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Comparing Point of Need Marketing and Direct Mail Marketing


Listening and Telling: Comparing Point of Need Marketing and Direct Mail Marketing

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We are living in, perhaps, the most branded times in history. Take a look outside your office window and count how many advertisements you see. Open up your Facebook account and check out the brands that show up on your friend feed. It’s simultaneously unavoidable and exciting. Brands have become more important and prevalent than ever, and the methods brands use to speak to their consumers have necessary evolution as a result. Direct mail marketing and point of need marketing are two very distinct and different methods of reaching consumers, but both have a place in this ever-evolving sphere of branding.

The Traditional

Though the proliferation of social media and digital marketing channels are dominating headlines and the mouths of new marketers, direct mail is not going anywhere. This is not simply about getting notifications for a new cell phone provider in your inbox. The success of direct mail depends on how well the campaign understands its segments. Correctly targeting messages to the right audience takes a considerable amount of audience testing. This way, the right messages reach the right people at the right time, effectively creating conversions or even leads. The personalization and calls to action of a properly run direct mail campaigns can lead to the consummation of a beautiful marriage between brand and consumer.

The Listeners

The old marketing adage tells us that the best time to get someone to buy something is when they are in need. It’s a simple concept, but sometimes can be a complex task. Thankfully, in the social media era, keeping the finger on the pulse of consumers is easier than ever. But remember, it’s a big Internet out there. Filtering out the white noise can be no easy task. Tools like Radian6 and Sprout allow community managers to go through the millions of conversations going on to find the few valuable ones. Think of it as an evolved form of listening. This methodology will lead to the ability for the brand to perfectly target their message to the right consumer at the exact right time, helping the consumer fulfill their need. In 2009, studies showed that 20% of tweets mention brands, so one can only imagine how that number has grown in 2013. The consumers are out there talking, and its up to the brands to find out the best way to listen to their audience.

When it comes to sampling, effectiveness is tested when considering point of need versus direct mail marketing. The sampling programs that provide the best results are the ones that give the brand the best chance of product sample trial. This means eliminating all barriers to trial. One of the downfalls of direct mail is that it doesn’t necessarily provide the best situation for trying a new product. What good is a shampoo sample sent to a home with bathrooms stocked with shampoo? Getting the sample as close as possible to the point of need/trial is giving the product the best chance of being used. Maybe it’s a pain relief cream at the foot of a ski mountain or a sun tan lotion at the boardwalk. From there, it’s just a matter of determining ROI. The 2009 study “Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness” showed that in-store sampling programs were wildly successful, driving a 475 percent sales life the day of the event and those that sampled an item were 11 percent more likely to purchase the product again during the 20-week period that followed.

Point of need marketing is all the rage these days, but its essence of listening and targeting is simply a refinement of an old philosophy. Technology and learnings have afforded brands and their marketing teams to move towards smaller and smarter scale strategies, which in turn lead to big ROI.

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Zack Barangan began his career as an editorial writer with his work published  on AOL’s Entertainment channel, Esquire magazine, and various men’s lifestyle blogs.

Today, he is focused on strategizing and developing engaging  and new content as PIE Advertising’s Director of Content.

You can reach Zack on LinkedInFacebook and Google+.


Image by Bogdan Suditu via Creative Commons


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