Archive for April, 2013

It’s Not Too Early to Know the Marketing Trends of 2013

eight marketing trendsDo you feel like you’re constantly playing catch up? If so it’s particularly hard to stay ahead of trends. We can relate; thus the reason we’re posting a 2013 marketing trends piece in late April.

Take a breather and read the eight trends projected by Forbes and CIO Network magazines.

8 Marketing Trends Projected for 2013

#1  Businesses will pick and choose their social media platforms. Because businesses have had time to cut their teeth on social media and social media integration, they now have the confidence to align themselves with the platforms that make the most sense for the business. No longer will businesses feel obligated to be entrenched in all social media platforms. Doing so is nearly impossible and participating in all social networks is certainly not required to be successful in your niche. Pinterest works for fashion, photography, interior design and lifestyle businesses but not as well for manufacturers, municipalities, or musicians.

#2  Marketing strategies that simplify will soar. Because the world continues to move at a fast pace; accelerated even faster by 24/7 technology, any company that simplifies our lives or experiences wins more customers.

#3  Real-time marketing will replace campaign-based marketing. While theme-based marketing has ruled because it’s easy to plan around one theme that gets launched around a company-based timeline, it’s not very consumer-centered. Now that companies have married their customer relationship management systems with their online website orders, they have the data to launch trigger-based or real-time marketing that happens because an activity has taken place and merits another action being put into play to motivate the customer to take the next step.

During this year’s Super Bowl, Oreo used “real time marketing” to capitalize on the media attention that resulted when the Superdome experienced a blackout. Oreo had aired a TV ad earlier that night with a Twitter tie in that gained some new fans. When the blackout occurred Oreo leveraged their increased Twitter following by tweeting out a relevant picture reminding them that “you can still dunk in the dark.”

oreo It’s Not Too Early to Know the Marketing Trends of 2013

SOURCE: Oreo Cookie; Power out? No Problem

This picture went viral almost immediately and at last count has been retweeted over 16,000 times.

#4  Marketing success will be measured by sales. Instead of measuring lead generation, opportunity costs, click throughs and dozens of other metrics, marketing’s worth to a company will be weighed against sales growth.

#5   Mobile marketing gets taken seriously. Because more people purchased smart phones than PCs last year, mobile marketing will truly get its fair share of the marketing spending pie. While 90% of global marketing have a mobile site, only 20% of them integrate mobile strategies into their overall marketing plan.

SOURCE:“5 Surprising Marketing Trends for 2013,” Forbes, Jan. 23, 2013.

#6  Digital marketing agencies will double. In an attempt to manage their various online and social activities, small businesses are turning to digital marketing agencies. The demand will drive more digital agencies from owner-operated to consultants to creative boutiques.

SOURCE:“Follow the Money: Digital Marketing Trends for 2013,” Rob Eleveld, CIO Network, Dec. 20, 2012.

#7  All marketing campaigns will be integrated marketing campaigns. Do you remember 20 years ago when advertising agencies started calling themselves integrated marketing agencies to show that they were all inclusive of strategies such as direct mail, merchandising, public relations as well as advertising? Today if you produce a direct mail campaign, it would be foolish not to integrate the campaign by using a trackable 800 phone number, QR Code® or landing page (aka microsite).

#8  Google will start charging to access its analytics. In 2012 Google spent lots of money improving its analytics solutions and has put itself in a position to begin charging for the data it collects and stores. You might see this as early as 2014.

SOURCE:”Follow the Money: Digital Marketing Trends for 2013,” Rob Eleveld, CIO Network, Dec. 12, 2012

Do any of these eight predictions surprise or worry you? Tell us why in the comments below. We’re proud to say that 100% of our campaigns are integrated or multi-channel campaigns and 85% are variably printed.

IKEA Takes Direct to Consumer Approach to Grow Customer Base

Ikea 250x188 IKEA Takes Direct to Consumer Approach to Grow Customer Base

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, is rolling out an “IKEA Family” loyalty program. Specifically designed to keep the steam turned up on its integrated marketing channels (email, print, and social media).

IKEA has a loyal customer base of 3.6 million people who opted into IKEAs database to receive specials, flyers and its annual print catalog, which mails to 20 million people in the U.S. alone. Leontyne Green, IKEA North America CMO, says the catalog is the most important piece of the communications they produce.

The addition of the customer relationship program, IKEA Family, is meant to fill in the gaps of communications and build loyalty systematically. IKEA already has one million people signed up for the loyalty program.

