The Most Effective Offline Channels for Unique Customer Experiences

The Most Effective Offline Channels for Unique Customer Experiences
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In my last post, I talked about how underrated offline marketing is. Now, let’s get down to which modes are the best within offline.

There are so many fantastic options for offline marketing channels — some of them being catalog, radio, newspaper, and television. But, in my opinion, the three channels that really make sense to integrate into a campaign management platform are direct mail, point of sale, and call center. Here’s my take on those three channels and the unique benefits that come with them.

Direct mail

People may only read an email quickly and move through it because they get so many. They are much more inclined to look through a beautiful mailer that speaks to them. They may even read through it two or three times, seeing it on the counter repeatedly. “Oh yeah, I forgot I have this,” as they pick it up to read again. Home is a physical place people go to in order to rest. Your offline marketing pieces can live there with them, staying sometimes for weeks or months — depending on how often they tidy up!

There is also evidence of how successful direct mail is (and is becoming). According to the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail response rates took a tremendous leap in 2016 with a 5.3-percent response rate to house lists and a 2.9-percent response rate to prospect lists. These are the highest levels the DMA has tracked since 2003. (For comparison, in 2015 the rates were 3.7 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. In 2010 the rates were 3.4 percent and 1.4 percent.)

Direct mail also has the third highest ROI (27 percent), behind email (122 percent), social media (28 percent), paid search (25 percent), and online display (18 percent).

Make certain your marketing partners are helping you monitor the direct-mail efforts of your competition.

Unique benefits

  • This piece of paper that lies around on your living room table becomes part of your personal life. Customers can have a break and still come back easily to focus on the material.
  • Believe it or not, consumers understand and remember what they read on paper better than what they read on a screen, according to Maryanne Wolf’s amazing book “Proust and the Squid.”
  • Customers can feel more special when you send them something that looks beautiful. You can work on different senses, apart from sight alone. For instance, innovative marketers are integrating smell, touch, taste, and sound into their direct mail.
  • You can convey quite a lot more information.

Point of sale (POS)

Whether you utilize kiosks, retail stores, or both, POS systems can make their customers feel special when they have the right messages. In other words, if associates have access to someone’s entire customer profile from their tablets in the store for example, vendors will be able to have a look at the customer profile, preferences, etc. and communicate more efficiently.

Unique benefits

  • Personal nature lends to higher engagement.
  • It’s a fantastic way to collect detailed outputs while you are having a discussion with the customer.
  • Strong reactivity (being able to jump on what the prospect/customer said in the moment and so adapt an offer).
  • Additionally, unique data that allows you to combine it with your offline and online channels.

For example, let’s say you’re using iBeacons to track the offline behaviors of customers who have opted-in to your brand’s marketing-communications program: If a customer whom you know likes one of your brands enters one of your stores and has the app on his phone, you can send him an in-app message to welcome him, with details of location-specific deals, discounts, rewards, and personalized product recommendations.

Call center

There is nothing like being helped by actual people. In this channel, you have the power to truly connect with your customers in order to let them understand what you can do and to provide them whatever offerings may help them. It’s a truly worthwhile effort, and your customers are there because they really want to be in the conversation.

Unique benefits

  • Higher engagement.
  • Empathy and other connecting emotions can be conveyed more easily.
  • You can convey the most information in a short period of time with diminished noise, so the customer can hear you clearly.
  • Help can come quickly (and more creatively) when dealing with someone personally.

If you can integrate these channels in the customer journey you are providing, you’ll create a uniquely special customer experience.

Check back soon for my next post on key tips on how to achieve this offline marketing balance.

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