Figuring out how well people are responding to your marketing campaigns is vital if you expect to see a positive return on investment from what you spend on advertising. Too many people create large advertising initiatives, involving different types of media, without having the infrastructure to accurately measure the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns. When you are able to track what is working and what is not working, you can route your marketing dollars towards what you have had verifiable success with in the past.
Each marketing channel has its own unique challenges which you need to be aware of and have a plan detailing how you are going to get a potential customer to visit your website, make a purchase, request more information, attend a webinar, or setup an appointment.
Direct Mail Marketing
Setting up a direct mailing campaign will get your message in front of your target audience. Generally, you will need to have a special website specifically for direct mailing recipients, or sub-page of your current website which is featured prominently on the card/letter. When someone visits that specific link, you will have your first bit of information to work with.
Every visit you get is from someone looking at what was mailed to them, then actually going to your site. While this is a good start, you still need to convert that visitor. This is where knowing the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns is crucial since putting something in their mailbox has a cost. Your visitor needs to have their own unique way of making a purchase or generating a lead, distinguishable from any of the other methods you are promoting. If this is for a website, a separate order form should be available for these visitors to use from the link advertised on the mailing material.
A successful email marketing campaign may look similar to a good direct mail marketing campaign. Getting a good “open” rate is a great metric to keep track of since an unopened email will never result in a sale. Once the customer opens it though they need to be convinced to click a link taking them to your site which identifies them as having come through an email. After they have gotten to your site and they decide they want to buy, they should still be tracked as an email user. They should also be tracked as to how they were first introduced to your organization.
Digital Campaign Marketing
Tracking visitors in a digital campaign is relatively easy since you can specify what link you want a visitor to go to once they click your ad. The important metric here is your (clicks:impressions) rate. If you are paying by the impression, you want as many clicks as you can get. If you are paying by the click, you want to make sure that your ad copy spells out extremely clearly what a visitor should expect on your site. The companies you purchase these ads from will generally keep track of these rates for you, all you need to do is get the visitor to a checkout page or lead generation form that is only easily accessible by clicking one of these ads online, as opposed to your generic checkout page.
Taking all of these metrics together will give you an accurate picture of the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns, and show you where you should be targeting more heavily in the future.
Social media is the marketing activity nonprofits say they need help with most, according to a free report from Constant Contact called the Nonprofit Pulse Report. More than 57% of the 307 respondents said they needed help with social media, followed by 36% with email marketing, and 35% with their nonprofit websites.
Not surprisingly, 88% of respondents said they found Facebook the most effective channel for their cause marketing followed dismally by 5% who preferred Twitter. For great Facebook fan page examples look at the American Red Cross with 511,000 fans and The Humane Society of the United States with 1.4 million fans.
Read Up and Invest Time into Your Multi Channel Efforts
Nonprofits who have read Heather Mansfield’s How to Guide for Using Social Media for Social Good say it’s worth the $22. Heather gives 149 tools and resources, a case study of how a nonprofit book tour earned an organization $17,000, and other lessons she’s learned during her 15 years helping nonprofits and 15,000 hours using social media.
The Nonprofit Pulse Report details that nonprofits are spending 36% of their time and 18% of their budgets on marketing. It doesn’t break out what amount of that time and money is spent on social media. However, another report, How Small Businesses and Nonprofits can Master Online Marketing, states that effective social media outreach takes at least 25 hours of staff time per week, according to company behind the report, Ditch Digital Dabbling. The survey also outlines the online marketing tactics that work best and highlights new revelations, including the fact that “Power Users” rate only five social media tools as very effective.
I think both Mansfield and Ditch Digital Dabbling’s staff would agree that Mark Hanis, the founder behind the Genocide Intervention Network, has put in the time and wisely leveraged social media.
Hanis’ Facebook campaign raised $250,000 in 2005, according to nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter. Kanter said that Hanis used Salesforce as its contact management system to track interactions and help land a very large donor. “The relationship starts online, but the “ask” happens offline, perhaps on the phone or face-to-face,” says Kanter.
How much time is your nonprofit spending on social media? If you need guidance, download the reports in this blog or contact us. The return is worth the work according to Social Media Today who says a charity can raise $100,000 or more on Facebook if they dedicate the budget and staff to the task. Imagine what lift you’d get adding variable printing to the integrated marketing mix, too.
