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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - “Keys to Unlocking a Superior Customer Experience”

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “Keys to Unlocking a Superior Customer Experience” uncovers how omnichannel marketing strategies are the keys to unlocking a superior customer experience. The customer experience represents the pivotal moment that prospects either continue moving along the brand’s purchase journey, or decide to continue their product/service quest elsewhere, searching for a better customer experience. Invariably, there is an ongoing debate that the ultimate customer experience is steeped in a product’s value over and above all the marketing steps that are taken to capture that customer’s attention, and thus place them into the brand's sales funnel.

For the sake of this post, we are going to assume that product/service offerings meet the highest value propositions among competing brands. In short, we are leveling the product/service playing field for the sake of discussion. That said, omnichannel marketing for the most part is akin to the old marketing concept of ‘the marketing mix,’ whereby brands and marketers invest in a number of traditional marketing mediums, to capture a majority of a prospect’s attention across a range of advertising outlets.

You Have Been “Omnichanneled”

You wake up one fine marketing morning to discover that your bank app has pre-approved you for a loan on an Infiniti dealer certified vehicle. As a result of you investigating the details of the online offer, your prospect inquiry information is captured, fed into a data base, and hence the onmichannel marketing push begins.

Over the next few days, you receive a stunning direct mail piece that is personalized, complete with a QR code that directs you to a custom landing page that was created just for you. The next phase of this onmichannel marketing campaign delivers an email with more compelling information highlighting the loan percentages, and outlines other features and benefits of the Infiniti brand. A few days later, a sales manager or sales person telephones to remind you of the offer, and to further nail down more specifics, such as trade-in value, down payments, etc., and of course answer any questions that you may have.

The aforementioned example describing this omnichannel marketing campaign process is a testament that you just got ‘omnichanneled.’  In fact, many of us have been privy to omnichannel marketing initiatives, and for the most part, most of us fail to connect the dots from a marketing perspective.

Omnichannel Versus Marketing Mix

On the surface, one could make the assertion that employing a marketing mix is really the same as utilizing an omnichannel marketing approach. While both of these marketing strategies share the idea of marketing across various advertising mediums, they are in fact, different beasts altogether.

For one, the marketing mix concept grew out of the marketing years in the traditional sense, whereby, brands invested in marketing and advertising using the traditional mediums, such as television, radio, newspapers, direct mail, outdoor, events and product samplers, to name a few. This marketing mix strategy predates the digital era, where now, customers and prospects could be reached in ways that offer direct communication on a personalized level, complete with the ability for brands to capture real time data about customers and prospects. In addition, brands can now open real time dialogue to help move the prospect towards the purchase decision.

That's not to suggest that the aforementioned traditional mediums fail to have relevance in an omnichannel marketing campaign.  The truth of the matter is that all of the available marketing mediums, both traditional and digital, make up what is now referred to as omnichannel marketing.

Why Omnichannel Marketing Led by Print is Preferred by Marketers

There are a number of surveys and reports indicating that marketers prefer omnichannel marketing not only for increased ROI, but also for a more robust opportunity to develop long term customer relationships. We contend that omnichannel marketing efforts have different criteria for quantifying marketing successes, however, the majority of these types of marketing programs are all focused on producing measurable outcomes.

The successful omnichannel marketing campaigns share a couple of things in common. 1. Consistent marketing messaging that elevates the customer experience across all channels, and 2. The usage of print as the primary messaging medium that leads the process.

Marketers Confidence in Omnichannel

NAPCO Media’s Target Marketing research indicates marketers across a wide swath of industry sectors hunger for instituting omnichannel marketing strategies. Of these findings, a notable one points out that 80% of survey respondents rated omnichannel experiences as important provisions across a number of sectors, such as healthcare, travel, IT and financial services.

