Archive for January, 2013
The postcard below from Excelsior Springs Hospital arrived in a mailbox of a 50 year old living in a subdivision with mixed housing.
For the recipient, it was off message. They were not interested in comparing residential care homes quite yet being that they are only 50 years old. I live in a subdivision designed for people to progress through life from the townhomes, to single family homes to raise a family, to the patio homes to enjoy one-level living prior to advancing to a nursing home or residential care center.
So the question begs, what did Excelsior Springs Hospital use to compile a target rich list? Zip codes, type of home, age, mortgage balance, employment? If I were their marketing director, I would have specified 55 to 75 years of age living in ranch homes with a zero balance so to hone in on people most likely to be ready to move from their downsized ranch or maintenance-free patio home into an independent living center or assisted living.
Fatal Flaws Made in Senior Living Postcard
As you see, Excelsior Springs Hospital has thrown everything and the kitchen sink into this simple 5×7 postcard. It’s packed, yet pulseless. Here’s where they fell short.
- The headline is a snore. A better headline/offer would have been, “Join us for a 4-Course Lunch and 4-Course Resident Panel.”
- The photo a bore. A photo of Paul Kemp gardening or playing cards would have been more engaging. Having him looking at a book, not the camera, is too passive.
- You don’t know where to start. They have three tiers of living centers to offer. Why not chronologically take the prospect through each one with numbers (1) Independent Living (2) Residential Care (3) Convalescent Center.
- Information overload. There is way too much copy. This is a postcard, not a brochure or website. Give them the highlights and move them down the funnel to get more information.
- No continuity. The bulleted list on the left is flush left while the list on the right is centered. Some headlines have serif fonts, while some are san serif.
- There is no offer. With the competitive senior living market, why should the receiver of this postcard call the number or visit the website (which should be a landing page instead of a general URL (GURL).
- It’s features-not benefits-oriented. The front and back of the card “focuses on,” but doesn’t describe WIIFT (what’s in it for them). Better copy points out never feeling isolated or being excited to receive the calendar every month because there are so many fun things to pick to do each day.
- Meaningless elements. Everything in a good design has a reason for being there. It serves a purpose of pointing someone’s eye down the piece or to the next section. This card shows two blue starbursts that just further add to the clutter and a silky blue background that seems out of place. The two design blocks on the front of the card appear like the tablets from the 10 commandments but again I don’t understand the point.
- They called their customer a name. According to Britt Brouse, Associate Editor of Inside Direct Mail, you should never use the word “senior” when marketing to seniors. Instead focus on your services and how it meets their needs without pinpointing a life stage.
- They missed their target. The postcard was addressed to the male of the house, instead of me. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is mailing to the male head of household, or to “couples,” when half of all households with people 65 or over are headed by one person, and 80 percent of those are women.
What did I miss? Did you catch something I didn’t see? Please put your comments and insights in the comments box below.
We pitted three corporate giants against one another this week. Between Microsoft, Dassault Systemes and Boehringer Ingelheim, which company do you think did the best job with its mobile tag usage (QR Codes® vs. Microsoft Tag) and advertising composition (copy, layout, call to action)?
Boehringer Ingelheim Gets Wordy
Reading this ad makes me happy I don’t work for a pharmaceutical company. They obviously must be wordy because of disclosure requirements. I can see that it would be a challenge to be a designer for a pharma. I would hate to think my designs had to be blessed by the legal department.
The strongest copy point is how the product “reduced stroke risks by 35% or more” is buried. The QR Code leads to a lot of repeated safety information about Pradaxa® rather than the promised tools and tips for caregivers and is not web mobile optimized. The QR Code landing page seems to be designed for the “eyes” of caregivers who are hopefully in their 30s or 40s rather than seniors 50 and older. It is important to match your QR strategy to the target audience. Keep in mind that only about 14% of boomers even use QR Codes as shown in the VentureBeat graphic below.
