Direct Mail on the Rise!

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 Email addresses go out of date very quickly, and mobile phone numbers are not always easy to get.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 – we can help to put your direct mail ideas in motion!

 

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Don’t Ditch Your Data – Fix It!

Think you don’t own enough data to do personalized marketing? That might not be the case. Often marketers do own enough data, but that data is not centralized or is incomplete or inaccurate. If you fall into the latter category, the answer isn’t ditching your dreams of personalization. It’s fixing the problems in your data.

The first step is to figure out exactly where you are and what you need to do. This often involves analyzing your data. While this sounds daunting, it’s really no different than taking your car to a repair shop. The mechanic hooks up the car to a machine that spits out a report telling you where the problems are. Data specialists do much the same thing.

Here’s an example from a retailer. The retailer had plenty of data and wanted to use it for 1:1 print marketing, so a data audit was conducted. One of the most glaring challenges that immediately came to light was that the retailer had addresses for only 50% of its customers. It did, however, have phone numbers. So, a list broker was contacted and they were able to map phone numbers to names and addresses to provide the missing information.

In another example, it was found that each one of the retailer’s stores was gathering customer data in isolation. Each retail customer might have two, three, even five different customer IDs, one for each store in which they shopped. Once again, telephone numbers came to the rescue. By using each shopper’s telephone number as a common point of contact, they were able to consolidate each shopper’s data from each store into a single marketing database.

Seemingly overwhelming problems often have simple solutions. A basic diagnostic test is often half the battle. So if you think your data needs a check-up, don’t panic. Let us coordinate the project so that you get just the solution you need. When you’re ready to put your data in motion – we’re here to help!

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Tap the Subconscious, Win the Sale!

Want to create direct mail that motivates your targets to take action? Take some tips from the advertising industry. These tips are based on human psychology that smart advertisers know.

  1. Don’t miss out! People like to be part of something new. If something exciting is going on, they don’t want to be left behind. “Join the millions of Americans who have discovered…”
  2. Offer exclusivity. Consumers want their lives to be glamorous. They want to feel that they deserve something special. “Not everyone gets this deal, so apply today!” Exclusivity and insider status appeal to readers’ sense of pride and entitlement and can be powerful motivators.
  3. Create value by association. Advertisers will often associate a product or service with something universally accepted as noble or being of great value. Jeep recently tapped this approach with its Super Bowl ads tying Jeep to the gritty images of the faces of America’s soldiers.
  4. Appeal to charity or environmental causes. “Help us take care of America’s lost and abandoned pets. With every purchase, we will donate . . .” Who could say “no” to one of these sad-faced, abandoned creatures? No one, of course.
  5. Give proof positive. Every marketer makes claims about their products, but when you back them up with statistics, those claims carry more punch. A mattress company might appeal to data from studies on sleep, for example (“Did you know that people who sleep soundly are 10% more productive at work?”) or a men’s suit company might talk about the percentage of executives who form opinions of job candidates within the first two seconds.

Consumers are motivated by a wide variety of factors, and many of them are subconscious. Tap into different motivators in your messaging and see which ones are most effective with your target audience.

And, it’s not just the text or call-to-action that can motivate. Don’t forget that certain colors and the creative are also factors in helping your direct mail garner attention and foster next steps.

When you’re ready to put your direct mail ideas in motion, Multi-Craft is ready to help!

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You May Have More Data Than You Think!

Think you don’t have enough data to drive personalized print marketing programs? To boost your targeting and personalization efforts, maybe you need to invest in data gathering or renting a third-party list. Or maybe — just maybe — you have more data than you think.

Let’s look at some of the many types of data that can get overlooked.

    • Transactional data. This includes both brick-and-mortar and from the online store.
  • Submissions through web contact forms.

 

    • Customer care (found in your CRM system)
    • Business reply cards. Too often, your BRCs are left at the fulfillment house and the valuable information that can be obtained from them is left unused.
    • SMS/cell phone marketing contacts. If you have a standalone system, get that information out of your text marketing solution and back into your CRM.
    • Responses to e-mail campaigns. Like text messaging, these data need to get back into your marketing database so what you learn through email contacts can be integrated into your direct mail and other channels, too.
    • Trade shows/events. Get those “card swipe” responses back into your system after post-show follow-up!
  • Customer and prospect surveys.

 

Aggregating the data from these disparate sources will give you a more well-rounded picture of your customers and target audience. This data can be cleaned up, de-duped, and filled in if necessary so that you can use it to create more relevant communications and drive sales.

If you need help locating or integrating data from all of these disparate sources, give us a call. We’re ready to put your data in motion to help you get more from the marketing dollars you are spending!

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Get Your Timing Right!

How critical is the timing for direct mail campaigns? Hitting the right window can make the difference between recipients saying, “That’s me!” and the piece being rejected out of hand. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this tale of two campaigns.

Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B:

  • Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
  • Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.
  • Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.
  • Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.