The following statistics gleaned from NAPCO Media’s Target Marketing research should serve as a road map for marketers and brands to understand how the competitive landscape is utilizing ominchannel mediums. The question was asked, “Which channels do you use or plan to use to interact with your customers?” These percentages highlight the channels that are currently being used:

  • 88% - Email
  • 87% - Website
  • 80% - Social Media
  • 69% - Telephone
  • 63% - Direct Mail
  • 60% - Mobile
  • 58% - Online Marketing (Display ads, search marketing, etc.)
  • 45% - Brick-and-Mortar or Retail Location(s)
  • 26% - TV, Radio or Other Broadcast Media
  • 24% - App Experiences (mobile apps, virtual reality, virtual assistant “skills,” etc.)

An important take away from these data statistics is that direct mail comes in at 63%, which means that direct mail is a marketing component whose usage is one of the primary tools that provides the personalization and trustworthiness aspects. However, another observation from the respondents in the survey stated that lack of budget, lack of cross-platform data and customer recognition, including a lack of skilled personnel were preventing these marketers from accomplishing the level of omnichannel exposure they desired.

Selective Omnichannel Touch Points

Every omnichannel strategy does not necessarily need to include every medium used as portrayed in NAPCO Media’s Target Marketing research. While customer touch points are important, another take away from the survey is that each of the respondent companies fashioned their omnichannel strategies based on consumer outcome goals they expected to achieve. These customer outcome expectancy goals dictate the methods that will be utilized including any special services that may need to be developed to serve that end.

Data hygiene, for example was sited as an “urgent necessity” from one company that mails 1 billion catalogs, flats and postcards for their mid-tier retail customers. In fact, this company also points out that an audience list can change significantly between the time the list is compiled versus the timing in which the pieces are to be loaded into the mailstream. Further, due to these changes, on average, 4.5% of the recipients could become “very poor performers” due to late changes the data mailing list has failed to account for.

Pulling the Trigger

Omnichannel marketing also transcends the messaging delivery aspect of unlocking the customer experience. The aspect of being able to correctly identify prospects by interpreting their behavior plays a huge role in determining how they will receive the messaging, the right time, and the right message.

From pre-approved loans to credit applications to other purchase triggers, including any other message that can signal a purchase intent, an automatic delivery system should be in place. This type of automated delivery system can trigger sending a direct mail piece or mobile ad, or any other action available to the organization; and marketers can leverage these types of triggered opportunities.

7 Key Capabilities for Omnichannel Customer Journeys

According to the Omnichannel Marketing’s NAPCO Media’s Target Marketing report there are seven key capabilities you will need to have in order to enable the kind of customer journey brands will expect to provide in the near future:

  1. Offer a consistent customer experience across all channels
  2. Interact with customers on many channels, online and offline
  3. Recognize individual customers on any channel they visit
  4. Access data from your core customer records in any channel they visit
  5. Reference actions taken in the past on any channel during live interactions on any channel
  6. Enable purchasing wherever the customer wants to purchase
  7. Enable customer service wherever the customer wants to interact with you

Print’s Bling Enhances the Experience

As more customers are responding to direct mail pieces that are printed with metallics and foils, respondents testimonies reflect the effectiveness of this trend. Todd Meissner, president of Color Ink in Sussex, WI stated that his belief in making print more sophisticated, i.e., by giving it a “premium factor” with a pinch of “bling” to focus on heightened visual appeal, allows mail pieces to convey a visual value statement that other channels fail to produce. Look for more printing establishments to invest in 3D print enhancement systems for foiling and spot-coated UV special effects going forward. Meissner also stated that customers are showing a “huge interest” in what these types of print hardware devices can do for signage and other in-store visual materials.

The Net-Net

We contend that this post is just the tip of the iceberg regarding all the analysis necessary to successfully design an omnichannel marketing strategy. However, the bread crumbs presented in this post from NAPCO Media’s Target Marketing report serves as a benchmark for unlocking a superior customer experience strategy. Happy Unlocking Keys to a Superior Customer Experience!

Let’s have a conversation about direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, June 28th, 2018, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com