The Trouble with Tribbles…and Digital Marketing

OllyMoss_trouble-tribbles-spock-StarTrekIt’s not all roses in the land of opens, clickthrough rates and landing pages, says one respected marketing consultant.

Remember how the tribbles multiplied like crazy in that much-loved episode of Star Trek? Every time the crew turned around, they were tripping over another batch of the furry rodents.

For your prospects, tribbles and digital marketing have a lot in common, it seems. Bob Bly in Target Marketing points out some of the specific problems B2Bs encounter marketing online.

“Online marketing is ephemeral and clutter,” Bly notes.

“Your B-to-B prospects are inundated with more email than they could ever hope to read; many get hundreds of emails daily. The result is that open rates, and with them clickthrough rates, are dropping.

“It’s the same thing with e-newsletters: There are just too many. That’s why so many people periodically unsubscribe to so many of the e-newsletters they get. And subscriber lists dwindle rapidly as a result,” Bly continues.

What’s the solution for a B2B looking to get its message through? Bly suggests that print is the way to go.

“That’s why print seems to be making a modest comeback. Print is less ephemeral. Yes, it is easy to dispose of and ignore, but not as quickly disposed of as electronic communications, which vanish into the ether with a mouse click,” he notes.

He cites organizations that are replacing their electronic newsletters with printed ones, with good success. He also notes that Google, which owns…Google, uses direct mail to sell their online ad services. If the king of online advertising understands the value of print, it’s hard to dispute that direct mail engages in a powerful way.

What about tired argument that digital advertising is cheaper? Forgetting for a moment the massive amount of money lost to digital ad fraud, the fact remains that direct mail offers excellent return.

“The Direct Marketing Association notes that based on lifetime customer value, direct mail generates $12 in revenue for every dollar spent in paper, printing, postage, list rentals and mailing fees. That makes it an extremely profitable marketing tactic, even for companies that are moving toward digital,” Bly notes.

Yes, digital has its place in the multi-channel strategy, yet there is much to love about print. Don’t let the ease of entry to digital let it distract you from your purpose. Those tribbles have a way of getting away from you.