Hearing Aid Direct Mail Lessons To Learn From JCPenney

Direct Mail

JC Penney bets big on direct mail to existing customers

Their new direct mail “book” is a big part of their 2012 direct marketing strategy.

The book is much more like a magazine than a typical catalog. They are trying to reinvent themselves in 2012 with this new book and by moving the focus away from low-cost, perpetual sales (that a store like Macy’s seems to use so effectively).

Sometimes it isn’t smart to attack a competitor directly. Being different can work. You have to be different in the right way, and sometimes just showing that you’re trying to be different is enough to get consumer attention.

JCPenney is a $17.8 billion company.

They are 22nd on the Stores.org Top 100 Retailers list, far behind some of their chief competitors (Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, and Sears Holdings are in the Top 10).

Their competitors easily double or quadruple JCPenney in sales (Wal-Mart is an extreme outlier at number 1 with over $300 million in sales).

The JCPenney website points to fair and square pricing and monthly promotions as being focuses of the new strategy.

Multichannel marketing will carry jcpenney into the future. Their new direct mail book is a big focus, mailing to customers 12 times a year, and integrates with digital using QR codes to link to additional content.

Companies like JCPenney are using integrated campaigns to drive consumers to brick-and-mortar stores throughout the country.

As proof of their focus on integrating digital with direct marketing, an attractive online version of the book is available from the company’s site.

As of June 20, 2012 a link “june books” is available directly to the right of the search at the top of the page. Directly to the right of the book link is “find a store” which is the point of all this.

They are also sending a few direct mail postcards to highlight a Best Price Fridays promotion. Mini recurring events like these are the kinds of changes consumers appreciate.

How JCPenney’s direct mail book strategy can win:

1. Make it super simple to buy

The easier it is to move from initial contact to ordering the better. The fewest amount of steps gets the customer to write a check faster.

2. Integrate with other channels

Combine offline with online. Direct mail, landing pages, a website, a blog, video, QR codes on your direct mail.

3. Consider mobility

A growing number of consumers read email and news on their phones. Quick response (QR) codes in your book or on your mail make it easy for consumers to find more information about your product or service online. But make sure to give instructions for using them (especially for a demographic, like 65+ for hearing aids, that is older and maybe hasn’t used the technology before).

Image credit: Mike Kalasnik

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