How the key to the heart is hidden in the letterbox

AdvertisingConsumers are subjected to a huge number of advertising messages every day.

Marketing experts struggle to agree on a number and there is no reference study on the matter, but most conversations say consumers are exposed to 2,000 to 5,000 advertising messages per day.

They all agree on two facts though: this number is increasing, and consumers pay attention to very few of them. In context, the constant challenge for marketers is to cut through the noise, but this is getting harder to achieve, particularly in the highly competitive FMCG retail sector.

In order to differentiate and be seen, it’s important to develop an emotional connection with consumers to create more engagement and loyalty. Data from consumer intelligence firm Motsita found that fully engaged and loyal consumers were 52 per cent more valuable than their satisfied but not fully connected customers.

Tangible materials – something that consumers can touch and engage their other senses – are a great way for retailers to create an emotional connection. Millward Brown undertook research in a bid to understand how both physical and virtual media impact our emotional engagement.

The study found that physical materials are proven to:

  • Leave a deeper footprint in the brain
  • Involve more emotional processing, important for memory and brand association
  • Produce more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalisation” of the ads

This research shows why letterbox sampling is strongly aligned with successful results in an FMCG campaign. Its ability to deliver something tactile has positive effects on the recipient’s memory, emotions and behaviour.

By offering customers the chance to try before they buy, brands are placing sample recipients in the post-purchase stage, showing them how they would feel and interact with the product. By delivering a physical product, letterbox sampling uniquely activates the senses, allowing the product to generate emotional reactions and keep their brands and products top-of-mind with consumers.

One of the key issues with sampling in the past has been measuring its effectiveness. However, when you combine letterbox sampling with digital tools and channels, you create a more complete customer journey, increase campaign effectiveness and add a trackable layer for measurement. For example, brands can sample with a QR code sending the user to a landing site, and offer him to ‘sign up’ with a discount coupon for a full sized product.

Digital tools and data can also be used to increase letterbox campaign efficiency. Online consumer data allows for a more granular segmentation of the recipients when planning a sampling campaign. Specific users can be targeted based on their tastes, habits or behaviours to personalise the sample and message a brand sends them.

Knowing their location also allows for local marketing initiatives, and allows you to direct consumers to their nearest store. In today’s hyper-connected world, no marketing channel should ever be considered in isolation – least of all letterbox marketing.

Done right, letterbox sampling can have a powerful influence over a consumer’s purchase decision. With the added layer of digital, brands can build a smart customer journey across offline and online channels and increase their chance of cutting-through the daily bombardment of advertising messages. It’s time for marketers to look at letterbox sampling with fresh eyes. Think big, think integrated and the results may surprise!

David Webster is the General Manager for Marketing Solutions at Salmat.

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