HOW HAS THE DIRECT MARKETING INDUSTRY EVOLVED?
JH: It’s a lot more personalized than it ever was – and that is a good thing. We’ve gone from mass mailings to creating demographic profiles that help marketers understand what a customer looks like. As we became more sophisticated, we moved along the path of segmentation and into complex trigger programs. These programs enable marketers to quickly understand consumer engagement, what activated it and deliver relevant and personalized communications Ironically, the perception of direct mail has shifted from being “clutter” to the consumer “expecting” to be engaged based on past and current behavior.
WHAT TYPES OF MARKETING CHALLENGES DOES QUANTUM ENCOUNTER?
JH: Fundamentally, the challenges our clients face fall into two categories. The first being marketing driven. Marketers are always looking for new ways to acquire more customers through lead generation, increase a customer’s engagement based on their existing, potential or past values. Each touchpoint within those strategies are supported by some form of communication strategy. This is where Quantum excels — our clients come to us for help with design and production and distribution of their marketing efforts.
The second category is bandwidth — every company fights for internal resources to support their objectives and help them achieve their goals. By offering support and solutions such as creative services, technology platforms, automation, fulfillment and measurement tools, Quantum augments our clients’ staff freeing them up to focus on developing strategies.
HOW DO PROVIDERS STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE?
JH: Strong leadership, talented people and conviction. It all begins at the top. If your senior leadership team is strong, they will guide you through the present and into the future. The path of least resistance is the maintenance of the “status quo”. Strong leadership can maximize your current solutions, refine them and apply them to other areas within the company. It is also the vision of understanding how improved processes and emerging technologies can be of value to not only the organization but to your customer base as well.
You also need to surround yourself with talented people. Embracing a diversity of experiences fosters creativity. For example, one of our clients was seeking to utilize a barcode on a hoto-centric mail piece without detracting from it.
We assembled a team which included Operations, I.T., Client Services and Sales & Marketing. The result was not only a solution that allowed the client to solve their problem using invisible barcode technology but also, a repeatable service that our business development team could bring to their customer base.
Finally, you need to establish a baseline and hold true to your convictions. Cheryl Kahanec, Quantum’s CEO has three core tenets that she asks each team member when tackling an issue or developing a solution.
If I answer yes to all three questions, in this order, then we do it. If not, that’s fine, we’ll take a step back, reset and move forward appropriately.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
JH: We will find out soon, enough won’t we? I can tell you data and data driven content along with technologies will be the engines that drives growth. Traditional, predictive or manufactured, UX research or A.I. – all assembled, produced and distributed through various platforms will enable us to meet and exceed consumers expectations of a brand experience.