Checklist for Clean Mailing Lists

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When it comes to direct mail, maximum results start, not just with a mailing list, but with a clean mailing list. So what does a “clean” list really mean? Here is a quick checklist that can help.

  1. CASS Certification. CASS Certification is the process we use to check the validity and deliverability of a physical mailing address. Bowman Street isn’t the same as Bowman Avenue, and getting it right can make the difference between the mail getting delivered or not.
  2. Address Element Correction (AEC). When CASS Certified address-matching software cannot match an address, it becomes a candidate for AEC. AEC corrects problems such as misspellings, nonstandard abbreviations, improperly ordered elements, and address lines that contain information other than the actual address. It also fixes missing elements.
  3. National Change of Address (NCOA). According to the USPS, 40 million people move every year, but their old addresses often remain in your database. In fact, estimates are that 8% of mail is undeliverable because of incorrect addresses. Taking the simple step of updating the addresses of new movers can save you thousands of dollars.
  4. Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS) Link. This method allows you to update addresses when a 911 emergency system has been implemented to convert rural-style addresses to city-style addresses or when a street address has been renamed or renumbered.
  5. ZIPMove. Sometimes addresses undergo a ZIP Code realignment, and when this occurs, ZIPMove will update your database to reflect the new ZIP Code.

You’ve taken the time and effort to collect the names and addresses of customers and key prospects. Now let us help you maximize your investment by keeping your list clean and updated so every mail piece hits its target.  When you’re ready to put your ideas in motion, Multi-Craft is ready to help!

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Does 1:1 Printing Really Make A Difference?

More and more, we are hearing about print personalization, or variable data printing, to achieve higher response rates and better ROI. But does personalizing by name, geographic location, or demographic information really make that much difference? Can’t you just achieve higher response rates with a better offer? An over-sized postcard? Or a really great design?

These things do increase response rates, but they aren’t replacements for a personalized approach. Consider these research findings:

  • 56% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name.  (Accenture)
  • 59% of consumers say that personalization influences their purchase decisions. (Infosys)
  • 84% of consumers say personalization makes them more likely to open a direct mail piece. (InfoTrends)

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Personalization works because it’s, well, personal. From a consumer perspective, it’s less about what’s good for the marketer and more about what’s good for them.

Why does it work? Just think about how you are being marketed to. What motivates you as a consumer? When you shop online, you are asked to register so that the site can greet you by name. Cookies follow your every move so that when you return, the page views are customized to your purchase or viewing patterns. At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you just purchased. When you receive mail from your financial advisor, it contains information only on those funds in which you have invested or that are relevant to you based on your past investment history.

Consumers—all of us—are used to being marketed to on a 1:1 basis, even if we don’t think about it this way. Personalization has become so ingrained in our experience that we barely realize it anymore. If you aren’t incorporating personalization into your print marketing (as well as your email and other digital channels), you are out of step with marketing’s cutting edge.

Need help personalizing your next print or multi-channel marketing campaign?  Let Multi-Craft help put your 1:1 ideas in motion!

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Qualitative Data Vs. Quantitative Data: Do You Know the Difference?

When it comes to personalized marketing, whether in print or email, there are two types of data: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative data is data that you can put numbers on—household income, ZIP Code, number of children. We often call these demographics. Qualitative data is data that you cannot put numbers on, such as preferences and behavior. We often call these psychographics.

Marketers have become used to using quantitative data to speak more personally and relevantly to customers.  Customers in this household income bracket get these offers. Customers in that household income bracket get those. Customers with elementary school age children get information on Product A. Customers with high school age children get information on Product B.

Qualitative data can seem more challenging than quantitative data, but it can be even more rewarding. This is because, while we can make general statements about certain demographic groups, it’s limited. Just because someone is a homeowner doesn’t mean they need roofing services, for example. Conversely, people who receive Trail Runner magazine are likely to be interested in similar types of outdoor running gear even if they have different ages and household incomes.

