Friday, March 20, 2015

Direct Mail Bloopers

When it comes to successful personalization, everything hinges on the database. It’s critical to keep your data clean and up to date. Here are some hilarious stories of what happens when you don’t. These true tales are taken from LinkedIn’s Direct Mail discussion group.
  • The California Department of Health sent a direct mailing to 50,000 residents who receive adult day care. The addresses were right, but the envelopes contained a gift for identity thieves. Recipients’ Social Security numbers were printed right on the envelopes!
  • A direct mail house did not properly de-dupe its client’s mailing list. When the mailing went out, one hapless recipient ended up with several hundred pieces of identical mail!
  • At one women's college, many alumni prefer to have their mailing names listed as “Mrs.,” such as “Mrs. John Smith.” During one campaign, the mail house dropped the titles in the NCOA process and ended up sending the mailing to many of the alumni’s husbands instead.
  • When the U.K.'s national airline was creating its passenger database, someone thought it would be funny to expand the passengers’ initials into military titles. So R. A. Smith became Rear Admiral Smith. The airline chairman received several letters from recipients requesting that they receive backdated pensions based on their elevated titles. It was funny until the data company had to hand search and correct every single title within 24 hours. All 50,000 of them.
  • During one holiday season, a purveyor of fine meats and other food specialty items dropped 20,000 catalogs with an 800 number to call for faster service. Unfortunately, the number was wrong. Recipients ended up calling a funeral home.

We hope you get a few laughs out these stories, but there is very serious reason for sharing them. Data handling isn’t funny business. Talk to us before your next mailing to make sure your data is in the best shape it can be. 

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.  A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
Lana Turner

Friday, March 6, 2015

One-Two Punch Delivers Results

Want to increase the results of your direct mail campaigns? Try a combination of print and email. It’s a powerful “one, two” punch that can really deliver.
Why would having an email address make such a difference? Let’s look at three reasons.
  • Customers who provide email addresses tend to be more engaged with your company. Not that providing the email address, in itself, makes the customer more engaged. It’s because they are more engaged that they are more likely to provide this information. An email address can be an indicator of engagement.
  • Customers providing email addresses self-select themselves as being more receptive to your marketing.  By providing their email addresses, customers are telling you that they want to hear from you.
  • Customers who provide their email addresses are more open to additional marketing “touches.” More touches means more results.
We see this two-step process producing results every day. By combining variable printing with email and an online registration process, one association, for example, was able to triple the attendance at its annual summer conference. In another example, a software manufacturer sent a follow-up email to non-responders to a print campaign, personalized using the same rules as the print mailer, and sales of its targeted products jumped 81%.
Of course, there are other elements to successful direct mail campaigns beyond using the dual punch of print and email. Still, this combination is a key aspect of many campaigns’ success. It’s no wonder that direct mail with email follow-up has become almost the de facto standard in multichannel marketing today.

Don’t have your customers’ email addresses? No worries. Web site registration, personalized URL campaigns and email list purchases are all techniques you can use to gather the missing information. Why not talk to us about expanding your next campaign to include email?

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."
--John D. Rockefeller

Friday, January 23, 2015

Colors Equal More Direct Mail Opens

Studies have shown that using color on the outside of your direct mail envelope equals higher open rates. In fact, one study found that 69% of people are more likely to open a mail piece with color text and graphics on the front than they are when the envelope is plain.*
Adding color can make a huge difference in your bottom line. Even if your conversion rate remains the same, by doubling the number of people who open your direct mail letter or package, you double the sales from that campaign.
How can you add color to your envelopes?
·        Graphics and images
·        Color banners
·        Company logos
·        Patterned backgrounds
·        Brightly colored indicia
·        Outlines of the state in which they live
These are simple changes that can yield big results. Why not try color on your next envelope and see what a difference it makes for you?


*Leflein Associates Mail Openability Study

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. 
Wayne Gretzky

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are Your Response Incentives and Marketing Goals Properly Matched?

When prospecting, many marketers use some kind of incentive to boost response. But let’s face it. Not all incentives are created equal. To be successful, you need to put as much thought into the incentive as you do into your list, your creative and your message. You also need to match the value of the incentive to how much the response is worth to you.
When one company wanted to add more value-added resellers, for example (something in which even bringing on one more could bring in millions over time), it offered a sweepstakes featuring a trip to the Caribbean. When another wanted to access high-level executives, it offered remote control cars personalized with the recipient’s name.
Just because your incentive has a high dollar value, however, doesn’t mean that it’s the right incentive. For example, you might not want to give away free digital cameras to a camera-savvy audience that most likely already has one — or three. Instead, you might want to offer something more unusual, such as a digital picture frame that attaches to a key ring.
Also keep in mind that an incentive doesn’t need to cost a lot to be highly motivating. One marketer used the “hook” during its Christmastime promotion of allowing respondents to help select the charity to receive its end-of-year donation. Others have given away free saplings to environmentally conscious prospects around Earth Day. The point is to match the incentive to your specific audience. One size doesn’t fit all.

