Friday, December 2, 2016

How Much Personalization Is Too Personal?

When you are personalizing print or email communications, it’s important to remember that there are real people on the end of the line. Good use of data can be very effective, but the poor use of data can make people uncomfortable.

One marketer caused a stir, for example, when it targeted men with a personalized communication that used their names with “Jr.” added to the end to represent the son they might have some day . . . if they aren’t careful. Needless to say, plenty of recipients were uncomfortable with that approach! This is something many industry commentators call “the creepy factor.”

So how can you personalize your content in a positive way without crossing the line? Here are three tips.

1. Protect private data. There is a difference between selling educational materials and selling refinancing offers. If you’re selling educational books to children, for example, you might want to know that your neighbor down the street bought a set of the same materials. But you probably don’t want a mortgage company outing you as a good candidate for a refinancing offer.

2. Make sure your data is current. Keep your data clean and current. One company was criticized for marketing to recipients as if they were one step from a retirement home when, in fact, many of them were not even retired. Use surveys to stay in touch with your customers and get to know them. If necessary, use third party data houses to fill in critical details.

3. Be considerate. Use the data in a way that is respectful and considerate of the person receiving it. You may not want to let recipients know just how much you know about them upfront. Some marketers start with basic targeting and segmentation, then layer that communication with name personalization, rather than using highly personal details overtly.

Remember that data is just data. When it comes to personalization, it’s what you do with that data that matters. Need help making sure that your use of data is a good one? Talk to us—we’re here to help.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Switching from Static to Personalized Makes Results Soar


What happens to results if you switch from a general-education newsletter to a fully personalized one? One community-based healthcare system found out. After sending a traditional newsletter for years, it began matching the content to what it knew of patients’ health conditions. Personalized content ranged from advances in treatments to schedules for clinical trials.

After about a year, the healthcare system conducted a readership survey to find out how the new approach was being received. The results?

·      93% of respondents felt the articles were relevant and of interest.

·      73% read the entire newsletter every time it came in the mail.

·      77% said it was easier and quicker to read.

·      95% said they became aware of services that were previously unknown.

Not only did the healthcare system solidify its relationship with existing patients, but nearly every one of those patients learned about some of the provider’s services they didn’t know about before. Imagine the impact on revenues!

Not every marketer can track to this level of detail, but there are many simple, cost-effective steps you can use to monitor your marketing effectiveness too. Personalized URLs, barcodes (visible and invisible), discount codes, and multiple landing pages for various iterations of the same campaign are all ways to track and measure results.


Talk to us about converting your content marketing into personalized content marketing!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

3 Reasons to Use Direct Mail That You May Not Know

There are lots of reasons to use direct mail, and you may have heard many of them. So here are three statistics on the value of direct mail marketing that you may not have heard.
1. Direct mail has higher value in persuasion.
According to a recent study by Canada Post and True Impact Marketing,[1] direct mail generates a motivation score that is 20% higher than digital media.  The study found this score to be even higher when direct mail creative uses print enhancements (for example, special coatings, dimensionality, and print-to-mobile technologies).
2. Direct mail is easier to understand.
A wide variety of studies confirm that information provided in print is easier for people to understand and process than information provided in digital form. In the case of the True Impact study, direct mail was found to require 21% less cognitive effort. That means your message is absorbed more quickly and effectively.
3. Direct mail results in higher brand recall.
Not only is information in direct mail easier to process, but it is more likely to be retained. True Impact found that brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than to digital ones.
Need more reasons to love direct mail? Just ask!





[1] “A Bias for Action” (Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, July 2015)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Targeting High-Value Millennials

Why target Millennials in your prospecting? Because once their loyalty is secured, they are more likely than non-Millennials to share their love of your brand, product, or service with others. Furthermore, once you gain their loyalty, they will often spread the word for you, especially if you help them do it. How do you go about attracting this key customer base?
Use multiple channels. Millennials are multi-channel researchers. One study of their travel planning habits found that Millennials use an average of 10.2 information sources during the planning stage [1].
Don’t provide irrelevant information. Millennials don’t like to be inconvenienced, so target and personalize the message. Know what types of information they are looking for and how they want that information shared before you move them into the sales funnel. Respecting channel preferences is critical to these consumers.
Shorten the timeframe. Millennials use a lot of devices and draw on lots of information sources during the research process, but they make the actual buying decision fairly quickly. If you are selling brick-and-mortar, adding QR Codes to hang tags, product packaging, and in-store displays is a great way to take this audience directly to customer reviews, product comparisons, and feature-rich product videos that can help them make that decision right then and there.
Make it easy to share. According to the Boston Consulting Group, Millennials are twice as likely as non-Millennials to share pictures or experiences online using their mobile phones [3]. So help them do it! Create incentives for social-media sharing such as “Post a picture of yourself in our store on Facebook or Instagram and get 10% off immediately!”
Take the time to get to know Millennials and refine your strategies to woo them.  After all, what could be better than attracting customers who, once their loyalty is secured, will turn around and attract more of the same type of customers for you?
[1] http://hotel-online.com/News/PR2013_2nd/Apr13_MillennialTrends.html
[3] http://mashable.com/2012/04/16/millennial-consumers-study/


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What Are CMOs’ Top Marketing Priorities?