Age Groups Using QR Codes
Microsoft Pushes Its Own Tag Technology
Microsoft does a great job of making mom or dad want to run out and buy a new PC, loaded with Office 2010 and OneNote so this lovely teen can have her shot at making valedictorian. The ad isn’t too wordy and has a great offer with a deadline for purchase.
And even though QR Code usage is somewhere around 72% vs. the 24% usage of Microsoft’s mobile tag technology, it remains steadfast on pushing its tag. So I downloaded the free reader as instructed and was quite pleased with how easy it would be to share this offer with a friend. It seems odd that Microsoft would not go for the high percentages guaranteed to give them more conversations by using a QR Code. Are they going to continue to ignore the stats below in 2013, too?
- QR Codes accounted for 61% of all codes used in the first quarter, growing to 72% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Microsoft Tags lost share, falling from 39% of all codes in Q1 to 25% in Q4. All other tags accounted for only 1% each in the last quarter.
SOURCE: Nellymoser Study as reported by Finger Food, Feb. 13, 2012
Dassault Systemes Dazzles in its Print and Digital Execution
Dassault Systemes shares a compelling story of how the billion-dollar fashion industry can tap its 3D technology to turn a design sketch into tomorrow’s hottest boutique seller.
I was thrilled that the QR Code took me to a web-optimized page that I could actually read without increasing the screen size, and it took me further down the education and purchasing pipeline and offered three exit buttons to clearly flag where I was in the sales process.
So who won this week’s face off? Dassault Systems with a score of 72 out of 80.
Here are my tabulations and scores based on a scale of 1-10 in eight categories.
|Wordiness||2 (600 words)||8 (100 words)||7 (300 words)|
|White Space Use||0||9||8|
|Call to Action||1||10||10|
|Mobile Tag Usage||1||5||9|
Omniture Business Unit at Adobe pushed the sensory envelope when it mailed prospects a pie chart made out of three types of chocolate (milk, dark, and white) to drive home a point and to give them something to chew on – literally. (Adobe enjoyed an 11.6% response rate and 289% response rate. Source: Deliver Magazine, December 2010)
How many times have you stopped to smell the scratch-n-sniff ads in women’s magazines? Research in How Magazine Advertising Works shows product sample ads raise product awareness by 42% and prospects are 56% more likely to buy the cologne based on the sensory experience.
This double digit sales lift based on smell isn’t surprising according to author Martin Lindstrom’s book “Brand Sense.” According to Lindstrom 75% of our emotions are generated by what we smell.
Can the sound of music push a recording artist into a higher bracket of record sales? Yes, according to Famecount.com, Lady Gaga holds the record with over one billion YouTube views. Gaga is the most popular living person on both Facebook and Twitter.
How Are You Igniting Prospect Senses?
Are you relying solely on pretty images to break through the gatekeepers and get your message into the hands of the C-Suite, consumers or small business owners? In today’s competitive world, it’s going to take more than a glossy stock image to crack that door.
Get the door to swing wide open by using variable data printing (VDP) to pull images and graphs into your marketing piece that speak directly to your prospects. People respond to images or people that appeal to or look like them. Like attracts like, so it makes good strategic sense to include photographs of people who look like your prospects or like your prospects want to look after using your product or service.
Thanks to emerging technology, companies can now blend smell, sound, video, tactic and distinctive touch into their direct mail campaigns, according to Good Sense: A case study by Deliver Magazine.
Taste Strips Take Samples Beyond the Supermarket
When a soft drink manufacturer wanted to learn just how popular one of its most popular sodas could be, it mailed a survey to 5,000 customers with a flavor strip of the drink. Of the 1,650 who responded, 76% told the manufacturer that they would very likely be buying the product in the next week. (Source: First Flavor, a suburban Philadelphia firm)
Getting people to try your product by sending samples or getting them to try a sample is nothing new. You’ve probably been asked to sample some cheese and crackers in the store or a small tube of toothpaste inserted in your Sunday newspaper. Product samples convert. Consider these stats:
- 81% say they would try a product after they receive a free sample.
