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Achieving consumer engagement

Treena Colby
Monday, Sep 19, 2011 at 2:00 PM

For any marketer, the biggest challenge is to have your message heard by potential customers over and above the massive amounts of marketing messaging that is already in their faces. What is even harder to achieve is true consumer engagement where customers not only hear your message, but also remember it and act upon it.


engagement success image 


There are many marketing vehicles, but what mode is the most effective? What are the typical response rates? You would hate to go through all the trouble and work of creating a marketing campaign just to see it go flat or nowhere at all.


The 2010 response rate trend report from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) looked at Direct Mail (five formats:  letter-sized envelopes, postcard, oversized envelopes, dimensional, and catalog); Email; Paid Search; Internet Display; and Telephone. It also contained response rates on Mobile (SMS and Display); DRTV; DR Radio; Magazine and Newspaper Space Advertising; Inserts; Fax; and Digital Out-of-Home.


What DMA found


Email to a house list: While you may get a 19.47 percent open rate, expect to see, on average, a 6.64 percent click-through rate and a 1.73 percent conversion rate. And those pesky bounces and heart breaking unsubscribes? The bounce-back rate is on average 3.72 percent and an unsubscribe rate is 0.77 percent.


Direct Mail: The tried-and-true marketing mode of direct mail shows response rates holding steady over the past four years. Letter-sized envelopes, for instance, had a response rate this year of 3.42 percent for a house list and 1.38 percent for a prospect list.


Lowest cost per lead/order: Catalogs had the lowest of $47.61, just ahead of inserts at $47.69, email at $53.85, and postcards $75.32.


Highest cost per order or lead: Ring, ring… Outbound telemarketing to prospects had the highest cost of $309.25, but it also had the highest response rate from prospects of 6.16 percent. The highest response rate for a house list was also telephone, at 10.41 percent.


Paid search had an average cost per click of $3.79, with a 3.81 percent conversion rate. The conversion rate (after click) of Internet display advertisements was slightly higher at 4.43 percent.


Mobile Marketing


But let’s talk online, mobile marketing and 2D barcodes. Are they all worth the hype? Marketing experts correctly predicted that the use of 2D barcodes, such as Microsoft Tag, would explode in 2011. Ease of use and the mainstreaming of their use have been two driving factors in their adoption. Mobile marketing is now a huge part of customer engagement and it is now a pillar in multi-screen marketing capabilities. Campaigns can reach out to consumers wherever they are at any time.


It is this ease of use and anytime accessibility of mobile shopping that has driven such a push into mobile marketing. Specifically to smartphones, research has found that while smartphone users spend very little time shopping (at an itty bitty 7 percent of their smartphone usage), these users are more likely to recall and engage advertisements while shopping on their smartphone. A whopping 35 percent of mobile shoppers that recalled ads clicked on the ad. Talk about consumer engagement.


Tags Drive Engagement


A good example of driving mobile engagement was the use of Tag in the Microsoft Office “Make it Great” campaign. The campaign featured real people sharing what motivates them to “make it great” in their everyday lives and how Office 2010 helps them do that. The Office marketing team added Microsoft Tag to some of their magazine advertising. The Tags took readers to custom mobile sites where they could view videos, learn about product features, and sign up for a free trial of Office 2010.  The Office team wanted to see if this print-to-mobile approach would increase customer response and, ultimately, purchase intent. The results exceeded expectations. Tag-driven consumers were more engaged on the mobile site and twice as likely to view the videos as those coming from mobile banner ads.


Another successful Tag implementation teamed Wal-Mart and the Xbox game “Halo Wars.” To publicize the release of "Halo Wars," the retailer created Tag-enabled store displays. Customers who scanned the Tags with their smartphones were taken to a special website where they could pre-order the game and get freebies such as ringtones. Microsoft found that 85 percent of the people who visited the site ended up downloading content onto their phone.


Educated Consumers


For online marketing, consumers are getting savvier and expect marketers to keep up. Since 2008, Internet users in the United States have become more accustomed to online display ad relevancy—or the lack thereof. While a majority of users do not see that online ads are relevant to them, the ones who do find ads relevant are growing.


So marketers, while traditional modes of marketing will never go away, the use of mobile marketing will get you remembered and lead to more consumer engagement.


How do you feel about the proliferation of mobile marketing? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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