Avoid the Pitfalls of Lifetime Customer Value

Over the last several years, much has been written about the benefits of measuring lifetime customer value (LCV). The theory is that if you can determine the revenue potential of all of your customers, you can direct your marketing resources to the accounts that have the highest potential yield and thereby maximize the ROI of your marketing dollars.

Understanding LCV can yield some great benefits. However, there are limitations to this practice that, if not avoided, can produce negative results.

Perhaps the biggest danger is over-investing in programs and initiatives that seek to capture profits only or primarily from the most active, highest spending customers. This ignores opportunities from customers with growth potential and from prospects and former customers who represent attractive profits if they can be cultivated into active customers.

It is said that companies will lose 50% of their customers in any given five-year span. Consequently, the need to focus your marketing efforts on new customer acquisition cannot be ignored. While using an LCV model will lead to an increase in profits from high-value customers, over-reliance on LCV can lead to a steady decrease in your pool of customers and overall profit if not balanced with customer acquisition.

It’s important to communicate with a wide variety of customers through all the various stages of the prospect/customer lifecycle. Having a range of marketing materials targeting different segments can significantly increase the ROI of your marketing efforts. With today’s database and print technologies, it’s never been easier.

Need ideas for creating the right target segments? Give us a call because we’re ready to help put your ideas in motion!

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Maximize Postal Discounts

You’ve heard the advertisements. “When we save money, YOU save money!” When the retailer gets a deal, they pass the savings along to you. The United States Post Office is no different. There are certain mailing sizes and formats that process through the USPS equipment more efficiently, so when you save them money, they save you money. That’s what automation discounts are all about.

Even if you don’t have the volumes to qualify for automation discounts, staying within these guidelines will ensure that you get the most out of your mailings. By following the guidelines, you can prevent your mail pieces from being delayed or undeliverable.

Here are the categories to keep in mind:

Format Size: To qualify for automation discounts, First Class postcards, letters, and flats must be within a certain size range. For example, to qualify for discounts, postcards must be ½” x 5” to 4 ¼” x 6” and range from .007” to .016” in thickness.

Addressing: For the mail to process most efficiently, the address block must be placed in the right location. For letters, it must be ½” from the left and right edges. For non-barcoded mail, it must be 2 ¾” from the bottom edge. For barcoded mail, it must be up to 4” from the bottom edge.

Font size: For maximum readability, the USPS prefers that the address be printed in font that is a minimum of 10 points. If it’s a san-serif font, all the better. If you are using window envelopes, make sure that the entire address is visible. If the city-state falls below the window, the mail piece may disappear too — as undeliverable.

Background contrast: While bright envelope colors can grab attention and increase open rates, you need to be sure that the contrast between the envelope and the printing is sufficient to be read by the postal machinery. If the address is not readable, you will lose your automation discount and, potentially, the mailing could be rejected. You can’t get a response from a mail piece that is never delivered.

No 3D objects, please: Anything that renders the mailing less than completely flat will eliminate your postal discount. This means no clasps, buttons, or other 3D closures. Sure, those things may look cool, but they will not run through the automated equipment. However, keep in mind that 3D mailings can really increase open and response rates. So, let us help you research your options. 3D may be worth the extra cost!

Postal Discount Program: The USPS has just announced a discount program for tactile, sensory and interactive mail pieces. The program runs from March 1 through August 31, 2016 and offers a 2% discount. So, let your imagination go wild:

  • Scratch and sniff
  • Embedded sound chips
  • Edible components, such as rice paper
  • Pop-up mailers
  • Texturized papers

Looking for more ways to put your ideas in motion and maximize your postal discounts? Give us a call.

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Boost Fundraising Efforts With Surveys

When we think about using donor surveys to benefit fundraising efforts, we tend to think about gathering data for targeting and personalization, thereby increasing the likelihood that donors will reach into their wallets. But donor surveys can be tremendously useful in strategic planning for your next fundraising mailing, as well.

Let’s say you are a private high school looking to raise funds to replace grass athletic fields with artificial turf. Before mailing out your next fundraising letter, you decide to survey alumni and friends of the school who have donated to capital projects in the past.

Questions might include:

  • Are you aware that our school is investing in an artificial turf field?
  • Which do you think are the most important benefits of this technology?
  • Are you concerned about any health risks associated with artificial turf?
  • What competitive advantages both in athletics and marketing are gained by the schools we directly compete with because they have this technology?
  • Do you know which of our direct competitors already have artificial turf?

Surveys can be sent in print or by email (consider using personalized URLs to capture responses and append them back to your database automatically) and the answers can help you plan your next marketing steps.

For example, if donors are aware of the performance benefits of artificial turf but are much less aware of other benefits, such as reduced maintenance costs to the school, lower water usage, and reduced use of pesticides and chemicals, this gives you talking points about the value of their donations they may not be aware of.

Likewise, even if donors are familiar with artificial turf, they may be unaware of which competitive schools already have this technology and the marketing advantages this creates for those schools. This allows you to position their donations as a way to help your school stay competitive.

