Integrating Direct Marketing and Web Marketing Efforts

By Robert King General Manager, Travel & Hospitality, ClickSquared | June 18, 2010

The challenges confronting travel and hospitality marketers intensify with the ongoing economic softness, and marketing budgets (along with other functional areas) are under increasing pressure. More than ever, ROI is top of mind as marketers try to stretch their dollars for greater impact.

With this backdrop, interactive marketing becomes increasingly important. According to Forrester, 60% of marketers will increase budget for interactive by shifting money away from traditional marketing (primarily direct mail, newspapers and magazine). Email marketing and search engine marketing is expected to grow at compounded annual growth rates of 11% and 15%, respectively, through 2014. The continued growth in interactive marketing is largely fueled by the marketer's ability to take real-time actions, test and learn, and directly measure results.

Interestingly, marketing organizations have often not embraced direct email and web marketing. Many make the mistake of segregating inbound marketing efforts (usually online marketing such as search engine marketing (SEM) or search engine optimization (SEO)) from outbound marketing (better known as database marketing, with execution increasingly focused on email versus traditional "direct mail"). As a result, they miss out on the synergies afforded by an integrated marketing approach. Even if organizational integration isn't practical, having the marketing teams work together can have a huge impact upon marketing effectiveness and ROI.

Integrating direct and online (aka, inbound and outbound) marketing involves the ability to capture information from web marketing efforts on prospects/guests that can be fed into the marketing database and then leveraged for direct marketing efforts,. Conversely, using the marketing database to derive insights means more targeted digital advertising and search marketing efforts.

Marketing "Evolution" vs. "Design"

In today's travel and hospitality arena, there are varying degrees of marketing integration. On one end of the spectrum there are organizations that are "siloed", with website development, web marketing and direct marketing functioning as independent disciplines and oftentimes organized as different departments.

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