I don’t often lament the fate of marketers. We have a lovely job and generally a lot of fun doing it. That said, with the cost-of-living crisis and the current economic turmoil, we might be forgiven for feeling like our job has become unnecessarily hard work.

The latest Bellweather report however gives us some hope that advertising investments are worth making during a stagnant or contracting economy. It shows increases in budgets for many advertising sectors including main media and direct marketing. So the message is clear, this is the time for direct marketers to demonstrate to our businesses or our clients that we know how to use data to navigate the maelstrom.

Pointers to help you grow your channels.

  • Direct Mail doesn’t have to be beautiful or innovative. It has to work.

That doesn’t mean a beautiful or innovative pack might not work of course but the chances are that it will have to work a whole lot harder to deliver returns if its more expensive to send out. It’s way more important to understand your products and who they appeal to, then tailor your packs to those people. Create a classic Direct Mail pack, establish a control, then test changes against that control. In this way we can continue to improve results from a DM campaign month after month after month.

  • In a changing world your audience may be changing.

If you want to grow your channels you have to be able to adapt. With a rapidly changing economy and changing tastes amongst generational cohorts, you might be surprised at some of the pockets of customers you’re attracting without even knowing it. Research shows for example, that more Gen Z consumers splash out on high price high quality items because they can’t afford to move out from their parents’ home and therefore have spare cash. You might be selling to more Gen Zeds than you realise.

We recently helped a client change their targeting strategy by understanding their audience had changed. When we adapted their target audience and tweaked their messaging accordingly, we delivered their best ever campaign. We did this using real data to profile their first party data.

  • Email marketing is dead. Long live email marketing.

Ok, so it might not be legal to conduct a mass broadcast to millions of email addresses any more, and let’s be honest, it wasn’t a good look for your brand either. But that doesn’t mean email marketing is dead. By collecting first party consent either on your own sites or using others (or both) you can quickly begin to build an audience of engaged consumers who want to hear from you. This will lead to open rates you could only dream of back in the day of mass broadcasts. And it doesn’t have to stop at a weekly newsletter. With the right tools (which don’t need to cost the earth) and the right data collection you can get really clever with trigger-based activity and personalisation such as browse-abandonment and basket abandonment emails, price drop notifications, low stock nudges and reminders around key dates.

  • Don’t let Google steal your sales.

Many businesses still rely on ‘last-touch attribution’ to understand the value of their investment in different channels. If you’re using email, inserts, direct mail, radio, OOH or TV to fill your marketing funnel with lots of leads, you won’t be surprised to find that sales attributed to paid search or organic search are really high. But spending more on paid search won’t increase your sales as much as you think. If you’ve ever heard an advert on the radio and used Google to find the brand later, you’ll understand why. To solve this you need to know the value of each touchpoint in your customer journey and adjust your spend accordingly. This ‘multi-touch attribution’ could be just what you need to ensure you’re using the right channels at each stage in customer journey to optimise positive outcomes.

This is just the beginning and there’s so much more you can do when you get under the bonnet of your activity and really start to play with the data. Let’s face it we were all attracted to Direct Marketing because we’re a bit geeky about data. As the Bellweather report shows, our clients or the businesses we work for have the budgets, so it’s time to use that data geekiness to show them the best way to spend it.