When your product closely resembles another company’s product, the difference in which company earns the prospect’s business is often the company that can make the prospect feel enough pain to switch services to their company.
While many salespeople are trained to find pain, copywriters, account executives, and corporate marketers aren’t. This is demonstrated when you flip through a stack of direct mail or magazine of ads. You’ll notice very few direct mail pieces that move prospects to the next level of the pain funnel.
Understanding how to push the “pain” buttons of prospects in your direct mail copy and other marketing or sales materials will help you better position your offer drive towards a sale, according to sales trainer Jason Dixon of Neuberger and Company.
Words that Describe Feeling of Pain
When trying to make a prospect remember just how many headaches, annoyances, and dollars a problem is causing them, use these words in your marketing messages:
|Defeated||Imposed Upon||Put Out||Unqualified|
Headlines, Callouts, and Subheads that Bring the Pain
Flip through a newspaper, trade journal, magazine or direct mail piece and see how many companies are pushing pain well. I did and estimate that one in 35 headlines or advertisements appeal to a pain point.
These are the ones I found in a thirty-minute search. Just think how your company could improve your marketing and sales conversations or clickthroughs on your landing pages by being one of 35 companies in your niche to leverage the pain funnel.
Fear-based or pain-based advertising is one of the most effective forms available. People are either motivated by fear or desire. There is LOTS of research that points to the fact that people will move away from pain faster than they will move towards pleasure. Broadview Security uses fear-based advertising very effectively in this TV spot below.
Review your last few campaigns and if they aren’t focused on pain, you may be missing prospect engagement. Pull your team together and brainstorm about the downside of not using your product or buying an inferior product or service than yours. Describe in detail the type of pain or frustration your prospect will experience by not using your service at all. Let us know your results.
No customer wants to hear all messages via email; via direct mail; via social; via traditional media. You get the gist.
Today’s preferred channels for communication have created new consumer behaviors. And consumers prefer different channels of communication depending on personal preferences. This means to effectively communicate one-on-one with any customer you need print plus digital communications.
According to Barbara Pellow, Director of InfoTrends, 2013 is the year of print plus. And though print spending is expected to decrease 6.2% over the next two years, it still makes up 30% of the marketing spending. Meanwhile it’s no surprise mobile spending is predicted to increase 8.8% and online/web communication spending to rise 4.9% over the next two years.
Pellow says these spending shifts present an opportunity for printers and chief marketing officers (CMOs) to become trusted advisors in helping clients or companies understand how to best spend and blend their available marketing dollars.
While survey after survey confirms that most marketers are shifting funds out of their print and mail budgets to online or out of their direct mail budgets into email, you don’t see the cross-marketing or multi-channel marketing blending that’s occurring in the marketplace.
In an InfoTrends study, Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements, more than 1,000 companies and 500 employees were surveyed. In the chart below, you’ll see the strategy behind blending print and digital channels.
SOURCE: Understanding Vertical Markets; Enterprise Communications Requirements, Info Trends, 2013.
Digital + Traditional = Unified Marketing
Unified Marketing,™, coined by Dr. Augustine Fou, helps to visualize customer touchpoints across all marketing channels and across all stages of the customers’ purchase funnel to identify redundancies or gaps and thus optimize the mix of media and tactics.
Dr. Fou illustrates how marketing has evolved from push to pull (outbound to inbound marketing) in his ecosystem and touchpoints slideshare. He consults with CMOs on how to reallocate dollars across both traditional and digital channels to most efficiently impact business goals. Actually he’s made a science of doing so.
Dr. Fou’s scientific approach to identifying gaps in the sales funnel and then selecting the right tactics across all channels enables CMOs to visualize where they are overspending and then reallocate dollars rather than just arbitrarily moving marketing dollars from traditional to digital media.
“This is not just a ‘digital thing’ or a ‘traditional thing’ any more,” says Fou. “The right tactics are chosen based on insights about what bits of information customers need – their missing links – and what channels and tactics would be most effective in addressing these missing links.”
SOURCE: 2013 Really is the Year of Print Plus, What They Think, Barbara Pellow, January, 31, 2013.
