Still reeling from the double hit of the May 2009 postal rate increases and the recession, brick-and-mortar merchants are looking for new ways to save money and market to their customers. Increasingly, these marketers are finding themselves in unfamiliar digital territory. The shift from traditional vehicles such as direct mail and inserts to a digital world that spans e-mail, search, social media, and mobile is not a subtle one.
Times are changing, silos are falling, and retailers are realizing that between design, production, postage, and other costs, direct mail has a more limited role in the marketing arsenal, and needs to be used much more selectively than before.
Let’s look at the relative costs of digital direct marketing versus print: Bulk postage rates alone could be in the neighborhood of $0.20 per piece. In the digital world, sending that same offer via e-mail could cost $0.003 with volume, and sending that offer via social media will cost nothing except the time of the marketing staff to set-up and execute the campaign. Digital direct marketing provides substantial cost savings, better targeting abilities, and logistical efficiencies.
For marketers with a compelling value proposition, one of the biggest costs associated with digital media is the cost of not controlling their offers in a world of digital viral marketing.
Direct mail by nature is a one-to-one communication channel. Consumers rarely receive a print coupon and share it with friends and family via e-mail and Facebook. Direct mail has inherent control features that digital marketing does not, at least not without utilizing sophisticated security technologies to control and manage distribution of digital offers. The viral nature of information on the Internet creates a number of new risks as well. A poorly executed digital campaign can damage your brand, deplete your budgets, and alienate your loyal customers.
There’s a lot of risk -- but with the right process and technology, savvy marketers will do far better with digital distribution and reap the tremendous cost-savings and marketing efficiencies.
Here are five easy suggestions for brick-and- mortar marketers just getting started with digital couponing to drive in-store sales:
As mentioned above, many merchants are learning the hard way that if not executed correctly, printable coupon campaigns can have serious repercussions across an entire organization, ranging from operations to marketing to customer service issues.
There are a number of couponing mistakes that every brick-and-mortar retailer will want to avoid:
Successful couponing via digital media takes a commitment to testing, a well-planned process, and the proper technology. With a willingness to learn and the right partners, every marketer can begin making the transition from direct mail to digital.
Seth Sarelson (Seth@RevTrax.com) and Jonathan Treiber (Jonathan@RevTrax.com) are co-founders at RevTrax (RevTrax.com), a leading provider of technology solutions to help multichannel merchants track the effectiveness of digital media on offline transactions.