Or perhaps donors have misconceptions about the health hazards of artificial turf based on their knowledge of older turf products. This allows you to discuss advances in technology and alleviate potential concerns before misconceptions derail your fundraising efforts before they get started.

This is only an example, and the issues and questions will be different for every organization. But what stays the same is how a simple survey can provide critical insights that can dramatically improve the direction of your fundraising communications and, consequently, your ability to communicate with donors in the most effective way.

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Happy New Year

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The entire team at Multi-Craft would like to wish you, your family and your organizations a Happy New Year. I hope 2016 brings you joy, peace, happiness and prosperity!

This is the time of year we look behind at everything we’ve accomplished. And, we look forward to a clean slate and an opportunity to plan for the future.

Some of us will make resolutions and keep them (I am in awe of these people). Others will make resolutions and break them on the first day. After all, how many times can I resolve to lose those same 10 lbs.?

My challenge to all of you is to keep your minds open to the new opportunities 2016 will bring for you to grow your business through new marketing technology and trends. And, if you need help, we’re here! Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas – Happy Holidays!


As a Christian, this is the time of year where my hope begins. A baby born in a manger ended up dying to insure my salvation. I wish all of my Christian friends and colleagues a Merry Christmas!

However, I realize that not everyone I know is a Christian. I have Jewish friends who celebrate Hanukkah and African American friends who celebrate Kwanza. And, I’m sure I have friends who do not view Christmas or the holiday season in any religious way at all. I respect your right to celebrate the holiday season according to your own beliefs. And, it is to you that I wish Happy Holidays!


I hope that you are all surrounded by family and friends during this special time of year and that 2016 is a year of happiness and joy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Multi-Craft!

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Personalized Print: Are You Focused on the Right Things?

For customers first getting involved in 1:1 print marketing, the question that inevitably arises is, “How can I maximize my investment?” This question often creates great angst about how much data they have and whether or not that data is sufficient to personalize the document for maximum return. But how much data you have is not the only important factor. The following factors are also critical in getting the results you want.

  1. Quality of the database. 

Often, marketers get so caught up in volume that they overlook the importance of accuracy. If you have a choice between spending your budget on getting more data and spending it on getting good data, go for quality every time.

  1. Forget cute. Go for relevant. 

Think “customer motivation.” Many marketers get caught up in creating ads that are cute and memorable, but this doesn’t work with relevance-based targeting. You have about three seconds to catch the recipient’s attention. If the customer has to think too hard or if there is not a clear call to action, your piece will fall short.

  1. Include a call to action. 

Don’t assume the recipient knows what you want them to do. Make sure the text clearly states the end goal: visit the store, buy a product, attend a seminar.

One mortgage company learned this lesson the hard way. It created a witty postcard whose front showed a pizza slice stuffed with dollar bills. The headline read, “It’s Not Delivery. It’s [Name of Mortgage Company].”  Confusing, right? It showed in the response rate — .5%. On the next go-round, the marketer added the wording, “We deliver the best mortgage in town.” The response rates tripled.

Remember, when crafting 1:1 print marketing, it’s not about how good you are. It’s about how good the message is. Ready to put your personalization ideas in motion? Give us a call. That’s why we’re here.

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Voting Matters!

Here we sit, several days after Election Day, and, in Northern Kentucky, the pollsters are shocked at the results. Polls had clearly indicated a win for the Democratic candidate for Governor and the Republican candidate came out the winner.

One commentator said, “it makes us question if polling parameters are changing”. If polling is like business in general, of course it is changing. As I’ve blogged in the past, change is a fact of life.

However, the results of this election also indicated that getting out the vote is critical. In Northern Kentucky, we have been lazy about getting to the polls in previous statewide elections. But, this year, we significantly increased the number of voters from our area. Since Northern Kentucky is heavily Republican, I believe that’s what changed the expected outcome. The pollsters didn’t expect this increased voter turnout.

Just goes to show that your vote does matter. A few days before election day, a reporter cited at least 10 recent examples of elections that were decided by one vote across our nation. One vote! This truly is an example of where each and every person’s vote counts!

As voters, we should have several focuses during election cycles:

  • Know the candidates – what do they stand for, what is their past experience, what are their promises?
  • Get out and vote – as a citizen of the United States of America you have the awesome privilege of being able to speak your mind and cast your vote. Don’t take this privilege lightly.
  • If you don’t vote, don’t complain – that’s rather like the parent who is constantly criticizing his child’s soccer coach or referee. If you don’t like what you see, then step up and volunteer to do it yourself. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the results of the election process.
  • If you don’t like your representation, then do something about it – run for election, hold fundraisers for candidates you like, ring doorbells and make phone calls on a worthy candidate’s behalf.
  • Let your voice be heard – not just at election time, but all year round. Participate in your local government by attending city council meetings, writing letters to the editor, reading the local news and understanding the issues, volunteer to help improve your community.

We are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth. People risk life and limb to gain entry into this great nation because of many things, some of which include:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • Right to bear arms
  • Right to elect our representatives

If they’re willing to die to attain these benefits, shouldn’t we at least get involved and get out and vote for those who determine our futures?

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