Long before the e-bill revolution, direct marketing most frequently infiltrated our lives through the mailbox on the front porch or through our still-corded-to-the-wall telephone. A century and a half after Aaron Montgomery Ward’s disruptive move to send a catalog of his products directly to consumers in their homes, core principles of direct marketing have evolved to become the foundation of the digital marketing landscape and have given direct marketers new opportunities to connect the efforts of sales and marketing.
Direct marketers can now measure and leverage behaviors that weren’t available just a few years ago. Commanding the wealth of data points that now also accommodate for these behavioral measures gives direct marketers a privileged position in the marketing mix.
Their position proves relevant not only because of their command of data but also because of their ability to connect marketing roles as a result of data. When public relations and marketing teams design content marketing and sales teams are married to lead scoring and generation, direct marketing becomes the thread that brings these groups together for the best results.
Aligning direct marketing with content teams is essential. One benefit of digital functionality is its ability to switch out custom digital content depending on the audience segment, delivering a more relevant message based on where the targets are in the sales funnel. What’s more, digital functionality also provides a seamless experience with no interruption between the delivery and reply. Because of easy digital submissions, we can see results faster, but the challenge is that we must keep a steady content stream at the ready to answer to the pace of the audience’s search for information.
Content leaders can help direct marketers provide a seamless story from gated content landing pages to outbound emails to the content itself. One consistent theme and voice helps provide coherence to the content stream that direct marketers help slice and deliver to the audience.
Content is purposeful and is an essential tool in developing leads. Demand generation programs are touch points throughout the conversion optimization and sales cycles. And that’s why the more important relationship is the one direct marketers help build between sales and marketing.
How willing is your target to trade information for the next piece of content? This digital body language is often more indicative of a qualified prospect than a self-reported buying role and decision timing. Direct marketers are best equipped to read and assess behaviors like whether users clicked through an article and read it fully or bounced to other information.
Building the right depth and quantity of content to satisfy your prospects’ information-gathering needs and then tracking their engagement with that content is critical. That’s why a quality lead scoring framework is composed of your targets’ engagement with your online content (digital signals). What content are they consuming? How often do they come back to you as their source?
And because lead scoring is a quantifiable metric for determining the effectiveness of communications, achievement of a marketing qualified lead goal is often a more pure barometer for this effectiveness in B2B than overall revenue impact.
Customer relationship management has always been the connective tissue between sales, marketing and customer service, but now, really connecting sales and marketing means to also talk, come together and collaborate to leverage the digital systems that provide deep insights into the presales engagement and behaviors along the buyer’s journey. Behavioral data with all contact points, including advertising and website interactions, paints a clearer picture of engagement. Demand generation programs can help your organization reach new markets, promote new product features and re-engage existing customers.
Direct marketing’s savviness takes new shape amid the wealth of digital behavioral data available to us, but it’s not just a matter of dusting off a skill set. Instead, this integral role helps redefine marketing and sales team relationships, increasing campaign effectiveness.
For more on direct marketing’s impact in today’s digital ecosystems, download our e-book Direct Marketing’s Renaissance: How behavioral data and new channels have reinvented direct marketing.
Alexa leads the direct marketing team at BR, providing strategic leadership across all accounts and growing the department’s channel marketing capabilities, which include integrated direct marketing (mail and email), as well as sales promotion programs. Prior to joining BR, Alexa served the direct marketing industry for 25 years at flagship direct response agencies in Chicago. Want to ask Alexa more about this article? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org