During the Mad Men era of advertising in the 60s, an agency wouldn’t work on an account that didn’t have several million dollars in mass media spending power.
Then in the 90s, an agency wouldn’t work with a client that didn’t have huge budgets to build out an integrated marketing plan that included many expensive components, perhaps an annual report, image brochure, corporate video, and a website with static info that got updated once or twice a year.
Flash forward to 2013 where advertising agencies have divided into niche boutiques to deliver creative to specific industries like nonprofits, associations, environmental focused organizations, municipalities, school districts, or entrepreneurs wishing to launch a national direct mail campaign or international social media campaign.
Swings and changes in agency formation, focus, specialty and preferred client size or niche have been driven by four factors.
- No agency can serve everyone, because no agency can be an expert in all channels and all industries.
- Clients want to work with experts.
- Clients want to work with partners not slick “ad men”.
- Clients need quantifiable measurements every hour of every day, not award-winning creative.
If you’re on the agency side, how has your agency evolved? If you’re on the client side how have your needs changed and are you getting the right partnership you need to succeed in today’s collaborative environment?
SOURCE: Alexander “Al” DiGuido is an innovator in the direct response industry and in e-mail marketing methods. As of December, 2011, he is the former CEO of direct marketing company Zeta Interactive.
Here is what the future of marketing, direct mail, PR, and advertising will look like by 2015, according to Al DiGuido in Ad Age, Feb. 23, 2010.
1. Agencies Shrink and Coin Futuristic Titles
The smaller production fees of digital along with thinner margins are already driving the size of agencies down with the best and brightest not exceeding 100 employees.
New top tier job titles such as “chief choreographer” or “convergence experts” could replace creative directors and programmers, according to DiGuido.
2. Analytic Reports Replace Image Award Trophies
Soon results and ROI will be the only measures of success that matter, putting Plexiglas® trophy companies in search of new business beyond ad agencies.
Data will dominate all agency activity and analysis will drive strategy, not vice versa.
3. Technology Will Be Owned Not Leased
Further into the digital age, it will be necessary to own proprietary technology instead of partnering with third-party vendors, which dilutes margins.
4. Good Agencies Will Package Content and Make it Go Viral
Since content is king and the client must be a thought leader, the best agencies will help clients create content, market that content, then measure and even monetize it.
5. Agencies Will Form Relationships with Bloggers and Other Non Traditional Media Sources
Agencies of the future will help clients nail their target audience and omit the waste of a spot on a network or in the paper by introducing them to blogger sponsorships or guest column opportunities, according to David Siteman Garland author of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper, Non-Boring, Fluff-free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business.
Plexiglas® is a registered trademark of Altuglass International
SOURCE: 5 Predictions On the Future of Marketing, PR and Advertising from TheRisetotheTop.com.
Businesses of all sizes are posting content, but few have a content marketing plan. Why research, interview, write, edit and post, if you do not have a clear path where your blogs will take you and bring back leads, sales or deals in return?
With only half of small businesses achieving profit growth, according to the study below, doesn’t it make sense to craft a plan to turn your content into dollars in 2013?
Other key findings:
- 50% of small businesses reported profit growth in 2012.
- 44% say they are now both stronger and more determined to succeed than ever.
- 38% say the weak economy has spurred them to work more efficiently.
- 27% say they asked for outside help to solve a business problem in 2012.
SOURCE: Findings are from a survey of 500 US small business owners and managers, conducted by Hiscox in third quarter of 2012.
Content Marketing Plan Musts
Writing a content marketing plan forces everyone to clarify what they want prospects, visitors and loyal patrons to do. Here is an abbreviated list of questions to answer, pulled from 50 Smart Ways to Craft a Social Media Content Marketing Plan written by Amanda Nelson of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
- Set your goals and objectives (what do you wish to achieve and how)
- How will you measure your results and make adjustments?
- Where are your prospects, visitors, and patrons currently getting info about your niche in the area?
- What problems are your customers having when they come to you?
- What are your customers and prospects saying on Twitter and in News Groups?
- Which formats generate the best responses last year? (short post, long post, video, audio)
- What is working for your competition?
- Are you creating two-way communication and if not how can you in 2013?
- Is your content being shared?
- Is your content generating comments?
