Author Archives: jonmccoy858

When Is Personal Too Personal?

One of the benefits of 1:1 marketing is the ability to increase the relevance of each communication by making the message more personal. By using the information you already know about the recipient, you can communicate on a more intimate, 1:1 level.

But this approach can also be misused. Individuals and businesses are very protective of their privacy these days, and rightly so. Customers want to know that their data is not only safe but that the marketers they do business with won’t misuse it.

What are some first steps you can take to ensure that your customers and prospects know that you care about their privacy?

  • Include an official privacy statement in your information-gathering materials.
  • If you are collecting data, include a notice of physical and data security procedures and a promise of confidentiality.
  • When personalizing your marketing messages, don’t disclose overly personal details (“Hey, Bob! Ready to default on that sky-high mortgage?”).
  • Be transparent. Provide full details about what respondents have to do to receive any prizes or promotional items.
  • Follow all opt-in regulations, including double opt-ins for email lists and providing the option to opt-out of future marketing contacts.
  • Assure that respondents’ information will not be sold to third parties.

Privacy standards, both in print and online, are always evolving. So stay abreast of the discussion. Talk to your customers to find out any other concerns and address them. The more you can assure your customers that their personal information is safe with you and that it will be used appropriately, the more you will win their trust.

 

 

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Best Practices in Personalized Marketing

If you want great marketing results, it’s important to personalize text, images, and other content based on what you know about the recipient. But just dropping in data-driven content doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes other factors can dull your results. Maybe the offer is great, but the design is so uninteresting that nobody reads it. Or the headline is snappy and the design is great, but there is no incentive for people to respond.

Let’s look at three best practices that need to be the foundation of any personalized print campaign.

  • Traditional marketing rules apply. Even with personalized marketing, traditional rules hold firm. Ultimately, all of the elements — creative, message (including personalization), offer, segmentation, call to action, and incentive —need to come together to determine success.
  • Focus on relevance, not “personalization.” It doesn’t matter how “personalized” a document is. If it isn’t relevant, it is worthless. Take the shoe market. You don’t want to sell orthopedic shoes to teenagers. You can deck out the mailer with text messaging terms, pictures of X-Games, and use all the contemporary lingo, but it’s not a relevant message unless a teen needs to purchase a birthday present for grandpa.
  • Know your customers, then market to what you know. When the National Hockey League began 1:1 communication with its customers, it asked them to fill out a survey that indicated that 40% of the of NHL’s fan base lives outside their favorite team’s home market. That means these fans can’t easily go to games or access highlights. Imagine the opportunity for the league! So ask yourself, what don’t you know about your customers now that might allow you to create relevance in a more powerful way later? Do a customer mail or email survey. Use what you find out to speak directly to the needs and interests of your customers.

Investing in your marketing database and developing an intimate understanding of your customers takes time, dedicated resources, and manpower, but it is one of the most important investments you can make. Personalization is a powerful tool, but to get the big pay-off, it cannot work alone.

 

Did You Know Personalized Printing Is Green Printing?

When you think about personalization, do you think about lower cost per lead, higher per order values, and increased ROI? You should. But you should also get excited about how personalized printing helps you go green.

Here are three reasons why:

  • Targeting means you send out fewer pieces of mail—saving trees, chemicals, and fossil fuels.
  • A cleaner database means that your recipients deliver fewer pieces right to the trash can.
  • Digital production has many green benefits, including no plates, no chemicals, and no spray powders.

Say you are a small college printing four-color catalogs to mail to prospective students. Each catalog is 252 pages, covering the full range of disciplines and activities. As a result, only 25% of the material is relevant to the prospective student. Now, instead of printing 252 pages, you print 64 pages of material relevant to each student. Not only does this increase the effectiveness of each booklet, but you’ve just reduced your consumption of paper, ink, and chemicals by 75%.

As another example, in a static mail campaign, you might send out 15,000 postcards to a generic list. With personalized mail, you are likely to select only a percentage of that list. This might be the top 10% of your customers, customers who are most likely to purchase certain products or customers who, based on defined triggers (such as an expiring auto lease), are most likely to be in the market for a new purchase. Now, instead of mailing 15,000 pieces, you might mail only 1,500. Not only are these offers more targeted and relevant, but you’ve just reduced your printing and mailing volume by 90%, a huge slash in your carbon footprint.

It pays to be green. Not only should you consider green alternatives because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s good business. Consumers want to do business with companies that are good stewards of the environment.

So double marketing dip

3 Tips for Optimizing Your Multichannel Marketing

Want to energize your print campaign? Combine print with other media to amplify its effect.

The most common channel pairing with print these days is email, but you might also want to consider text messaging, banner ads, social media (such as Facebook), and search engine advertising, as well. Each channel has different benefits depending on your marketing goals and the target audience you are trying to reach.

No matter which channels you choose, here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain consistent branding across all channels.

Different media have different requirements, so you can’t maintain 100% cross-channel consistency all the time. But whenever possible, use the same images, color schemes, primary messaging, and offers to maintain a consistent brand image and a consistent brand message.

