This article appeared in the November/December, 2018 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.


    As 2019 quickly approaches, we all need to take some time and start creating those lists of goals, changes, and resolutions for the new year. This is also the perfect time for annual marketing strategies and budgets, so let’s do this together and see if we can sharpen our pencils a bit in terms of marketing in 2019. I have done this drill about two dozen times in my almost 30-year business career, so I’ve learned a thing or two. Here are my top five suggestions for direct marketers as they head into the new year.


    1.Assume an Omnichannel Approach to Everything A single laser-focused campaign works when targeting your audience, but I wouldn’t recommend it when talking about channels. A single-channel campaign is really short-sighted these days. Consumers and customers are everywhere… print, social media, traditional media, and so on; it’s important for you to be everywhere too. To add to this advice is to do it concurrently, not linearly. This multiplies and expands your reach and has the power to put repeated messages in front of your audience in a short period of time, allowing it to be remembered and acted on.


    2.Try New Channels and Methods. Experiment! Technology is in hyper-drive. Consumers are fickle and change where they focus their attention, much like children do. Don’t be afraid to try some new channels, like Snapchat, Bing, and Twitch, to find your audience. There are also new types of print and augmented reality. The bottom line is, a little gamble can sometimes pay off in big ways.


    3.Don’t abandon What Has Worked Before We’ve all heard the age-old line, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you’ve hit your stride with a particular campaign, audience, or channel, don’t abandon it! Milk it for what it’s worth because we all know the audience and/or the channel is fluid and fickle. Honestly, I’d probably pour more resources behind this success and scale it up as much as I could until I saw it wasn’t working any longer. And even when success starts to drop, I would probably still give it a bit of time. I certainly wouldn’t just change it up at the first dip in engagement or response.


    4.Improve Your Data Quality… Pinpoint Your Target. The biggest improvement technology has brought to marketing is the ability to quickly and directly hone in on a specific target market or audience. Never before has the data been as complete and deep. Never have any marketers been able to target so precisely. In this day and age, if you are not narrowing your target to an increasingly specific target market and making that message relevant to that target, you are wasting precious marketing resources.


    5.Improve Your Creative and Message. Clarity and creativity of message cannot be neglected. Even if you are on-point with all other marketing angles, if you miss this one, you’ll likely crash and burn. There is so much advertising noise out there that you have to do something to stand out. Oftentimes in the creative sphere, less is more. Simplicity of message with an easy to understand call to action is usually the most important. You have a couple of seconds to make that communication in the digital world before the audience scrolls by or hits the delete button. Impinging and interesting creative is key to that. Don’t overthink it, but do try to think outside the box. Ask yourself what ads or creative you have found interesting, and tailor your strategies using those as examples.


    One thing is for sure: The pace of change is not going to slow. It behooves all of us to continually educate ourselves on what’s next. I make it my own personal responsibility to spend hours per week reading, learning, and studying the world of digital marketing , where it’s going, and why. The more you know, the better chance you have at being a success. That being said, don’t let yourself fall into analysis paralysis. Get out there, market, and make 2019 the best year yet!


    Brad Kugler is CEO, DirectMail2.0. Visit www.dm20.com for more information.

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