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Opinion: Tight budgets must equal tighter brand/client relationships

There has been a huge amount of discussion on the rise of digital in the direct marketing industry in recent times. However, troubles in the city and economic uncertainty have brought this debate to a head, writes Angus Crowther.

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Customer retention and acquisition is at the fore and with it the need for a clear gauge of return on investment. This has lead to more companies leaning towards increased use of digital marketing, a seemingly cheaper and easy to measure option.

Companies need to recognise that in times when they are most financially vulnerable, so are their customers and the relationship that a brand has with their customers is vital to their continued success.

Budget constraints should not mean irresponsible marketing that leads to damaging brand values and companies shouldn't be looking to spend less, but rather spend more wisely, so that all activity delivers rigour and results.  

With this in mind, brands should not look to pure play agencies for a solution but rather established CRM agencies with a combined digital, direct and data offering. 

To make a brand truly personal to a consumer, it is important that an agency is capable of thoroughly understanding a customer base through data and using this to ensure effective combined use of digital and direct. 

Simply investing in the cheapest, fastest option does not result in intelligent marketing but rather a decline of a brand's standing in the eyes of its customers.

Brands need agencies that are experienced in CRM and, importantly, have control of the variables involved in this.

Key to effective communications is understanding your audience and using this knowledge to send relevant materials, be they traditional direct mail, an email or an SMS. By encompassing data, traditional DM and digital in its offering, an agency is able to produce truly targeted, engaging and relevant communications for brands. 

Eye-catching creative is only going to result in action on the part of the recipient if it has been sent to the correct person. Similarly, being able to deliver a communication to the right email address will still not have the desired effect if it doesn't engage the reader.

For a brand to build an honest relationship with customers, it must show its desire to deliver on the promises that it makes. 

Relevance is the single most important factor as we move forwards.

Angus Crowther is new business & marketing director at EHS Brann

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