  1. Think strategically.

Know what role each channel is supposed to play. If you are going to combine email with print, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to create awareness and anticipation of the print piece? Are you using email as a reminder to respond? Maybe if you’re driving traffic to a campaign-specific website, you might want to consider banner advertising in demographic hot spots.

  1. Create appropriate channel-audience pairings.

Ensure that you are selecting the best combination of channels to communicate with your target audience. You’re not going to reach as many retirees with text marketing as you are Millennials, for example, and social media preferences vary, as well. Sixty-five percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers say their favorite social media network is Facebook, and while Millennials overall prefer Facebook, too, among younger Millennials (ages 18-24), the favored social media network is Instagram.

There is a learning curve associated with multichannel marketing, but the ability to amplify and reinforce your marketing message can be invaluable. Need help matching your channels to your marketing goals? Just ask!

 

Guide to Being Authentic

Whether you are writing copy for direct mail, email, social media, or mobile video, it is important to be authentic. People buy from people, so create marketing copy that is believable and that makes people want to buy from you. But like everything else, being authentic still takes planning. Here are five tips for keeping it real.

  1. Be human. Don’t sound like a corporate brochure. Instead of saying, “We’re going to leverage our core competency to shift the paradigm,” say, “As experts in this area, we’re going to do something new and exciting.” Use common language. Speak in a way that your audience can relate to.
  2. Be passionate. Passion is contagious. When someone argues deeply and passionately about an environmental cause, a weekend hobby, or an outstanding vacation destination, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. Even if your product is as dry as Melba toast, find something to get excited about, then write from that source of passion.
  3. Be vulnerable. Studies consistently show that consumers are more likely to trust a company that admits its flaws and failings but is honest about them and works hard to correct them than one who claims that all paths lead to success. Vulnerability is real, and we relate to it. Vulnerability builds trust.
  4. Be honest. Don’t exaggerate the truth, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. If consumers sense that you’re not being honest about one or more elements of your marketing pitch, they will question the truthfulness of all of it.
  5. Have fun. Have some fun in your marketing. Use humor, lighthearted pictures, and an element of surprise now and then. We have enough things in our lives that are dull and boring. Don’t make your product one of them.

 

Why You Should Be Doing Event Marketing

Event marketing, including trade shows, seminars, and conferences, offers unique opportunities to engage customers and increase the visibility of your brand. Direct mail, email, social media, and other marketing channels each have a role to play in raising awareness about your company, but events have the ability to put everything together in a way that no channel, by itself, can do.

A recent infographic by NCFE (Northern Council for Further Education) highlights three key benefits of event marketing every marketer should keep in mind.

  1. Events humanize your company.

Events do more than showcase your products and services. They showcase your brand’s personality. People like to buy from people, not just companies, so get consumers to like your brand’s personality and you will increase sales and win customers’ long-term loyalty.

  1. Events embed product information more deeply.

Events offer a multi-touch, multi-sensory experience that embeds information more deeply in customers’ memories. Studies of post-trade-show experiences, for example, show that consumers who have physically interacted with a product (such as in a product demo) are more likely to remember that product and remember it in more detail than products they learned about in a passive environment. Events let your target audience engage with your product in a dynamic way that increase their ability to recall it later.

  1. Events let you gather more demographic information.

Events create a fertile environment for gathering contact and demographic information you can use to target potential customers long after the event is over. Use registration forms, interactive booth or seminar games, badge scanning, and other techniques to gather as much information about attendees as possible. After all, they have just pre-qualified themselves as being high-value leads, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Want to learn more about event marketing and how to use booth graphics, displays, and marketing collateral to support your event marketing efforts? Let us show you how!

 

Effective Communication Breeds Customer Loyalty

If your company has high levels of customer satisfaction, they are likely to remain loyal, right? Wrong.

In a customer satisfaction study of 10 major industries, an average of 72% of respondents indicated that they were highly satisfied with the products or services received. Yet 88% of the customers surveyed said that they were willing to switch providers for any reason!

Many of your competitors likely offer a quality product and service with prices and delivery standards that are similar to yours. In this fiercely competitive environment, how can you continuously attract and win new customers while fostering loyalty among your current ones?

All things being equal, your customers will naturally go where they consistently feel well treated and appreciated.

You care about your clients, but what matters to them is how you show it. Demonstrating their value to you requires more than quality service and good prices. It requires strategic planning. It requires ongoing attentiveness and creativity in the quality of your communication.

Direct mail is often viewed as a way of winning new customers, but its effectiveness as a customer loyalty tool should not be overlooked. It is powerful, relevant, and has a tangible cost. Sending direct mail (especially personalized mail) says to your customers, “You are worth the effort.”

Consider setting up a series of “nurturing” mailers throughout the year. Make it a continuous client contact program that will demonstrate at regular, pre-planned intervals that you are sincerely grateful for their business and care about their relationship with you.

Use the data you’ve collected to communicate, cross-sell, educate, survey and grow your relationship with these customers. Offer useful tips, and send newsletters, press releases, case studies, company brochures and timely incentives that remind clients of your commitment to service, value, quality, innovation, and loyalty.

Direct mail isn’t just for customer acquisition marketing anymore. It is a critical part of effective customer retention efforts too.