Need some help with incentive ideas? Talk to us about getting the right match for your next campaign.

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development

Go Bucks!!
Urban Meyer

Friday, December 19, 2014

Unusual Twists on Nonprofit Fundraising

Print newsletters are the default communications tactic for nonprofits.But other elements can yield tremendous benefits for nonprofits, as well.
If the goal is community engagement and advocacy, you might produce an annual report or a community report card. If the goal is promotional, you might use postcards, flyers, invitations and event programs. If you want to get in front of new donors, you might consider integrating alternative techniques that gain attention in fresh and surprisingly ways.
What are some of those alternative techniques?
Table tents: Table tents can be powerful tools. Develop a creative tagline to communicate your distinctive competence, then illustrate how the reader can help. Distribute tents in high-traffic areas where people have a minute to read your message, such as restaurant and retail counters. 
Hang tags: Partner with a grocer or retailer to place hang tags on popular products. The association with a well-known brand gives your organization instant credibility. 
“Gift” catalogs: Give benefactors a tangible idea of how donations are being used. A hunger relief organization might “sell” cereal, bread, or a family dinner, with “prices” corresponding to the cost of supplying these items to those in need. World Vision’s Christmas 2014 Gift Catalog allowed supporters to purchase goats, chickens, and ducks for Third World communities to provide both sustainable food sources and merchant opportunities.
These are not products we normally see associated with nonprofits donations, and that’s what makes them so effective. It takes more than clever advertisements to inspire your stakeholders to action. It takes creativity, too.

But beware of using these alternative techniques in a silo-ed fashion. Integrate them into an overall marketing strategy. Include measurable outcomes to keep your staff focused and results-driven. By building in accountability, you will ensure that your board members become your most ardent marketing allies.

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.”
Dave Barry

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Elements of a Successful Cross-Media Campaign

Want to energize your print campaign? Add demographic or psychographic segmentation and personalization. Want to energize your print campaign even more? Combine print with other media to amplify its effect.
The most common cross-media campaigns these days are print and e-mail, but you might also want to consider banner ads, social media, SMS text messaging, search engine advertising and other avenues that complement print. Each will have different uses and benefits, depending on your marketing goals and the target demographic you are trying to reach.
Here are some basic rules to keep in mind:
1. Consistent branding across all media.
Different media have different requirements and limitations, so you aren’t going to be able to maintain 100% consistency all the time. But whenever possible, try to use the same images, color schemes, messaging and other elements across media.
2. Strategic application of media.
Know what role, specifically, each medium is supposed to play. If you are going to combine e-mail with print, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to “prime the pump” for the print piece? Are you using e-mail as a follow-up? Maybe if you’re driving traffic to a campaign-specific website, you might want to consider Internet banner advertising in demographic “hot spots.” The key is to match the medium to the audience and the message so that each medium plays off the other’s strengths.
3. Appropriate matching of media to the audience.
Ensure that you use the right medium to communicate with each target audience. Not all media are appropriate for every demographic. You’re not going to reach many senior citizens with SMS, for example. Plus, the mix is always changing. For example, only teenagers and college students used to use Facebook, but increasingly professionals and businesses use it as well.
Identify your marketing objectives, and then ensure that each medium is the right one to accomplish those goals. Make sure that you match the medium to your demographic and your offer, and use it appropriately within the best practices of that medium.

There is a learning curve associated with multi-channel marketing, but the ability to amplify and reinforce your marketing message can be invaluable.

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development

Business is a game, played for fantastic stakes, and you're in competition with experts. If you want to win, you have to learn to be a master of the game.
Sidney Sheldon, Master of the Game

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Highlight Color Brings in the Dollars


While color is a powerhouse in any type of marketing, you don’t always have to use four-color process to improve your response rates. In fact, the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) shows that strategically placed highlight color can result in huge bottom line benefits, too.
The California FTB produces more than 14 million personal income tax returns each year. It used to send out standard tax notices, but it found that many taxpayers found them confusing. Taxpayers didn’t know what they needed to do, how much to pay, or where to send the payment.  The result was slow payments and expensive volumes of calls to FTB’s call centers.
The FTB decided to do something different. It added highlight color to its contact letters and personalized its messaging to explain exactly what action each taxpayer needed to take. Key information was displayed in blue, guiding recipients through the document and giving them specific instructions.
The result? Faster payments and fewer mistakes. This translated into millions in additional interest income and, at an average cost of $15 per call to the call center, significant savings from reduced call center contacts.

The takeaway? Color boosts your profitability, not just in your graphics, but in your messaging, too. Let us help you make strategic decisions about how to use color to make you money and save you money, too! 

Jeff Lampert
Director of Marketing & Business Development


The first one gets the oyster the second gets the shell. – Andrew Carnegie