This is why marketers are increasingly using both quantitative and qualitative data to inform their marketing strategies.  For example, a manufacturer of outdoor running gear might start with lists of people who read Trail Runner and similar magazines, then sub-segment offers based on other factors, such as income or geographic region.

So when it comes to creating targeted and personalized direct mail and email campaigns, think in terms of data that can be put into numbers and data that cannot. Then, most importantly, how they go together.

Let us help you put your personalized marketing in motion!

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What Is Really Motivating Your Customers?

When we think about motivating consumers to make a purchase, we think about using the right mailing list, creating the right offer, and having a compelling call to action. Whether creating a direct mail piece, a sales letter, or a magazine advertisement, those elements are critical. But the reasons people buy can also be more complex.

Particularly in the B2C environment, emotional factors are often at play. For example, if you are selling exotic vacations, you aren’t just selling a cost-effective hotel with great food and a seafront view.

  • You are selling relaxation.
  • You are tapping into the desire to escape from the daily grind of meetings, presentations, and child rearing.
  • You are selling the desire to be catered to.

Tapping into these deep emotional wells can help you sell more.  Instead of mailing a postcard with the headline, “Get 25% off plane tickets today!” Try, “Don’t you wish the office were a Thousand Miles Away?” Or, “Isn’t It Time that Someone Pampered YOU?”

Think about a parent dreaming of excitement beyond the children’s homework, playing shuttle for soccer practice, and meetings for the PTA. A trip offering whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving might tap deep emotional needs for adventure.  Try a postcard with an image of the face of a skydiver, wide-eyed and exhilarated—cheeks flapping in the wind—that says, “You, too, can FLY!”

Whether you are developing direct mailers, sales letters, or magazine ads . . .

  • Think about unmet frustrations and deeper emotions that might drive recipients to make a change.
  • List the potential motivators. To be recognized at work? Get a promotion? Be challenged? Break out of the mold? Feel empowered, youthful, and sexy?
  • Show — don’t tell. Use the power of graphics to tell a story.

Emotions are powerful marketing tools. Emotionally driven purchases tend to be less price-sensitive and more spontaneous. The medium of print has the ability to tap into those emotions and motivate behavior in a way that no other medium can do. Take advantage of it and let us help you put your ideas in motion!

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Benefit From Effective Branding

Related imageAn effective brand creates an enduring perception in the minds of your customers and distinguishes you from your competitors.  An investment in branding can pay off in many ways.

Increase mind share.  When you want a cola, you think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi.  If you need a bandage, Band-Aid comes to mind.  Are you top-of-mind in your market segment?  The sensory components of printed materials engage readers on an emotional level, connecting customers to your brand in a way electronic marketing can’t match.  Consider incorporating a gloss varnish, embossing, a distinctive die cut, or one of the many textures now available in papers and other substrates.

Build loyalty.  A memorable experience with a quality brand creates loyalty, which translates not only into the likelihood of a repeat sale but also an increased probability that the customer will buy related items from the same brand.

Benefit from referrals.  People who have never used your product or service may still recommend it if they’ve encountered your brand enough times to develop a sense of familiarity.  Printed collateral can be more visible to the casual observer as the prospect doesn’t have to consciously seek out your message.  Include your social media information on your printed products.

Command a premium price.  A powerful brand can lift your product or service out of the ambit of a commodity, so you have buyers eager to pay more for what you’re selling.  Many companies sell coffee, so what makes people stand in line and pay top dollar at Starbucks?

Lower your marketing cost in the long run.  Although you have to invest resources to create a strong brand, once it is established you can maintain it without having to re-tell your story. Many budget-conscious marketers rely heavily on electronic media, but research shows that people still prefer print.  We simply don’t have the same visceral reaction to an e-brochure as a professionally printed piece.

Less risk for the consumer equals more sales for you.  If someone is put on the spot to make a decision, he will most likely choose the brand-name supplier.  Consider monthly postcard marketing so prospects interact with your brand regularly.  Printed materials have the advantage over electronic media based on portability and permanence.