- 61% say a product sample is the most effective way to get them to try a product.
- 65% say they would prefer to have samples mailed to their home.
- 89% say that an accompanying coupon would increase the perceived value of the mailed item.
Source: Arbitron and Edison Media Research
4 Ways to Maximize Sensory Engagement with Mail
According to Postal Service advertising expert Chris Frazier, engaging customers’ senses is the surest way to get them to stay longer and buy more. Frazier goes on to say companies miss the mark if they design direct mail campaigns that are only built around visuals. Here are the four ways to stimulate more response through sensory marketing.
Give Them a Whiff. Freshly cut grass, coffee, strawberries or chocolate are engaging and memorable when sent through scented coatings, scented papers or scratch-n-sniff labels. Car dealerships can infuse the scent of a new car into their mailings and spas can use the scent of lavender in their mailings to reinforce the relaxation they provide as a benefit.
Give Them a Taste. Flavor strips are a much more affordable way to give your prospects a sample, rather than having to send an entire food or beverage sample. “A bed and breakfast that mails a maple flavored sample will not only bring an experience into the home, but will likely gain an edge over its competition,” says Frazier.
Make the Feel Unforgettable. Not every direct mail piece should be flat and smooth. One of the reasons direct mail works is because it is tactile. Companies that use varnishes, coatings and textured paper-or include sample pieces of sweaters or denim-win.
Use Video. Not only can your multi-channel campaign drive prospects to a micro-site that includes an embedded video or URL to a video, you can include wafer-thin video on your direct mail piece, too, according to Frazier. The greater the interaction, the greater the response rate.
If you haven’t read Sabine Lenz’s Printing Impression guest post, “These Business Cards Are Crap,” read it now because she’s created quite a stir. Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com and doesn’t mince words about the cheap, flimsy stock, off center cards she collects every time she networks.
She rightfully asks where is the quality, the beauty and the usability of cards that are UV coated on both sides, so she can’t jot notes after meeting someone. Perhaps because it’s her business to sell paper, she says she’d like to see the use of extra thick paper stock, foil stamping, unusually-sized designs, and cards with an additional fold – perhaps that touts in 10-words what the company does best.
Digital Haze or Just Plain Lazy?
Has social media made us go soft by not having a nice card to present our best foot forward? Are we overly considered about our Linked In page and choosing the right Facebook cover photo?
I have certainly left meetings too many times to count where professionals didn’t have cards at all – a cardinal sin just five years ago. Sure we can bump our smart phones together and share contact info or email VCards, but the tactile experience of receiving a card, looking at the name, making a visual connection between your mind, the giver’s company and the person himself is lost. We learn and remember through touch and spending a moment experiencing the interaction.
Bad Business Cards
So let’s not overlook the business card interaction. This is your chance to dazzle them or bore them to death. For example, take a look at the six cards I quickly pulled off my desk. The three on the left side underscore Lenz’s crap rant.
There is too much information on the first card. It’s not a brochure, it’s a business card. The second “bad” card has unreadable mice type on it – stick to 8 picas or large not under 6, please. The third “bad” business card is lackluster. My guess is it was designed by the doctors and not by a professional graphic designer.
Good Business Cards
Now take a look at the cards on the right, which show great thought, design, a QR Code®, unusual sizing, thick paper stock, color washes on the back with no UV coating so you can write notes and an overall look and feel, so you leave with an impression about the business and the individual. These three good business cards even show off some creativity with their titles: Director of Awesomeness, ROI Generator, and Creator.
So put it on your calendar to review your business card this month. Does it need a re-design? Do you need to add your Facebook page, Twitter handle, a QR Code or blog address? Don’t be caught in a digital haze by ignoring what could be your best ally – your finely dressed business card.
QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.