The digital landscape has dramatically changed how businesses communicate with consumers. Websites replaced brochures and catalogues, and email overtook post as a far more cost effective way to entice customers back online to purchase goods and services. But is this all about to change?
John Chapple, Marketing and Communications Manager at Paragon Communications, joined ATI and the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce at our most recent Cornwall Innovation Club to discuss how the customer communications journey is moving towards a multifaceted experience. Here’s a few interesting takeaways for those of you that couldn’t make it:
Post is making a comeback
Consumerism fuels shoppers and you and I are engaging with more and more brands. The more brands you engage with, the larger the volume of marketing emails hit your inbox – and here lies the problem. Suddenly, inboxes are filled overnight. We can all relate to that negative feeling, the uncomfortable suspicion that the brands we regularly shop with are starting to become annoying, or worse, are ‘spamming’ us. It’s for this reason that Chapple confidently put forward some convincing stats that says mail marketing isn’t dead. In fact, we are experiencing a resurgence. Recent studies show that “mail makes customers feel more valued than other channels” he says. Not only that, but mail is read, kept in the home, referred back to and shared with others – something which cannot be said about email. It’s for all these reasons that brands should be thinking about incorporating post back into their communications strategy.
The GDPR effect
Have you recently noticed more catalogues and printed marketing finding its way through your letterbox? Perhaps you’re receiving post from brands that you haven’t engaged with in a very, very long time? This could be coincidence. Or is it the GDPR effect? The introduction of EU GDPR legislation gives consumers greater control over how organisations use their data. Marketers now require consent for email marketing and communications. However, the same consent isn’t needed for postal marketing. Quoting from the ICO website, “you won’t need consent for postal marketing but you will need consent for some calls and for texts and emails under PECR.” For this reason, some brands have pools of customers that they can now only reach by mail, because mail is subject to fewer regulations than electronic communications. These legislative changes are forcing brands to think more innovatively about how to engage customers which are only accessible via post.
The future of Communications
A combination of AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and social media will form the future of communications, says John Chapple. When looking outside of Cornwall, many businesses have be applying these novel innovations and perfecting their deployment for the past couple of years (if not longer). What’s more, their application is not limited to just the marketing and communications industry.
We are moving into an age where just communication is not enough, the bar has been raised by immersive customer experiences which delight customers with new and surprising technologies. It’s exciting, but also scary for those businesses that have an idea of how they want to use this new tech and no expertise when it comes to taking that idea forward. It’s this knowledge gap that ATI and the University of Plymouth can help to fill. Check out these links which show some of the areas that the University of Plymouth is undergoing innovative research with VR to reduce patient’s pain threshold and AI enabling robots to think for themselves.
So, do you have an idea of a new way to incorporate the latest innovations into your business strategy? Ask the innovation experts by contacting us on email@example.com, or register your interest by clicking on the button at the top of this page or join the Cornwall Innovation Club by clicking here.