- Are other sites linking to your content? If not how can you make this happen?
- Are your keywords driving organic visits to your blog? If not, revisit and revise.
- What steps are you doing to promote your content?
- Are you posting 1-25 times a week? How can you increase quality postings?
Do you have a content marketing plan? According to Brendan Egan, CEO of Simple SEO Group, companies that blog more, make more. Egan challenged himself to posting two 575-word blogs a week consistently for five months to learn if increasing his posting schedule over a steady basis would bear fruit. It did.
Egan said his company’s website traffic, inquiries and new clients all increased as a result with no changes in any other variables.
So what’s your plan? It has to be more than increasing posts and sticking to a regular schedule. You really need to determine how your blogging content fits into your bigger marketing plan and creates value to your customers and two-way conversations.
Take 20 minutes to view Coca Cola’s content marketing plan called Coca Cola Content 2020 and you’ll realize your “plan” may need more meat to help you meet your long-term strategic goals. Coca Cola aims to make the world a better place, to live and dominate the beverage category through content marketing and story telling. How about you?
Savvy marketers who wish to remain employed measure the efforts of their email, print and multi-channel campaigns. Amateur marketers wing it or use the wrong metrics in an effort to make the right decisions.
Visit any social media or integrated marketing agency lunchroom and you’ll hear the words click-through, long-term bounce rates, subject line pull, open rate and conversions being passed around like salt.
Walk into a top 50 mailer and you’ll hear teams talking about churn, expense-to-revenue ratio, repurchase rate and lead-to-sale conversion.
The best marketers select clear, concrete goals for their campaign and then choose the metrics that tie directly to these goals and set tracking mechanisms in place.
Direct Mail Campaign Metric Rights and Wrongs
The problem with only focusing on response rate as a metric is that it doesn’t tell you much about campaign effectiveness, according to Ruth Stevens of the Lenskold Group. There are simply too many variables involved: the list, the offer, and the creative.
Stevens suggests focusing on a more useful metric, like cost per lead.
Metrics for B-to-B Direct Marketers
|Lead Generation||Direct Sales , E-commerce, Mail Order||Retention Marketing|
|Response rate||Response rate||Repurchase rate|
|Cost per lead||Cost per order||Lifetime value|
|Inquiry-to-lead conversion rate||Average order size||Churn|
|Lead-to-sales conversion rate||ROI|
|Expense-to-revenue ratio (E:R)|
SOURCE: LENSKOLD GROUP, 5 Essential B-to-B Direct Marketing Metrics by Ruth Stevens, June 8, 2011
Beware of Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics sounds good but mean little. They are slung around in client meetings like Stoli in a Mad Men scene but they are more intoxicating than business
sustaining. Vanity metrics, including
- How many names on the email list?
- How many likes on Facebook?
- How many followers on Twitter?
It doesn’t matter if you purchased an 80-million name email list for $800 if 80% of those names haven’t looked at an email in the past year or only 5% of the contacts match your Ideal Customer Profile. The metrics that might matter more across the sales pipeline, according to Hugh MacFarlane, author of The Leaky Funnel, are:
- Sales qualified leads
- First meetings
- Closed Deals
Proxy Metrics Can Help if Agreed Upon Upfront
What is a proxy metric? It is a metric used to “stand in” for a direct measure, when direct measurement is not possible. For example if a PR or marketing company places a story in the New York Times and in the Waste Management trade journal, The New York Times carries more influence and clout for the client and his product than does a trade journal because of reach, readership, credibility, etc. Therefore the agency can plug in an arbitrary number in its client reporting valuing this placement as compared to an easier to obtain trade journal placement with less customer focused impact.
In a B-to-B environment the revenue pay-off can take many months or even years. Proxy metrics come in handy to assess campaign productivity before the sales cycle has ended.
Robert Reneau of National Semiconductor assigns dollar value to each interim campaign outcome, long before the activity has resulted in a sale. When a customer downloads a piece of collateral, for example, they credit the campaign with $1,000. A product sample request? That’s $5,000. A lead entered into the sales force automation system earns $50,000. Though these numbers seem arbitrary, over time they have helped National correlate actual sales results.
