Dorothy Gebert is Senior Manager, Communications & Engagement at TechAlliance.
“There’s no hiding now.”
That’s the way Allison Graham of the OTC Group in London described how potential customers are being identified by marketers through the use of database management technologies.
She dropped by the TechAlliance offices recently to talk about some of the ways OTC was helping businesses reach out to clients and customers.
But Allison wasn’t talking about the usual marketing mix offerings familiar to every business person, like blanketing a community with direct mail or developing a stand-alone website. She was describing how technology that OTC had developed was leveraging existing database content to create targeted cross-media marketing campaigns.
OTC (which stands for Options to Communicate) started out customizing direct mail to automotive buyers by personalizing each piece with not only the name of the customer but also photos and content specific to that person.
The company bridged the print and digital divide by using QR codes to link the user to customized web sites for individual advertising venues, specific office or store locations, and even personal sites with the name of the customer in the URL.
OTC then began taking advantage of Canada Post data to plan hyper-focused direct mail campaigns, targeting specific households within a postal code, to let people know that one of their neighbours had just made a significant purchase, such as a new vehicle or roof.
To me, this way of marketing sounds exciting and scary all at the same time.
It’s exciting as a marketing professional to consider how far the technology has come. It’s a definite improvement over the old Mail Merge feature we used to use in the old days to personalize communications – it’s now more like Mail Merge on steroids.
It’s also scary because, as a customer, it’s disconcerting to think what kind of information companies have on file about me that I don’t even know about.
However, as Allison says, extensive data about us is already out there and is the reality today, especially when you consider how much information Facebook, Google and others are collecting about our habits with almost every click we make.
Even smaller companies are accumulating an impressive amount of information on their customers. But often they don’t know what to do with it, which is where OTC comes in. It uses creative and cost-effective ways to help companies get to the right customer, as opposed to just any customer.
Find out more about what the OTC Group is doing at www.otcgc.com.