Michael Chase, Chief Marketing Officer of St. Joseph Communications, loves what he calls the intersection of the Gutenberg printing press and the Internet. “When digital and physical work together,” he says, there can be an “explosive, dynamic resonance in the marketplace.”
It’s that resonance that he and other marketers covet, the thing he insists Smartmail Marketing can deliver. He describes the winning formula as having three pillars: physicality, data and connectivity.
In 2015, Canada Post introduced Smartmail Marketing to the advertising lexicon. It has been educating the industry about the power of combining physicality, data and connectivity ever since.
Its 2015 reports Breaking Through the Noise and A Bias for Action documented how the physical medium of direct mail provokes brand recall, engagement and action. We were told that the right data can be strategically leveraged to successfully reach audiences broadly or to target potential clients with precision. Those paying attention understood that physical-digital connectivity links consumers to product and brands through multiple channels. That – all of that – is what Smartmail Marketing is about.
Mark Morin, like Chase, is a believer. President of Strategies Relationship Marketing, an award-winning Quebec-based agency, Morin has been incorporating direct mail into campaigns for 35 years. He welcomes “the ability to make that connection with other channels, to be able to draw on data in a very meaningful way.”
Andy Bruce, co-founder and CEO of The Mobile Experience Company, an Oshawa-based marketing solutions provider, is even more emphatic about Smartmail Marketing’s second pillar. “Data is the most important thing in marketing today,” he says. “It gives you an unprecedented amount of power to be able to tailor messaging and content.”
Bruce speaks specifically about data that can be leveraged: “This person on this day received this piece of mail – here’s their digital footprint and cookie-crumb trail going all the way through to this store.”
Morin agrees “being able to make the connections between these things throughout the customer journey is really, really important.”
Knowing the region or community in which someone lives is only a start. Today, digital data can provide contextual and behavioural information that allows marketers to create hyper personal messaging.
“If you don’t know who you’re talking to, it won’t resonate with them, and it won’t be relevant to them, and they won’t connect with your brand,” says Chase.
Adds Morin, “And if you don’t think strategically about it, then you’re going to end up doing a bunch of stuff and some will stick and some won’t.” The unstated message – make it all stick – is as powerful as Chase’s spoken word on connectivity, Smartmail Marketing’s third pillar: “If you’re not doing omni-channel today, if you’re not looking at your entire holistic marketing mix, you’re missing people.”
New research lends credence to the power of omni-channel marketing. It shows that advertising campaigns that integrate direct mail with digital media are even more likely to trigger consumer action and drive sales.
Connecting for Action, released in the fall of 2016 by Canada Post and the Ipsos Neuro & Behavioral Science Center of Excellence, reports that integrating direct mail into digital campaigns drives 39 per cent more attention (time spent), 10 per cent higher brand recall and a five per cent stronger emotional response than single-media digital campaigns.
In singing Smartmail Marketing’s virtues, Chase returns to what he calls that winning formula: “When you really look at physicality, connectivity and then harnessing data and really using it the right way – if you combine everything – BOOM! It’s like lightning in a bottle.”
Hear top marketers discuss direct mail’s role in an omnichannel universe at CanadaPost.ca/thesessions.