Social and mobile media are fast, popular and fairly inexpensive marketing channels, but your customers say they’re not keen on receiving marketing messages via these channels, according to the latest Marketing-GAP report by UK’s fast-MAP.
According to the 2012 GAP report, fewer than 2% of people are “happy” to get marketing messages via text messaging and social media. In fact, marketers continue to “massively overestimate” the popularity of these channels.
Before you plan another Twitter, Facebook, SMS or mobile media campaign, check out these additional findings from the eighth annual survey.
- Eight out of 10 participants open direct mail. The percentage of consumers surveyed who open direct mail is 80%, a little above 2010 levels. A third (34%) state they open all direct mail, 45% only open messages from companies they use and 20% say they don’t open direct mailing.
- Marketers underestimate the number of people who open mail. This year, marketers thought 24% of households would open all mail — 10% less than what consumers reported.
- The top reasons consumers open their direct mail: it is from a known company/brand (55%), it is personalized (51%) and an interest in the product or service being promoted (44%). Marketers correctly identified the top five mail-opening criteria, but significantly underestimate the importance of a personal address while over-estimating the importance of criteria such as the package, its design, the look of the envelope and color.
- SMS messaging and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, doubled in popularity over the past year–from 1% to 2%–as a means to receive marketing messages. Regardless, these numbers remain proportionally low compared to traditional means. While approximately 3 in 10 people “are happy to receive” marketing information by mail and email, overall fewer than 1 in 50 welcome contacts via the newer digital media, such as text messaging and social media.
Join us later this week when we reveal the other half of the study, which provides you with possible reasons your direct mail campaigns may or may not be pulling the numbers you desire.
About: Conducted in August 2012. fast.Map partnered with The Institute of Promotional Marketing and The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM). The research was sponsored by the Royal Mail. The consumer panel comprised 1,140 adults recruited from the 30,000 fast.MAP wholly-owned, closed panel whose profile echoes that of the UK’s population profile in age and gender. Only people who are both mail and internet responsive were selected for the panel. The marketers panel comprised 353 marketers, drawn from the fast.MAP marketing professionals’ panel and the IPM and IDM’s membership.
Source: fast.map, 2012 fast.Map Marketing GAP report, accessed October 10, 2012.
If you are using Pinterest for business purposes, consider the ramifications. There are copyright laws that apply to all pins.
While many companies and artists ignore copyright violations, the companies or individuals that sue usually win. Copyright violations can be quite costly, running from $750 upwards to $150,000. One website owner recently paid $4,000 in damages for using a $10 stock photo without permission even though they removed the photo promptly after receiving a takedown notice. (Source: Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations, Greekgeek.com).
If you’re on the fence about using Pinterest as a promotional strategy for your business, know that the only fool-proof way to build boards is with original content and photos your company owns or has gained written approval to use.
“You represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy…”
Pinning for Profits Not Pleasure
Businesses are not protected by Pinterest’s terms. As a business you are on Pinterest to promote your business. Any businesses’ use of content or repining is considered marketing.
If you’re posting another artist’s image or content without permission, he or she deserves compensation according to copyright laws. Many politicians learned this lesson the hard way during the last presidential election when many played pop music that wasn’t licensed to them. The outcome was tens of thousands of dollars paid in penalties.
The safest way to use Pinterest is to post a steady stream of your own content, according to Brian Heidelberger law partner at Advertising, Marketing and Entertainment Law Practice of Winston & Strawn.
For this reason, many companies are leaving the pinning for personal users during off hour. CMOs are carefully considering their position regarding Pinterest and many have simply decided the liability to their brand is not worth the effort.
If I’ve rained on your promotional parade or made you rethink your current pinning strategy, consider the plight of the artists, photographers, and content creators who loose revenue when their content is used without permission and goes viral.
Blogger and photographer Amy Locurto’s friend and fellow creative found that only five in 100 copies of her heart cake photo and recipe were credited back to her.
On Pinterest, once you pin, that pin becomes the rights of Pinterest and all control is lost of crediting it back to the you yet all the liability remains on your shoulders – you first pinned it you are responsible for it.
“You acknowledge and agree that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, the entire risk arising out of your access to and use of the site, application, services and site content remains with you.”
This is why one lawyer who is also a photographer removed all her Pinterest boards. Will you do the same?