A panel of Allegra Network franchisee executives exchange ideas during the company’s annual convention and expo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Print in the Mix

Executing Multichannel Relational Communications

According to survey findings in the July 2011 Journal of Marketing, there is an ideal level, mix and alignment of multichannel personalized communications with customers that spark customers’ preferences for those channels, with the goal of maximizing customer spending.

The survey included 3,370 randomly selected clients of a large auto dealership with a high-volume service department who had visited the service department within the past year. The communications via telephone, e-mail and direct mail were developed to remind them of needed services, to announce new products and locations, survey customer satisfaction and announce promotions.

Two mailings offering a $5 gift card produced 1,162 complete responses, for a 36 percent effective response rate.

Select Top-Line Results

• The results indicate that there is an ideal level of communication volume that varies across channels and, after the ideal level is exceeded, customers react negatively. This negative response can be exacerbated by the use of multiple channels; however, aligning the channels with customer preferences can attenuate such negative effects.

• Using three-month increments, the ideal level of communication to spark customer interest—for this particular auto dealership—was three telephone calls, three to four e-mails, and between nine to 10 direct mailings.

According to one of the authors, Andrea Godfrey, “The results highlight the importance of considering the impact of specific channels, individually and in combination, rather than aggregate volume as a means to manage the communication channel mix more effectively. The study’s findings also underscore the need to avoid inefficient allocation of marketing resources by developing protocols that limit total communication through all channels and specify 
effective channel combinations.”

To read this entire Print in the Mix Research Summary and other print market research studies, go to Print in the Mix is a free and easily accessible clearinghouse of research on print media effectiveness, published by the Printing Industry Center at RIT and made possible by a grant from The Print Council (

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