Just Saying You Are a Multichannel Organization Doesn’t Make it True

Have you been saying for the last few months, or even years, that you’re going to branch out your marketing into various channels? But for whatever reason—maybe you don’t have the time or resources to give each channel the attention it deserves—this multichannel approach has not come to fruition. You may technically be operating on multiple channels, but in fact you are not truly a multichannel marketing company.

So now’s the time to finally ensure you become a multichannel organization, which is increasingly critical today as customers expect to be able to contact your company on their preferred channel. In fact, in 2015, customers will continue to demand effortless interactions over Web and mobile channels, according to “Forrester’s Top Trends for Customer Service in 2015.”

To keep up with this multichannel customer trend, and to combat any trouble you’re having getting your multichannel approach off the ground, it’s vital that you avoid waiting to seek out help. For example, InfoCision can partner with your organization and deliver multichannel marketing solutions to meet any of your unique needs. As a provider of leading marketing solutions for over 30 years, we can manage a multitude of channels so that you never have to go it alone. We can offer you:

  • Inbound and outbound contact center services and technology
  • Email and text message marketing
  • Direct mail campaign assistance
  • Social media advisement
  • Website development
  • Web chat

By partnering with an organization devoted to creating effective multichannel marketing solutions, you can boost customer engagement without devoting your own resources. A “one-stop shop” marketing partner can help you maximize ROI well into the future. Click here to get a much-needed boost from a multichannel marketing partner.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Rumors of Direct Mail’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Direct mail can get a bit of a bad rap these days. Often referred to sarcastically as “snail mail,” many people now view it as nearly obsolete.

An important distinction to make with print mail, however, is that although it is older than other channels, it is far from antiquated. That principle is supported by a plethora of recent statistics and reports, many of which reveal that consumers find print mail more personal than online communications.

Direct mail can still be extremely effective but, like a strategy for any other channel, it has to be tailored to specific consumer groups to achieve maximum impact. Customizing direct mail marketing, however, can seem like an overwhelming and time-consuming task for many companies. In that case, a multichannel marketing partner can be essential for businesses without the time or capability to drill down on data and personalize direct mail for different customer segments.

A true one-stop marketing shop has robust print solutions that fit seamlessly with phone, email, social media and other channels. Working closely alongside businesses to help them execute their strategies, these top-shelf marketing partners can actually break down information far enough—using sophisticated business intelligence—to create unique mail pieces with personalized messages for each customer.

Despite what you may hear, direct mail remains a critical ingredient for marketing success and probably will for some time. There’s a reason people generally don’t send wedding or gala invitations through email or on social media—print mail offers a personal touch other channels simply can’t match. In other words, implementing multichannel marketing solutions is always a good idea, as long as you don’t neglect the most tried-and-true method of all.

Click here to learn more about InfoCision’s print mail solutions.

 

US Post Office Issues Leave Marketers Hanging in Limbo

Last week, the United States Post Office Board of Governors announced that it will cancel plans to drop Saturday delivery that were set to go into effect in August. While this is good news for direct mail marketers in the short term in that at least we can plan for delivery schedules, the larger issue remains: What is the long-term fate of the post office?

Last week, the United States Post Office Board of Governors announced that it will cancel plans to drop Saturday delivery that were set to go into effect in August. While this is good news for direct mail marketers in the short term in that at least we can plan for delivery schedules, the larger issue remains: What is the long-term fate of the post office?

It has been well documented that the post office has been hemorrhaging money, to the tune of losing $25 million per day – equating to roughly $16 billion in losses in 2012. Obviously these numbers cannot be sustained.

Stopping Saturday delivery – like it or not – would have made only a slight dent in the losses (hard to believe I’m calling $2 billion per year a slight dent). And a price increase could help, but trying to make up that much ground with price increases would be a nail in the post office’s coffin. Significant belt tightening is critical. I don’t claim to be an expert on post office policy, but there are places that Congress and the USPS Board of Governors can look to find help.

No shortage of ideas to fix the post office

It only took me a quick Google Search to find a wealth of ideas from various people and organizations, and even examples from other countries that could help the post office be more efficient.

  • Richard Geddes, PhD., associate professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell believes that privatizing the post office would be a fix, citing success stories from several other countries including the entire European Union and New Zealand. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/02/geddes-delivers-postal-service-fix-set-it-free
  • Four postal industry veterans, including a former deputy postmaster general, released a report in January stating that taking the post office to a public/private hybrid system could be a solution that allows the post office to remain largely public but also infuse the ingenuity of the private sector.  It’s a very interesting idea. http://www.napawash.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Hybrid-Public-Private-Postal-Service-1-2-13-3.pdf
  • Some other sources have claimed that the post office could remain fully public and make up lost money by diversifying its product and service offerings, and generating supplemental income by handling things like driver’s license renewals and title filing.

Congress needs to act NOW

The above ideas all seem to have their merits, but also come with some inherent risks.  However, none provide a greater risk than maintaining the status quo.  Far too many people depend on the United States Postal Service, including direct marketers.  Even in this digital age, direct mail is still a vitally important part of the marketing communications mix that allows us to reach people using the method they prefer – phone, email, text or, direct mail.  If the post office fails, the effects would be devastating to our industry, which produces over $2 trillion in annual sales.

In addition, we can’t simply count on private providers to pick up the slack. According to a Huffington Post article from last year, private carriers FedEx and UPS don’t have interest in delivering letters, postcards and other first class mail – and both actually contract with USPS for the delivery completion portion of certain shipments on a regular basis. In fact, according to spokeswoman Maury Donahue, FedEx “support[s] efforts to ensure that the Postal Service is able to successfully manage its business. We believe that a healthy Postal Service, the largest postal operator in the world, is important to America.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I urge Congress to enforce greater accountability of the United States Post Office. Your comments are welcomed.