Recently, IBM released a study titled “Redefining Markets: Insights from the C-Suite Study,” which surveyed over 700 CMOs from more than 50 countries. CMO’s number one priority, according to the study? Developing better customer experiences. Nearly two-thirds (63%) cited this as their top priority.
When the researchers looked deeper into what made for a “better customer experience,” they found that this referred to the cumulative impact of the multiple touch points a customer has with a company and the effects that the touches have over time.
This has to be done strategically. IBM also found a huge gap between how companies perceive they are doing with their customers and how they are actually doing. Eighty percent of CEOs believe their companies are delivering exceptional customer experiences, while 78% of customers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them as individuals at all. That’s a huge disconnect.
Customer experience isn’t a guessing game. You have to be smart and proactive about planning your marketing interactions.  This requires understanding and planning across the entire customer journey.
This includes:   
·      Understanding the buyer’s motivations.
·      Anticipating the customer’s journey from brand awareness to purchase.
·      Putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.
·      Presenting a consistent, positive brand image.
·      Speaking to people using segmented, targeted, and personalized communications that make them feel valued.
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds, but it does require planning. Set up a time to talk to us about creating an integrated multichannel camping that creates a positive customer experience and brings your prospects all the way to a sale. 

CMO Priorities for the marketing organization
Create better experiences for customers
63%
Increase depth of analytical skills
53%
Improve operations and organizational structures
41%
Enhance social and mobile
38%
Better measures of marketing effectiveness
29%

Source: “Redefining Markets: Insights from the C-Suite Study” (IBM, 2016)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Response Rate, Cost Per Lead, Cost Per Sale

To answer this question, marketers often look at response rate, cost per lead, and cost per sale. What’s the difference between them?
Response rate is how many people responded to your campaign. If you mailed 5,000 postcards and 500 people responded, your response rate is 10%. Those 500 people then become leads.
Cost per lead is how much it costs you to get that lead. Let’s say that direct mail campaign cost you $5,000. With 500 responses, each response (or lead) cost you $10 ($5,000 / 500). 
Not every one of these leads will turn into a sale. Let’s say you were able to convert 30% or 167 of those leads.  When you divide $5,000 by 167, you find that your cost per sale is $30.
Which one of these numbers is most important? All of them! Why? If your average sale is $35, you have barely broken even on this campaign. To improve your results, you could lower the costs next time or you could try one of these three things:
1. Increase the response rate to bring more sales into the funnel, lowering your cost per lead
2. Increase the conversion rate, lowering your cost per sale
3. Tweak the offer or incentive to increase the average revenues per sale to lower your breakeven point.

There are lots of ways to evaluate the success of a marketing campaign and improve your results. Let us analyze your results and brainstorm ideas to get the most out of your marketing dollars!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Survey: Direct Mail on the Rise for Customer Acquisition & Retention

Every year, Target Marketing conducts its Media Usage Survey. In this survey, the magazine asks how readers are allocating their budgets, which channels are increasing and decreasing, and which channels its readers prefer for a variety of marketing activities.
While digital, social, and mobile media continue their astronomic growth trajectory, this year’s survey finds that direct mail is holding its own, and strongly. In particular, direct mail is growing for customer acquisition and retention.
·       In 2015, 54% of Target Marketing respondents were using direct mail for their customer acquisition efforts. In 2016, this rose to 58%.
·       In 2015, 51% of Target Marketing respondents were using direct mail for their customer retention efforts. That has risen to 55% today. 
Why is direct mail growing for acquisition and retention, even in the face of consumers’ love affair with digital and mobile media?
1. Email addresses go out of date very quickly, and mobile phone numbers are not always easy to get. Once you have a physical address, however, you can maintain contact with that customer for a long time. Even if people move and don’t provide a new address, you can get address updates from the U.S. Post Office through the National Change of Address (NCOA) service.
2. Even when someone has opted out of phone, email, and mobile contact, you can still reach them by postal mail. Direct mail is powerful and proven effective for re-engaging customers who have dropped off your email list.
3. In a world of electronic media, the physical mailbox is a powerful open door. When a well-designed mail piece shows up in a customer’s or prospect’s mailbox, it doesn’t get lost the way emails in the saturated and highly filtered inbox do.  It gets noticed right away—and nearly always read.
Want help using direct mail to break through the clutter and get attention? Give us a call!