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Trends for more relevant messages


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Direct marketing is about finding the right channels for the offering. And always taking the demands of consumers into consideration," he says.

He identifies two strong trends at the moment. Marketing automation and the customer journey are the first, representing something that many of the companies he meets together with Stralfors are wanting to talk about at the moment.

"Marketing automation still has an element of science fiction, but we've actually gone live with a few customers in Sweden right now and it's working really well," he says.

The other trend that Magnus Widgren has identified is the invoice as a communication channel.

"This might not seem new to anyone familiar with Stralfors, but as invoices become electronic it brings greater opportunities for this channel. There's massive potential here," says Magnus Widgren.


Marketing has traditionally been about cycles – spring and autumn, Christmas and summer. And then it started all over again. Always with the aim of creating a need, of getting people to buy more.

"But just imagine – today we can just ignore it – and work with customer insights instead. For example, ask ourselves why our customers are buying right now," says Magnus Widgren.

"This is an incredibly exciting area that we've only just seen the beginning of. It's another step along the way to a totally integrated customer experience."

"Put simply, you build automatic initiatives that are activated when the customer has a need. Because people would rather buy something when they need it – not when there's a campaign."

Electronic footprints

Essentially, marketing automation involves software and databases that support marketing. The term was established in the USA around ten years ago, and in recent years the market for these kinds of solutions has grown dramatically.

"What makes a difference is the facility to monitor customers' electronic footprints, i.e. how they behave when, for example, they buy from an online shop. We can then analyse the data and offer new purchases that are far more relevant for the customer," explains Magnus Widgren.

So, where do you begin?

"With a good customer database. If you have one, you know what customers are doing and can essentially get started right away," says Magnus Widgren.

According to Magnus Widgren, a good customer database is up to date. It collects information about customers' behaviour and offers vast opportunities.

Otherwise it's largely about not limiting your creativity. It's about identifying events that activate new behaviours and processes, for example when people separate, move house or have children.

"One easy approach is to use the population register, like Skånetrafiken does in Sweden. 'You've moved to Malmö. Try out a free journey with us'," he says.

A new kind of campaign maker

The customer journey is at the very heart of marketing automation. A plan is required for every kind of customer and every kind of behaviour or reaction. This means that you must know how to target a specific character and how to handle any response.

"All activation takes place with the aid of automatic programmes, and campaigns are essentially running all the time. The consequence is that there's more editorial work and less campaign-making," says Magnus Widgren.

How do you keep your customer database updated?

"It's easy, but of course still really difficult – you create incentives for customers themselves to up- date the information."


When people talk about different kinds of customer contacts, the transaction is always high up on the list. This is when you, the company, have the customer's full attention. It might be, for example, when you've sent out an order confirmation, an insurance policy or an account statement.

This is communication that has traditionally existed almost exclusively in postal channels, but that is being shifted into digital channels more and more quickly with each passing year. And of course many are considering or have al- ready switched to the electronic invoice solution.

"They're doing that for many reasons. For example, many consumers are asking for it. And there's money to save, as well as the fact that it makes the internal invoicing process simpler," says Magnus Widgren, continuing:

"But that doesn't mean that it's not of interest for us as communication specialists. Quite the reverse. I'm absolutely convinced that advertising and other messages on invoices are a really good investment – whichever channel you use to send them."

The customer always decides

He believes that our approach must be multichannel. Because the customer always decides – which means that we marketers must adapt. Because if an invoice is electronic we can measure, test and then improve ourselves in a much simpler, more efficient way.

But as always, first of all of course you must teach the customer that it really is worth opening and reading the invoice properly.

"And the great thing here is that whatever the channel, Stralfors helps its customers to deliver invoice communication. They're the biggest in the Nordic region in printing transaction communication and delivering invoice advertising. As well as being a major player in the field of e-invoicing. That creates enormous opportunities," believes Magnus Widgren.

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