My last post covered highlights of the print customer panel I put together for the 2016 NEDMA Conference last week. One remarkable thing about this daylong event was how much print was featured. There were several sessions on direct mail. My panel focused on how today’s customers deal with the print industry. And earlier in the day, Cory Funk of Japs-Olson Company facilitated another print customer panel. I sat in on this one. It was quite interesting.
Entitled, “Print Is Alive,” the session spotlighted two marketers who discussed using direct mail. One marketer represented Citizens Bank; another represented NexGen Insurance.
Here are a few highlights from that session.
Direct mail is a primary channel for both companies. The bank uses other channels to enhance its direct mail campaigns. And while the insurance company is highly digitally focused, marketing-wise, direct mail is still a core channel. As expected, they use multiple response mechanisms in their direct mail.
What’s changed in the insurance industry in the last five years, asked Cory? These trends were cited:
- Direct mail is more likely to play a role in omnichannel campaigns.
- Creative is more focused on storytelling.
- There are multiple response mechanisms used in campaigns.
- There’s much more personalization in marketing campaigns.
- There’s increased pressure on print from a budgetary perspective. (I took this to mean there’s a push to measure print’s ROI.)
The marketer from Citizens Bank added that data has been a major factor in her business. How they use it is key. There was talk about how “good” data can help (increased relevance) but can also hurt (perceived privacy violations).
The insurance industry marketer also noted that there are now multiple data sources to manage and deal with. (He did say that thanks to sophisticated print companies who are experts in data analytics, print’s no longer cost prohibitive.)
The speakers talked about the importance of testing. Citizens does hundreds of tests a year, including a lot of multivariable testing. Different formats are tested to arrive at which lowest cost options drive the highest response. The timing of direct marketing channels is a challenge.
Bottom line? For these marketers, direct mail is an extremely powerful medium. As the speaker from Citizens said, “Print is going to be the lead.”