Got a silo problem? If you’re like most companies doing targeted and personalized marketing, you do. You may have plenty of customer data, but it might be in different places (silos), and these places often aren’t talking to each other. As a result, your marketing is less effective than it could be.
Here are some risks to having siloed data:
- Unhappy customers. Whenever mail gets lost because you have the wrong address, whenever a mail piece arrives with a bad name, or you offer to sell a long-term customer a product they already own, you risk alienating that customer.
- High costs. The average price of every piece of returned mail is $3 (Source: Pitney Bowes). This is not just the postage and printing. It’s the cost of the piece coming back to you, figuring out what went wrong, and taking the time to fix it.
- Lost sales. How many marketing opportunities are lost because the data on customers’ preferences and behavior is siloed in different departments? That translates into lost revenue.
Let’s look at five steps for getting rid of those silos.
1. Connect inbound mail to outbound mail.
Build in tracking mechanisms that allow you to connect the incoming to outgoing mail. This can be as simple as adding a barcode unique to each participant. When the response envelope comes in, the barcode is scanned. This connects the incoming mail to the outbound file, linking the customer information together.
2. Centralize data capture.
Centralize mail processing in one location. Capture mail coming in from marketing, sales, customer service, web forms, and anywhere else in your company.
3. Extract what you need.
Your mail contains lots of essential details that can be useful to your print and digital marketing. Extract all of the insights you can, including names, addresses, channel preferences, transaction history, and customer surveys. Input it into a centralized database that can be accessed throughout the organization.
4. Look and learn.
Assign someone with a marketing and data background to analyze your database to understand what it tells you. Contained in there are critical nuggets about customer behavior, channel preferences, and more. Need help? Just ask!
5. Put it to use.
With a closed-loop on your mail communications and a centralized, up-to-date database accessible by all departments, you have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal. Take what you can learn and use it to improve your targeted and personalized direct mail marketing or other customer communications.
If something is proven safe, secure, and trustworthy, you’d embrace it, right? Now add in that it is also eco-friendly, and you have a product anyone would love. There is such a product, and its print. After years of research on consumer attitudes and preferences, print remains consumers’ preferred channel for safety, security, trustworthiness, and sustainability.
Here are some takeaways from research conducted by Two Sides and Toluna, a global polling firm:
- 91% of U.S. consumers surveyed agree that, when responsibly produced, used, and recycled, print and paper are sustainable ways to communicate.
- 86% of those in the 18- to 24-year-old age group see print as eco-friendly.
- 78% of Americans keep hard copies of essential documents filed at home because they see it as the safest and most secure way of storing information.
- 56% of Americans trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers.
- Only 35% of Americans trust the news stories they read on social media.
“Although we regularly hear [that] corporations are going digital or ‘paperless’ as safe, secure, and more [sustainable], this is not a shared opinion by a vast majority of the public, who seem to trust paper for many applications,” says Phil Riebel, president of Two Sides North America.
Furthermore, with the increase in online security breaches and “fake news,” Riebel notes the clear advantages of print on paper. “I believe more and more people will become concerned about what may happen to their personal information held electronically,” he says. “Seventy-six percent of people are now concerned, but that may go up even more.”
The value of print has never been clearer, especially for companies in markets such as insurance, financial services, and medical and pharmaceutical technologies, where safety, security, and trustworthiness remain “make or break” issues for consumers. In these and similar markets, the print channel remains indispensable.