I saw some surprising uGov research about the resurgence of interest in vinyl records. For reasons I’ll explain, it got me thinking about another pre-digital relic. It’s something that could help your next marketing campaign cut through the noise.
Do you remember your first digital disruption?
Many of us sacrificed our vinyl collection at the altar of the first major digital disruption of the music industry; the emergence of the Compact Disc.
Like most advancements in technology, this new digital format was faster. Allowing music lovers to skip from track to track at the touch of a button and play an entire LP without flipping it over half way through. It also offered greater storage capacity (you could get a double album on one CD) while being physically smaller and more robust.
So who’d want to go back to scratchy old vinyl?
Meet the new vinyl generation
To be honest, I thought it was the hipsters behind this resuscitation of vinyl. But this is not the case. The UGov research stated the typical purchaser was more likely to be aged between 45 and 54 years old.
It’s the same generation that previously owned vinyl and clearly feel they have lost something in the digital sanitisation – or maybe the ageing process. Coincidentally, a Guardian article quoting research by Qlik states the average CEO in the UK is 54 years old – perfectly aligned with this new vinyl generation profile.
Let’s consider the possibility that some members of this new vinyl generation have worked themselves into C-suite positions in your target business. What else might this new vinyl generation be missing from their past?
Is Direct Mail the new vinyl?
Like vinyl, Direct Marketing was usurped by digital technology that offered more of what users wanted. The instant, global and targeted possibilities of online marketing signalled a decline of Direct Mail that has lasted for over two decades. It marked an end to the era of scattergun marketing that blasts huge quantities of expensive paper to a large numbers of ambivalent recipients.
But a lot has changed over the past 20 years that makes me think a Direct Marketing revival might be on the horizon and could help us tap into the sensibilities of the new vinyl generation.
Time turns faults into USPs
Today, our computer screens are a battleground where business and personal communication are all vying aggressively for our attention.
The DM channel has fallen silent. Most people don’t even have an in-tray for their post any longer. The hand delivery of DM to our desks by a real person has fallen by the way side. But, research indicates that people will give priority to opening their physical mail.
DM takes us away from our screens, disrupting our day in a warm, analogue kind of way. Despite the convenience of the internet, people still like print, as proven by the refusal of print magazines to die. Used wisely, print can complement digital channels to serve specific niche markets and needs.
The ability of marketers to segment and target campaigns using data manipulation techniques has advanced considerably. That means we can be far more accurate in our targeting of DM and achieving a viable ROI.
And frankly, who can resist the lumpy envelope? It’s the antidote to disposable digital which can be wiped out en masse with the strike of the delete key.
Make your brand real
We produced our own Blue Train Marketing fintech cocktail book at the end of last year in time for the party season. It was a bit of fun and a special thank you to our friends in the industry.
The reaction was remarkable with people appreciating something a little cheeky and creative that felt good in their hands. One client said getting something interesting in the post now that everyone sends annoying digital Christmas cards was a welcome surprise. Our fintech cocktail book was a simple, timely idea that told the recipient something about us, even though it wasn’t actually about us.
Unfortunately, we’ve run out of printed versions due to popular demand. However, a digital version of our fintech cocktail ebook is available to download.
A few simple rules of doing DM right
So Direct Mail can now be disruptive and retro, creating distinction for your brand in a crowded market, but you do need to follow a few basic rules:
Treat DM exactly like your digital channels in two important ways. First, high quality segmented data is key to driving your DM to prospects that will deliver a meaningful ROI. Gaining an understanding of the lifetime value of your clients is an important part of the DM equation. It will help you set an appropriate budget and a positive ROI.
Secondly, like any other marketing outreach, your DM should not stand-alone and should be part of an integrated campaign. Time your mail delivery to activate other touch points like email and telemarketing.
Include a letter explaining why they are selected to receive your DM and what will happen next. Use a real stamp if it’s practical with the volume you are sending.
This careful attention to detail will get noticed and impress sophisticated buyers.
Make a brand experience
One of the best things B2B marketing does is create a period of time when your prospects feel good about you and are open to a conversation. It’s this window that gives your sales people an opportunity to start a conversation where your prospect has immediate recall of a positive experience with your brand.
It’s not just the content of your marketing that should be memorable; it’s the experience that you create around it. Direct Mail is a great way to create an authentic brand experience. Just like playing a classic track from a piece of vintage vinyl.