You know what they say, the least expensive new sale for you to get is the one that comes from a current customer.)