There’s no debating that the value of first-party data has increased exponentially in the past decade. This could be because the rise of the internet has allowed consumers to leave behind more data than ever before, or businesses are finally getting the tools they need to understand the vast amount of data they possess. And while it’s clear that data is valuable, there is often a disconnect between collecting data and using it to the fullest on all addressable channels. Often, businesses overlook offline channels. But, these channels — like direct mail — are the key to tapping into high-value customers when powered by first-party data.
Growing amounts of data — but it lacks context
Creating a fully-fledged martech flow that targets high-value customers doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a solid foundation of data to make the operation tick. For many businesses, the collection and organization of data is often the weakest link in the marketing process.
Legacy marketing systems that many businesses still use weren’t build to handle the volume and complexity of data available today. This creates a major issue for marketing teams because the data they operate off of is fundamentally flawed. Either there are major gaps in information, data from different sources is stored separately, or there is no single view of customers.
On average, customers use 3 or more channels to make a purchase decision, so having disparate views of a customer (depending on the channel) makes any cross-channel efforts inaccurate or nearly impossible. To combat this growing problem, new technology has flooded onto the scene: the Customer Data Platform (CDP).
In simple terms, a CDP ingests all available first-party data and unifies it into profiles that marketers can then use to inform decisions. Data can be completely raw or come from other systems like CRM or customer service databases. CDPs have proved extremely valuable in getting businesses ahead to the next phase of customer experiences — competing with the likes of Amazon and Netflix for incredible customer journeys.
Turning data into highly-effective customer journeys
While it would be marvelous to say aggregating data into a CDP is the full answer to producing highly-effective customer journeys, but that’s not the whole truth. At scale, it’s impossible for marketers to leverage their data on their own. The key to making full use of customer data is through AI-powered data activation. Data activation is having customer experiences to be informed by the fullness of customer data.
This means every customer interaction across every channel is guided by a holistic, up-to-the-moment understanding of customers—including all prior transactions, on-site and offline behaviors, campaign engagement, product interactions, real-time actions, and other customer attributes gathered across channels and devices.
Blueshift, the worlds’ first Customer Data Activation Platform, has combined both the power of a CDP with patented and customizable AI-powered activation to bring meaning to customer data. Communication is personalized to each customers’ unique implicit and explicit preferences — which ensures they get the right content, through the right channels, at the right time.
Intelligent segmentation is key to reaching your ideal customer
When marketers are armed with the power of their first-party data, targeting can become hyper-precise and effective. Data that has been activated through predictive modeling produces segments of users that are most valuable to your businesses.
It’s important that the segmentation engine your business relies on to craft audiences is customizable to your unique needs and use cases. This is instrumental in allowing you to target users who will grow your business. Engines like Blueshift can produce granular, constantly updated segments of your most high-value and impactful customers that can be used across channels, or specifically for the channel of your choice.
These segments are created and updated with the power of your first-party data, which means you’re always operating on the most recent view of your customers. As soon as a customer takes a defined action these segments can trigger an email with recommendations, or send a postcard to the customer with an exclusive discount code. These channels become an extension of your brand and the transition from online behaviors to offline marketing becomes a smooth one.
Direct mail is your #1 tool for capturing quality customers
Now that customers live increasingly online lives and the digital transformation is well underway, the impact that direct mail can have on your marketing program is tremendous.
Especially for those who are not digital natives, and maybe yearn for more physical marketing, prioritizing direct mail can drive growth for your business. Physical mail caused 31% of baby boomers to purchase a service or product, and consistently outperforms digital marketing within the generation. This consumer demographic, while aging and being to retire, is still very important as they continue to outspend their younger peers and happen to be only consumer group that has made gains in real income since the 1970s.
But for the younger generations, being strategic with your direct mail sends is essential — with fantastic ROI. 78% of business executives believe that personalized direct mail is effective, or very effective at reaching key customer segments.
Automating direct mail strategies
With your foundation of data in place and triggered suited to fit your business needs, it’s a breeze to set up automated workflows that send personalized direct mail to customers at ideal times in their customer journey. Direct mail should be a triggered step of your welcome series, nurture flows, and other crucial campaigns. If you’d like to learn more about how to unify your customer data and automate your direct mail comms, reach out to InkIt and discover how, together with the power of Blueshift, we can make your plans a reality.