05 Feb

Posted by rogerm

We recently read an article in the IDM’s journal that talked about the flick to click marketing concept, whereby consumers receiving their product catalogues in the mail were beginning to use the paper catalogue to read about products in the comfort of their armchair and then go online to research and make a purchase. No doubt, this makes sense, but its hard to prove, even if you use offline to online coded URLS such as http://www.mysite.com/catalogue

However, we have seen a recent change in the publishing industry with a widespread adoption of digital editions, generally the page turn solutions that take a standard publication and create an onscreen replica with 3D page turning effects using Adobe Flash technologies. Current feedback from our customers is that the technology is surprisingly popular amongst older internet surfers. Perhaps because it feels like something they are used to.

We’ve taken the flick to click marketing concept and looked at the possibilities that the inclusion of digital editions brings to the mix, and our conclusion is that forward thinking direct marketing and direct selling companies could benefit through using a combination of printed catalogues, direct mail, digital editions and email.

So how does the marketing principle hang together?

Any general link from an offline printed catalogue or DM piece should link directly through to the digital edition, presenting the user with a replica of the offline catalogue. Now our new interpretation of the flick to click effect begins, as the user has the exact same interface both online and offline, but can click through on a product anywhere in the digital edition directly into the ecommerce page from that product.

Note: What is important is that the original print design is clear and usable, anything that is cramped with lots of small copy won’t lend itself to the creation of an effective digital edition.

Flick to click with ebrochures is a new way of measuring ROI from direct catalogues
Flick to click with ebrochures are a great way of measuring ROI from direct mail catalogues – This example is by Schuh

Depending on their development budget companies could use either PURL’s (personalised URL’s) to direct users to the digital edition therefore serving up a unique instance and tracking any purchases in this way via conversion tracking codes on the thank you page of their e-commerce sites. Alternatively they could use appended URL’s (URL’s that have had coded appends made to track the source of a link into their ecommerce store, which is then subsequently recorded by conversion codes on the ecommerce transaction completion page – when used in combination with ecommerce tracking the entire digital edition ROI can be calculated) in the digital edition combined with unique checkout codes for free shipping or % discounts.

Whatever route you route you choose with digital editions there is a need for some joined up marketing planning before embarking on a campaign using digital brochures to boost e-commerce revenues. A lot of companies that rode the initial wave of digital editions didn’t think it through and at best had plain links from the digital edition into their e-commerce site. At worst, and there are still some doing it, they didn’t even have links in place!

Doing it properly requires someone in the creative or production department to create area based hyperlinks in the source Acrobat PDF file and the use something like the Google URL builder tool to create appends that will make sense in ecommerce web site analytics. For the URL builder tool go here. Combine this with e-commerce tracking on the site and you can track clicks through from your digital edition to checkout. Docs for Google Analytics Here. If you use a tracked email marketing system there are some that will elt you drop a cookie right the way along the process, but I think that is pushing privacy laws a bit too much…

Alternatively you can get the agency to do it, but on a large catalogue it’s going to cost, still you should find that everything gets done correctly and they would perform testing on your behalf.

So in summary, the flick to click marketing concept is pretty straightforward.

  1. Produce and mail the printed catalogues with a clear call to the URL for the digital edition (Add PURL’s for maximum effect)
  2. Email the digital edition to all DM customers and any other prospects that don’t warrant a physical mailing
  3. Link the products in the digital edition up to the e-commerce page for the relevant product or bundle and use appended URL’s for tracking
  4. Make sure the e-commerce site has something like Google Analytics and e-commerce tracking in place
  5. Monitor the campaign ROI via your analytics.

Don’t forget the halo effect that the digital brochure will provide as part of a joined up campaign. Whilst you can track the sales back to the digital edition you need to be ultra careful before ditching the DM, as it will almost certainly have driven traffic into the digital edition.

A post campaign survey to all consumers throughout the campaign will reveal how the customers went through the consideration and purchase process.  With the addition of this data you can work to understand the role of digital editions in creating measured ROI in your future direct catalogue campaigns.

We would also be interested to see if companies that use TV advertising in the vertical channel opportunities offered by sattellite TV trialled a link directly into a digital edition versus their normal web site would see an uplift in online transactions.

To see examples of the digital edition technology that we use with our clients please click on this link

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