Physical and digital work best together

Integration has almost become a cliché in the world of direct marketing. At some point, a decade or so ago, direct marketers concluded the world had moved on so far that being DM alone was not enough. Hence the integrated agency serving the integrated needs of clients was born.

Russell Parsons

Though likely to lead to collective eye rolling, integration is key to successful direct marketing campaigns in a digital world. Those with a stake in the health of DM realise this. In launching media arm Market Reach earlier this year, Royal Mail’s Antony Miller told Marketing Week, that all its DM would have a “route to digital”, mail that points customers online, using QR codes for example, or that includes functions such as the digital watermarking.

This is both a crushing realisation of a new reality – digital channels are growing often at the expense of traditional media such as physical DM- and an appreciation of the fact that physical and digital can work incredibly well together.

This happy union was illustrated perfectly this week by the winner of the Direct Marketing Association’s Grand Prix award winning campaign for scale manufacturer Kern & Sohn. I can do little justice to content intricacies of the OgilvyOne created campaign, except to say it involved scales, gnomes and gravity and attempted to demonstrate the “precision of Kern & Sohn precision scales” (see here for more details).

What is clear, however, is the returns were impressive. A single physical DM pack containing material that demanded a visit to said site to find out more led to an 11 per cent increase in sales and a 1,042% return on investment.

Creative, relevant and integrated. It might be a cliché but clichés are borne from reality. A leaflet, a catalogue or insert cannot be successful in a vacuum. Physical can be brought to life online in all kinds of ways unimagined not too long ago. Used in the right context, with imagination, the two channels in tandem offer extended opportunities for physical DM and marketers a chance to deliver enviable return on investment.

If you have an innovative DM campaign that’s delivered laudable ROI there’s another chance to gain the recognition you deserve via the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2013. There’s a DM category and you can find out more about entering here.

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