An introduction to direct marketing

Digital retail media has created a host of new ad formats, enabling brands to engage with customers in innovative ways like sponsored search and personalised offers. As exciting as those opportunities can be, though, tried-and-tested techniques like direct mail and printed vouchers can still deliver immense value – particularly when used as part of a connected, multi-channel campaign.

In our final article in a series investigating the many opportunities of retail media, Tash Ward turns to the subject of direct marketing in the world of grocery.

There’s something very special about direct marketing. At a time when our experiences are becoming increasingly digitised – particularly our interactions with brands – physical incentives are becoming increasingly unique. Be it a mailing through the door, or a voucher handed over at the till, direct marketing delivers at a distinctly personal level. Importantly, it works, too; 96% of consumers are engaged by direct mail, according to one recent study[1].

Effective as direct marketing can be, though, it can also be a tactic that’s difficult for consumer brands to employ. An effective direct marketing campaign demands an extensive distribution network, and an equally sizeable customer database – neither of which are things that brands typically have.

Grocery retailers not only have access to customers at incredible scale – just about everyone goes shopping at some point, after all – they also have vast amounts of data. That data doesn’t only give brands a way to reach customers, either; it can also provide the insights they need to be laser-focused about who they engage with in the first place. That’s where direct marketing as a form of retail media comes into its own.

Two of the most common forms of direct marketing in use today are direct mailings and coupon at till. Presenting an opportunity to engage shoppers both at home and in-store, these complimentary products enable brands to achieve a wide range of marketing objectives – from encouraging customers to test out new products through to rewarding loyalty. Here’s what each offers.

Direct mailings

Delivered straight to their doorstep, direct mailings are a great way to engage with customers in the comfort of their own homes. Eye-catching visuals can be combined with a wide range of creative mechanics, from coupons and incentives through to free trials and invitations to in-store events. Available formats typically include the likes of postcards, brochures, and product sampling packs.

With the aid of retailer loyalty data, campaigns can also be targeted around specific audiences, ensuring that the customers who receive a mailing are those who are most likely to take action as a result. That data also makes it easy to measure campaign performance, providing clear insight into how many people redeemed a coupon or bought the featured products.

Coupon at till

Whether they’re used to encourage repeat purchasing behaviours, win back lost customers, or do something else entirely, discounts can be an excellent motivator. Coupon at till is frequently used to inspire shoppers to take action, delivering personalised incentives that are either printed off and passed on at the checkout, or added straight to a customer’s account within the retailer’s grocery app.

In our own experiences, tailored incentives like coupon at till have excellent redemption rates – often approaching double-digit percentages. Not only does that make it a highly effective way to create a response, the ability to pre-select customers based on prior purchases makes it an extremely efficient marketing initiative too.

At its core, direct marketing provides an opportunity to inspire shoppers to take action. From rewarding loyal customers to winning back lost ones, it gives consumer packaged goods brands everything they need to achieve cut-through and spark a response.

 This is the final post in our series exploring the fundamentals of retail media in the grocery sector. To learn about some of the other ways in which you can reach customers through retail media, check out our accompanying posts:

[1] What is The Response Rate From Direct Mail Campaigns? – Data & Marketing Association, 21st May 2021

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