Back to Basics

No matter what the size of your business, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to properly prepare a marketing campaign. Deadlines are always looming a day away. As list managers, we often see rush orders for postal mail and e-mail campaigns coming over the fax or via e-mail requiring 24-hour turnaround. Orders are more frequently than not boldly stamped “urgent/rush!” Operating in this kind of “hurry up” environment leads to mistakes, poor planning, and incompletely thought-out mail plans. In our all-consuming rush to make the deadlines for merge, lettershop, and mail date, we sometimes lose sight of our goals and the basics.

Let’s all take a deep breath and get back to the forgotten basics. Let’s get reacquainted with our customer base. Let’s learn how to effectively incorporate all the new technology out there to really understand how the various marketing methods available will help us increase brand awareness, sales and customer loyalty and retention.

Here are some ways we can accomplish better planning by getting back to basics:

* Integrate organic (consumer-driven) marketing with your marketing efforts. For example, if your customers are buying a specific widget from your Website or catalog, determine what other products would complement the widget, then promote them to boost the overall average dollars spent per customer.

* If you have been using the same formula to reach new or existing customers, try something new. Recent studies have proven that when a known brand contacts customers via a variety of mail pieces and e-mail it produces sustained consumer interest for several weeks rather than the usual spike and rapid drop in tracked activity.

* Prove to your customers that you don’t think of them as faceless strangers who happen to buy from you. Personalize your communications whenever possible: Send them birthday greetings with special offers, for instance, or keep track of gifts they have purchased and send friendly reminders when the same occasion comes up again.

* Use your stores to promote your Websites and catalogs. * Use your catalogs to promote your Websites and stores. * Use your Websites to promote your stores and catalogs. * Look at your current timetable from start to finish, and add eight weeks to the start date for the project. * Invest in good copywriting and creative. It is worth every dime.

We need to let our customers know how much we value their business. Multichannel marketing ensures getting your message to our customers in the media to which they respond. Many of the suggested basics above will help to cross-promote your products and services. Today’s technology should facilitate this effort and, more important, close the sale.

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