BOSTON, MA – On October 6, 2011, the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) held their 2011 Conference & Exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts in which 231 attendees were present.

The event was held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Among the topics discussed were brand interaction, data, integration, networking, creating relationships, engaging customers and making adjustments in real-time.

In today’s marketing environment, the lines between marketing channels are blurring and integration is the key to success. There are the traditional marketing channels such as print ads, direct mail and mailing list campaigns and media advertising (TV and radio) plus there are newer online channels such as a company website, Internet marketing, email, social media and mobile devices that allow instantaneous messaging and response.

An integrated marketing strategy that reaches and engages your customers while at the same time allows adjustments in real-time is essential in today’s fast-paced, connected world. At the conference, the DMA discussed the tools, technologies, and best practices necessary.

The How-To’s of Integrated Marketing Covered in Concurrent Tracks

All in all, the conference covered the best of the how-to’s of integrated marketing along concurrent tracks:

  • Lead Generation & Acquisition
  • Customer Retention & Loyalty
  • Real-Time Marketing
  • Trigger Marketing
  • Fundamentals of Digital & Direct Marketing
  • Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy
  • Data Measurement & Attribution
  • Promotion – Creative & Production
  • Brand Marketing
  • Social & Content Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing Strategies

Today’s business environment is heavily dependent on social media where customer satisfaction – or the lack of it – is announced to the whole world and satisfied customers is what drives sales.

Pitney Bowes conducted a survey at the conference and discovered that 80 percent of those who attended anticipated increased marketing spending for 2012. This was also true for 2011. In an economy where marketing budgets have been taking a hit since the recession first began in 2008, 2011 saw an increase in marketing expenditures of 5.6% to reach a total of $163 billion. This was according to the latest release of the DMA’s biennial marketing study, The Power of Direct Marketing.

The Pitney Bowes survey of conference attendees also touched on another topic. According to their survey, almost 94 percent surveyed agreed that a multi-channel approach to marketing is more effective than one that addresses only a single channel.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Currently, there are so many marketing channels available to the direct marketer or business person that unless expenditures and results are closely managed, one can come up short on critical sales targets and fall prey to poor results and excess spending.

Some suggestions for managing multiple channels are:

  • Call center conversations
  • Social Media
  • Live chat on a Web site
  • Mobile/App Marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Mailing List Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Out-of-Home Marketing
  • Print Ads
  • Telemarketing
  • Display Advertising
  • Search engine optimization / marketing (SEO/SEM)
  • SMS (short message service – e.g. text messaging) activities
  • QR code marketing activities

These activities can all be utilized and aligned with data analysis and application in order to deliver dynamic personalized interactions throughout the customer experience.

The art is in the management of these channels and their effective use as tools to acquire and retain customers, achieve customer satisfaction and, ultimately, brand loyalty.

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