Analogue B2B direct marketing isn't dead

by MarketingFile 4. April 2016 13:45


The other day I thought it would be fun to introduce my 9 year old son to vinyl records. I dug out my USB turntable and hooked it up to the laptop and pulled out my teenage record collection (I am a hoarder). We were both amazed that it worked in the first place and he was fascinated by the whole thing. He really couldn’t believe this black shiny disk could play music. The educational bit didn’t last though and it ended up in a DJ ‘scratching’ session- an old George Benson LP was wrecked!

Grooved sound recordings are a 19th century technology, yet as a medium for capturing a sound it has never really been bettered for the potential quality of the listening experience and is making a bit of a comeback. Vinyl sales are on the rise and these consumers say the emotional physicality, the realism of the sound, the large format design of the covers are reasons amongst others as to why they are going back to vinyl records.

This ramble kind of leads me to my point…

Studies are suggesting the same thing is happening in B2C direct marketing. After years of being swamped by marketing emails, text messages and targeted web advertising, customers are now responding in record levels to high quality postal marketing. Just like with vinyl records there are associated emotional responses from printed collateral simply not possible with the digital alternative… like the smell of the ink or the texture of the paper… and a novelty.

For many SME and even larger companies, particularly for B2B marketing, their multi-channel direct marketing strategy really means cold calls and email prospecting via a low cost email broadcaster, sometimes with a link to the company website- a lazy solution where its strength lays in the ‘numbers game’, even if only a fraction of a percentage of email recipients read and respond it is still a result because it is so cheap and easy to run campaigns.

However, as anyone one working in B2B sales will attest, getting those contact email addresses for the right roles and people in any kind of number for a specific vertical is a pain, good quality data costs money and many companies often resort to doing manual research and the use of hit or miss email generators to get through to potentially valuable contacts. This often means verified contact lists are small- and that is where the ‘numbers game’ begins to work against the email campaign as the small number of emails (even if they get through) may not even be read anymore.

Royal Mail’s “Mail and Email Research Report”, published in May 2014, determined that 70% of consumers surveyed felt they received too much email- presumably the other 30% have effective spam filters? The same study suggested that 51% of emails are deleted within 2 seconds of receipt- that is by people on top of their inbox clearly! Joking aside though, I don’t think anyone would say they don’t receive enough email marketing! The same Royal Mail survey suggested 57% of people felt “more valued” when sent personalised mail, compared to only 17% for email.

“56% of consumers say (postal) mail grabs their attention, up from 47% in 2007”

Of course this study was based on B2C marketing but with B2B emails dominating email global traffic and the simple fact we are talking about human behaviour which transcends the work or home setting, one can assume that these statistics are still relevant and trends since 2014 would only increase the gap between the two marketing methods.

Email done in the right way and targeting the right people can of course work but it isn’t the panacea to B2B marketing and an over reliance has created email exhaustion. Brilliant products and amazing prices aren’t getting through to prospective customers as a result.

What the surveys indicate is that good quality, personalised marketing collateral and old fashioned signed letters delivered by post are still part of a true multi-channel B2B direct marketing strategy. Postal, combined with digital methods in a single, structured campaign can create a powerful way to enhance brand and promote products and services to those all-important contacts and convert into sales.

Source, all rights reserved: http://www.dma.org.uk

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