Building an effective brand is a continuous process.  Evaluate your brand’s market position periodically to make sure it’s fresh and relevant.

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Study: Cross-Channel Marketing Use Nearly Doubles

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to expand the number of marketing channels you are using and invest in deeper integration between them, just take a look at the data.

According to a study just released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Winterberry Group (April 2017), nearly 60% of U.S. digital marketing and media practitioners now engage in cross-channel marketing. This is up from 33% one year ago.

It’s no wonder. SailThru finds that 72% of consumers would rather connect with brands and businesses through multi-channel, and in a B2C environment, multi-channel B2C campaigns realize a 24% greater return on investment.  Multichannel shoppers also spend 3x more than single channel shoppers.

Not surprisingly, marketers are increasing the number of channels they use. More than half (52%) of marketers now use 3-4 marketing channels. This is up from 44% of marketers one year earlier (DMA).

Here’s another 52% statistic you should know—52% of multichannel marketers say they “usually” or “always” hit their financial targets! (CMO by Adobe)

Want to be among them? Here are some of the channels you should be integrating:

  • Print
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Web
  • Events
  • Mobile
  • Out-of-home
  • Video

The trick isn’t simply using more channels, however. It’s not about volume—it’s about strategy. It’s about integrating the right channels at the right time to reach the right prospects on the channels they use most.

This can be daunting, especially if you have limited resources to invest. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. Let us help you navigate the multichannel world and create campaigns that use the right mix of channels for your products, target audience, and marketing goals.

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Informed Delivery = Happy Marketers!

Are you looking for a way to make your B-to-C direct mail more relevant and responsive, as well as providing tighter integration with your digital channels? If so, Informed Delivery may be just the tool you are looking for. It is a tool that allows you to digitally preview your day’s mail and is available to residential customers for both First Class and Standard mail – all at no extra charge!

The United States Postal Service has developed this platform to unite physical and digital advertising by allowing marketers to provide hyperlinks to direct mail ads and promotions.  Informed Delivery has just completed pilot testing and is currently available in areas of California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The feature will be rolled out nationwide in mid-2017 through an intensive advertising campaign.

Example of My Mailbox page shown on laptop and mobile device.

Informed Delivery will allow consumers to sign up to receive a daily email that contains photos of what will be delivered to their mailbox that day. Users will be able to view up to 10 images of mail pieces within the email. For consumers that receive more than 10 pieces of mail daily, they can view all mail piece images on their online dashboard at informeddelivery.usps.com.

Business mailers will have the ability to display relevant digital content related to the mail piece images included in the notifications. By clicking on the image, the consumer can be taken directly to a designated website or video. Or, their click could launch a phone call from their mobile.

Zoomed Bubble showing example of scanned in mailpiece with ride along Ad content.

The Informed Delivery pilot, conducted in Northern Virginia with 6,600 users, generated the following results, which marketers will be interested in:

  • Direct mail expands to a wider audience. In most households, one member regularly retrieves, sorts and opens the mail. Informed Delivery insures that others within the household are seeing it, too.
  • 93% of the users opened their email alerts within 2 hours of receiving them.
  • 90% of the users said they would continue using the free service when it is made permanent.
  • 88% of the users stated they would recommend it to their friends and family.
  • The average response rate of Informed Delivery subscribers was 5.9%, compared to 0.5% for a control mailing.
  • 81% of those that responded did so through the click-through option.
  • Users were also twice as likely, as the control group, to type in a URL.
  • Response rates are 2-10 times higher with Informed Delivery, according to the 2016 National Postal Forum.

According to Joe Cochrane, CMO of the USPS, “What we can do is measure when recipients engage with Informed Delivery and then when they go to your site or convert. This is going to do a lot for the attribution issue.” Additionally, marketers will have analytics that indicate when mail pieces are viewed and what actions were taken. Informed Delivery should help support personalized brand experiences.

If you’d like to learn more about Informed Delivery – just ask us! Or, visit informeddelivery.usps.com.

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