Changing Channels

01/29/2014

With more and more direct marketing channels available to your business, it's important that you don't simply pick the cheapest or the quickest or the easiest for you. Ask your customers what they want and deliver a multichannel communications programme that addresses their channel preference...

Let your customers choose the channel

The media landscape has changed dramatically in the last decade. You and your customers are now faced with a much wider array of direct communications channels. We now live in a much more connected world and there are more ways you can reach people than ever before. 

 

Your traditional tried and tested channels of mail, phone and fax have been joined by sms, mms, email, apps, social media and an ever-increasing number of digital communications tools. 

 

This wave of new direct marketing channels presents your business with a much wider mix of options for conversing with your customers. It also gives your business the opportunity to drive costs down. Digital channels are generally faster, easier and cheaper to use. 

 

As a result some companies have rushed to migrate entire communications programmes from post to email. It makes sense. Email is instant, easy-to-manage and the cost per contact is much lower. The results, however, haven't always been as straightforward as a simple cost reduction. One large telco decided that e-billing would greatly reduce their postage costs. A quick win.

 

Unfortunately, once they started sending invoices exclusively by email, their debtor days skyrocketed. Customers weren't paying their bills as quickly and as we all know, when it comes to credit management, time is money. In this instance the telco switched back to physical invoices for the vast majority of their business clients.

 

In another instance, a charitable organisation scaled back their investment in warm donor direct mail campaigns and migrated more of their direct appeals to email. The hope was to considerably reduce the cost per contact and maintain the level of donations. Donations plummeted and the ROI decreased dramatically. 

 

These are two extreme examples of how the cheapest channel of communication isn't necessarily the best. In both examples the decision to change channels was purely business-driven with no consideration for the consumers' preferences.

 

Understanding channel preference is the key to successful direct communications programmes. The wider range of channels available for direct communication has undoubtedly given you more affordable options for reaching your customers, but more importantly, it has given your consumers greater choice. Don't take that choice away.

 

The best approach for managing direct communications with your customers is to give them options. You should ask them how they wish to receive correspondence. Give them all of the options and let them pick the one that best suits them. Allowing your customers more control over the medium greatly improves the impact of your message.

 

Granted, effectively managing a direct communications programme that spans an array of digital and offline channels can be daunting. You might feel that it would be a whole lot easier to just push every piece of correspondence out via email. You might even think that managing such a complex mix of consumer channel preferences would be impossible. That's not the case.

 

Thankfully, the arrival of all these new ways to reach your customer has also brought with it a range of intelligent, enterprise-level, communications packages that do the hard work for you. 

 

Communications platforms like GMC Inspire allow even the largest organisations to implement efficient, multi-channel communications programmes that allow everyone throughout your organisation to get the right information, to the right people, at the right time via the channel of communication that is right for them.

 

 

Platforms like GMC Inspire allow you to match your customers' channel preferences while reducing costs and increasing productivity.

 

For more information on GMC Inspire and GMC Inspire Hybrid Mail contact Neopost Ireland today on 1850 33 44 55 or email info@neopost.ie

 

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