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Social and action based data: the savior of door drop marketing

18 December 2013

We still get them. Those glossy inserts or mailers, which have been crafted, designed and pored over, with much debate over the words, tone of voice and images that will achieve the best response rates. Those glossy, high-quality print, door drop marketing mailers that have been produced and dispatched in bulk, shipped across the nation, meticulously sorted by individual address and then hand delivered by our trusty mail-force; landing on the mat just inside the front door, waiting in anticipation to be picked up to surprise and delight the targeted recipient.

Similar statistics to a certain cat food (the only similarity being the ratio) indicate 8 out of 10 recipients don’t respond*. However, it is perceived that much brand awareness has been achieved, usually measured by recall rates through surveys. Placing the accuracy of measures to one side, if the purpose of the door drop marketing mailer is to incite a response, then there is 80% wastage. That’s significant.

Traditional, a polite way of saying “old fashioned”, ways of door drop targeting are based on a mix of data that include geography, consumer classification (i.e. Mosaic), census counts and gravity models, which have psychographics embedded within. These combine to build out the profile of the “Who”, all very valid forms of information, so why the 80% wastage? There is an important element being missed.

With the “Big Data” phenomenon now being powered by more than a full head of steam, there are several further elements of data (structured and unstructured) that can be brought into play. For that glossy mailer to grab the attention of the recipient, it needs to be relevant, and then compelling… and definitely in that order. E.g. if you receive a door drop marketing mailer concerning the latest and greatest smart tv at a fantastic price, it may be very compelling, but if you’ve purchased one in the last 6 months, then it isn’t relevant at all. Like many things, including good comedy, it’s all the about timing, the “When”.

The element of time is where the traditional methods fall down. Being relevant is not just about the content and the cleverly constructed choice architecture, it’s about reaching people at the moment they could be or are in the market; they’re searching, short-listing and comparing. To achieve better responses and reduce wastage, it’s about combining the “Who” and the “When” data sources. This relates to the upper part of the funnel, or the top half of the loop**, depending upon which customer journey model you subscribe to. In fact, “time” is a key element often forgotten in these customer journey models too, but that is a different blog post.

“When” or action-based data:
This is where social and mobile intelligence can come in. Forget social media as a means for brands to reach or transmit messages to people. Instead think of it as a massive focus group of people willingly giving and publicly sharing their opinions and affinities about all sorts of things (including products and brands) in real-time. Couple this with information, again, which they are publicly sharing, about their current location, who they are with and a much richer picture emerges of what’s of interest to them at that current time. If people have publicly shared this and their profile information, it can be correlated with the “Who” data, providing a much richer view of the consumer, enabling your business to deliver a much more relevant brand experience.

The “Hierarchy of Relevance”:
This blog post focused on door drop marketing mailers; however, there is a simple relevance model, which is applicable to any form of communications, whether marketing or operational. The apex is all about time, the “When”, and such data sets can include social activity, geo-location, mobile cell coverage, purchase activity, email opening, photo sharing, click-stream activity, web behaviour, who you are with etc. With timely and accurate data management, this information can be correlated to inform much more timely, relevant and compelling personalised communication across multiple channels.


Karl Havard is Chief Strategy Officer, Communisis



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