Here is where the campaigns differed:

Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.

Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.

To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.

How well do you know your target audience?

When you’re ready to begin developing your next targeted direct mail campaign, we’re ready to help!

 

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Personalized Content Works!

Recently, we heard about a major retailer who rocked its print personalization, and we wanted to share its success with you. We hope you find it inspirational as you plan your print marketing for the upcoming year.

Super Shoes sells more than 200 shoe and apparel brands in 40+ stores in eight states. To increase the effectiveness of its direct mailings, Super Shoes decided to get personal.

Super Shoes started with channel preference. While many of its competitors were turning to digital marketing, the retailer knew that its customers still preferred to receive direct mail promotions like postcards and catalogs.

“We have an email database, but our customers tend to respond more to print,” says Matthew Willard, marketing director at Super Shoes, as quoted in 1to1 Media.

Super Shoes layered in attitudinal behavioral attributes (which can be purchased much the same way as demographic data) and past purchase histories. This allowed it to target its mailings based on demographic and psychological profiles. Customized content included images, copy, messaging and offers.

Super Shoes had tested different mail formats (postcard, oversized postcard, newspaper insert, catalog) and found that an oversized postcard was the most effective for its customer base.

It sent eight different versions of its mailer and tested against the generic version. The results? The generic offering had a 2.5% conversion rate. The personalized mailing had a 6.7% conversion rate.

Want to personalize your next direct mailing and see how your conversion rates soar? Give us a call and we’ll help put your ideas in motion!

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Print Is A Brainy Choice For Marketers

I know the purpose of a blog is to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings. But, today, I’d like to share an article that was emailed to me. It is so well done, based upon research and shows the value of print in the marketing mix. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!

Brain Science Deems Print a Brainy Choice for Marketers

What instinct tells us about the effectiveness of print has now scientific backing that links it to measurable brain activity, as detailed in a study commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service.

By Patrick Henry Published: February 17, 2016

Print works better than digital: it’s something believers in print know in their bones. The U.S. Postal Service agrees but says it isn’t about bones: it’s about brains.

That’s a non-technical recap of what the USPS and academic researchers learned when they used neuromarketing methods to study the effects of print and digital media in the buying process. The study, published last year, found that although each medium has strengths, physical ads outdo digital ones in terms of time spent, emotional response, ease of recall, and purchasing motivation

Three kinds of scientific testing showed that no matter what people might say in surveys, deep-brain activity and other physiological reactions tell the truth about how they actually respond to advertising impressions.

The study reported that although participants processed digital ad content more quickly, they spent more time with physical ads. They also responded more emotionally to physical ads and remembered them better than digital ads.

According to the study, this is what counts toward generating ROI. Physical ads aren’t as quick to grab attention as digital ads, but they are easier to recall when those who have seen them are making purchasing decisions. At the moment of truth, physical ads trigger activity in the part of the brain that perceives value and desirability. The livelier the response of the ventral striatum, says the study, the greater the intent to purchase.

Although the USPS has an obvious stake in the preservation of physical ads, the study doesn’t attempt to play off one medium against another. It notes, for example, that in situations where consumers have only a short time to view advertisements, digital ads will get the message across more effectively than physical ads. Following up with a physical mailpiece then leads to a purchase.

“This suggests a complementary effect between the two formats that could provide a powerful way for marketers to optimize their media mix, especially as companies look to reach digitally connected customers,” the study says.

The research, conducted by the USPS Office of Inspector General and Temple University’s Fox Center for Neural Decision Making, used survey questionnaires, eye tracking, core biometrics, and neuroimaging to examine physiological and neural activity in subjects looking at physical and digital ads.

The first phase of testing focused on what the subjects looked at and for how long. It also measured physiological response and emotional engagement. The second phase targeted memory and willingness to pay, including a simulated purchase process.

The testing specimens were physical ads printed on postcards and digital ads embedded into e-mail. The ads promoted consumer products and services, and after viewing them in the first phase, the subjects were asked to answer survey questions about them.

Supplying the physiological and neural data were the techniques of eye tracking, using an infrared camera to monitor eye movement; core biometrics with fingertip sensors measuring heart rate, skin conductance, and other bodily reactions; and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a scan that measures deep-brain activity through changes in oxygenated blood flow.

The findings have practical implications for marketers, the study says. Among them:

  • Physical ads had a longer-lasting impact than digital ads. A week after the initial viewing, the emotional response and memory of the physical ads remained strong.
  • Although participants stated the same willingness to pay for an item whether they were looking at a digital or a physical ad, their brain activity showed a greater subconscious desire for items advertised in a physical format.
  • The participants spent more time with physical ads than with digital ads but absorbed the same amount of information from each type.

The study, titled “Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response,” contains analysis and commentary by the USPS as well as the full text of the research report by the team at the Fox Center for Neural Decision Making.

So, if after reading this great article, you want to add or expand the role of print in your marketing strategy, we’d love to put your ideas in motion!

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