Show customers the love

This recession has probably led to more head scratching and presented more challenges than any other but according to a Marketing Society poll carried out in partnership with Royal Mail, direct marketers are among the best placed to guide their brands through these tumultuous times.

Russell Parsons

Direct marketing was ranked as the second most important media tool over the coming year in a poll of 115 marketing directors, with almost half (44.2%) placing the discipline front and centre in their marketing mix.

So what it is about such direct means of communicating that should resonate with marketers so much?

Steve Grout, managing director of Targetbase Claydon Heeley (TBCH), says “tactile and completely flexible” direct mail is still an important part of the marketers armoury. .

“I’m not so sure it should be seen as over and above television or press, but more as an important and powerful part of the mix that can be used for specific purposes. Our experience still shows that it can be an effective acquisition tool, as well as part of an ongoing relationship marketing programme,” he says.

According to Mike Welsh, chief executive of Publicis Dialog, it is not about which channel the marketer uses but about “getting close to customers” with direct marketing but one of several means, alongside channels such as mobile, email and web communications, to achieve this end.

“It has never been more important to show existing customers the love,” he says.

Something that many of Britain’s biggest brands are failing to do, according to another report this week by TBCH.

The study found that over three-quarters (77%) of people believe that brands including Barclays, Boots, British Gas and British Telecom are not engaging with them with the consequence being less brand advocates and importantly fewer recommendations.

Marketers of all persuasion take note. Be it by direct mail, sales promotion, mobile or email, in this environment “show the love”, because as Welsh brutally puts it, other companies will try and “nick them”.

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