Category Archives: Uncategorized

Are You Selling for the Short- or Long-Term?

When you create personalized print communications for your customers, are you thinking about short-term selling or long-term relationships? While getting the quick sale feels great, the biggest profits come from long-term customers who provide recurring revenue over time. Here are five reasons to focus on recurring personalized print programs rather than “quick hit” campaigns:

  1. Building relationships.

Personalization, by definition, is personal and implies a relationship. To establish a relationship with your customers, you need to get to know them. No one-off campaign, no matter how successful, can do that.

  1. Learning more over time.

At the beginning of a campaign, you are making educated guesses about how your customers think and act. As they respond, you learn more about them. This allows you to modify your messaging, offers and calls to action to have the most impact over time.

  1. Making more money.

As you learn which campaign elements are most effective at motivating your customers, your campaigns will be more profitable. More refined campaigns translate into higher response rates, higher conversion rates, and increased ROI.

  1. Maximizing investment.

Setting up your first 1:1 print campaign requires an investment in time and money. By developing programs rather than one-off campaigns, your set-up costs are amortized over the life of the program. As costs become amortized, your ROI per campaign goes up.

  1. Not continually having re-prove program value.

Unless you are the president or owner of the company, chances are you had to work with a team of others to make the initial decision to deploy personalized print communications. Each time you run another campaign, you need to go through the entire process again. With programs, you have the freedom to refine and maximize your efforts without having to re-prove their value before each deployment.

So think long-term. Programs allow you to develop and refine your marketing strategy over time and take advantage of the value of relationship-building. One-off campaigns can produce great short-term results, but the deepest profits come from investing in your customers for the long term.

 

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5 Reasons Print Stubbornly Refuses to Be Replaced

No matter how frequently marketing gurus prophesy the demise of print, and no matter how loudly and publicly they do it, print marketing remains the bedrock of any successful multichannel marketing program. Let’s look at five reasons why print is here to stay.

  1. It’s just prettier. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your JPGs are; a beautifully printed piece will blow away your screen graphics every time.
  2. You can’t avoid it. When you communicate by email, recipients can’t see beyond the subject line until they open the message. With clear envelopes, windows, and exterior envelope printing, you start communicating your print message as soon as the piece arrives in the mailbox.
  3. Print is one of many touchpoints. Today’s complex marketing environment requires multiple touch points. According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes six to eight marketing touches to generate a viable sales lead. Repetition is critical, and print is a critical channel in the mix.
  4. Print influences buying decisions. Marketers once thought that with the growth of e-commerce, printed catalogs would fade away. History indicates otherwise. Surveys find that consumers who receive printed catalogs are more likely (in one study, twice as likely) to make online purchases at the retailer’s website as those who do not.
  5. Consumers trust print more. Open your e-mail. How much junk email do you receive? Unless it comes from a known brand, people are skeptical of claims made by email alone. Print carries greater weight and authenticity than digital marketing. People continue to trust messages communicated in print.

Print remains irreplaceable in today’s “what’s in it for me?” world. While e-marketing is a necessary component in any multichannel marketing campaign, print carries benefits that online channels just can’t touch.

 

 

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.

 

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.

Questions to Ask Before Any Logo Redesign

A logo is the most visible graphical representation of a company. It provides an anchor for the visual elements in all of your other marketing materials, and when associated with an excellent product or service, it can carry goodwill and brand awareness. Conversely, if your logo has low brand recognition or a dated look, it’s time to consider a redesign.

If you are considering a logo redesign, here are some things to discuss with your designer:

  • What is your unique selling proposition? Where does your product fall on the quality versus price spectrum?
  • Who are your competitors and target customers?
  • What are your plans for how the logo will be used beyond business cards and stationery? This will allow the designer to create a logo that is appropriately scalable.
  • If your logo relies on gradients, reflections, or other digital effects, how will it look embroidered on a shirt or imprinted on a promotional item? One test is to look at your logo in its simplest form. Can it hold its own in black-and-white?
  • Can digital enhancements be added for specific applications?

Answering these questions will help your designer position your brand appropriately, both for the market and for the intended marketing uses.

But let creativity abound. There’s no single formula for creating an effective logo. Consider the highly visible Microsoft, Olympic and Starbucks redesigns. Microsoft unveiled its first new logo in a quarter of a century last year, adding a splash of color and a graphical element to its name. Similarly, the new Olympic logo spelled out Rio 2016 and used the yellow, green and blue of the Brazilian flag. Contrast that with the latest Starbucks logo, which uses only one color and no reference to the Starbucks name or coffee. The green, twin-tailed mermaid represents the brand’s personality rather than the product.

If logo redesign is important to these marquee brands, it’s certainly something for your business to consider. However, test market any changes with your target audience before embarking on a full-scale redesign. The price of a logo redesign (again) is more than just the cost of the image. It’s the expense of rolling it out across your enterprise.

Need help? Let one of our professional designers brainstorm with you.