February 2012 - The Marketing Solution

puzzle 229x200

Boost your response rates with multi-touch campaigns.


One of the most effective ways to boost your response rates is to use a strategic, multi-touch approach. This approach uses multiple contacts with the same or different media to build your message over time.

Often, these contacts are layered in three stages:

1. Priming the pump (“Watch for our exciting offer!”)
2. Presentation of the message
3. Follow-up or reminder to respond

This is not a formula that you should apply rigidly, and not all programs will utilize the same elements. Let’s look at three classic examples:

Non-Profit: When a private school wanted to increase donations, it developed a multi-touch campaign that stretched over several weeks. The program started with a “general awareness letter” to introduce the campaign and its financial goal. This was followed by first, second and third appeal letters, with personalized data that were based on child, grade level, teacher, family’s past giving history and progress toward the goal. Next, they sent a postcard alerting families to an upcoming Phone-A-Thon. The final two touches were a Phone-A-Thon follow-up card and final appeal letter. Using this approach, the school reached its financial goal three months early, and overall, achieved new records for revenue and participation.

Manufacturing: When one manufacturer wanted to introduce a new product, it created a snazzy, four-color mailer addressing recipients by name and encouraging them to log into a personalized URL to sign up for a sweepstakes and learn more about the product. Knowing that oftentimes multiple recipients within the same company might receive the mailer, the marketer created three versions, each with different graphics. As a reminder to those who had not yet responded, it sent a personalized follow-up e-mail, with the same branding and imagery as the print mailer. Sales of the product jumped 81% and exceeded sales projections by 13%.

Communications: When a company that offers temporary cell phone SIM cards for travelers wanted to make the process easier for its customers, it turned to a multi-touch campaign. Once a customer contracts for its service, the company sends out a personalized SMS text message alerting the customer to the upcoming delivery of the customer information guide. Next, it sends a four-color, personalized brochure containing only information relevant to each user’s individual contract. The last touch is a final SMS text message triggered by the customer’s return date, designed to encourage the return of the SIM card.

Since implementing the program, the company has seen a 90% drop in customer inquiries and a “marked increase” in the return of SIM cards. While it might seem that using multiple touches will triple your print and postage costs, this isn’t necessarily the case, especially if you are reducing the size of the mailing or using e-mail or SMS text messaging as the “pump primer” or follow-up vehicle. Not to mention that, from an environmental perspective, these tactics use less paper, ink and fossil fuels and contribute less to the solid waste stream. 

Also consider the return on investment. If the response rate jumps from 4% to 18%, what is the value of that additional 14% return? Instead of looking at upfront cost, consider how it impacts your ROI.