IKEA Family provides discounts on in-store food and drink, access to seminars and events, member savings, and entry into gift card drawings.

I like Ikea IKEA Takes Direct to Consumer Approach to Grow Customer Base

SOURCE:“IKEA CMO at home with integrated mix,” Direct Marketing News, May 01, 2012, by Allison Schiff.

The Canadians Launch of IKEA Family

Rather than doing the trite thing of offering a free toaster, barbeque or CD player, IKEA Canada grew its IKEA family enrollment by giving something that was relevant to the brand, according to Judy Elder, managing director of Toronto-based Ogilvy & Mather Direct.

Customers received a package containing a tape measure, IKEA magazine full of how-to tips, a catalog, large format calendar and a punch-and-munch discount card for the company’s in-store food court. Numbers aren’t in, but sign ups and shoppers coming to the membership desk at the stores has increased.

Putting Marketing Frosting on the Cake with Social Media

Green is also championing one of IKEA’s first forays into social media by launching its “Bring Your Own Friends” promotion. IKEA North America is leveraging its 430,000 Facebook fans by asking them to BYOF (bring your own friends) for a full day of freebies, discounts and storewide perks, while at the same time raising $50,000 for the Save the Children cause.

IKEA’s marketing approach of cool product packaging compliment its ultra low prices. The combination of cool products and low prices has enabled IKEA to endure the recession even though 80% of its sales are in crisis-hit Europe.
SOURCE:“What are the Secrets to IKEA’s Success?” Tom White, tutor2U, March 01, 2011.

IKEA Takeaways

IKEA’s endurance through hard times, upward growth, and phenomenal fan base as indicated by its opt-in database, shows the company’s operational and marketing strategies are working. Here’s what it is doing right.

  • Not cutting its marketing budget (neither print, nor digitally but adding programs).
  • Building a multi-channel campaign around its print anchor – its annual catalog.
  • Diving into social media by specifically leveraging fans to bring more fans and reward them for doing so.
  • Listening intently to its customers for new opportunities.

Not caving to pressure to go public, IKEA maintained low prices by sticking to their private roots. Less red tape leaves more time for IKEA workers to go through rolls of packing tape, shipping even more furniture across the Continents.

 

How Small Companies Doing Large Marketing Get Huge Results

big vs little 250x268 How Small Companies Doing Large Marketing Get Huge Results

Other than identifying a known brand name and automatically knowing the size of the company, have you ever thumbed through a publication or web portal, become impressed by a company’s logo or tagline, only to learn that this company wasn’t nearly as large as you thought? It happens to me all the time.

I see polished ads or brands in business publications or at blogger sites. I then check out their web traffic at Compete, or look up their staff page on their website to see how large they are. I then acknowledge that they’re pulling off such a fabulous branding being the small fish in a big pond.

Moresource Plays Full Out with Ad Campaign

There is something very classy, catchy and memorable about an ad series done well. Moresource, a Columbia, Mo. based human resource company, gets my kudos for executing a successful ad series in the Kansas City Chamber business magazine, KC Business.

I liked that the owner of this three-person firm, Kat Cunningham featured herself with a client in each ad, used a QR Code®, included both a mention of Facebook and Twitter on her ad. She also stepped up by running a full-page ad, and obviously paid for a professionally designed ad and logo.

How Your Small Business Can Look Bigger than You Are

While it’s not always easy to win customers from larger competitors, technology has leveled the playing field and made it possible.

#1  Re-target your online ads vs. overspending for paid search.

Re-targeting lets you focus your ads exclusively on people who have already engaged with you online. You can re-target ads to people who have opened an email, searched for keywords or been on your site and left without buying anything. Site re-targeting is effective because these people are already interested in your products or services.

#2  Don’t cut corners on image or execution.

The quickest way to look small and amateurish is to put something into the marketplace that is poorly designed, poorly worded or filled with grammatical errors. If you’re going to send a postcard, make it the best designed card, on the best paper with the best call to action imaginable. If you’re going to run an ad campaign, make sure you develop the best creative, best frequency needed for results, and test all the back-end components such as the landing page URL, QR Code (that it scans and bridges your prospect to a site that further engages them), and best greeting upon their action.  Does someone answer the phone before the third ring?  Who is in the loop of the campaign and can answer questions intelligently?  Does the eReport download without glitches once the prospect hands over the required lead info?

#3  Don’t build it, buy it.

You can launch a professional looking website quickly and without the absorbent costs of hiring programmers. Services such as Weebly or Yola have helped many businesses launch for a few dollars a month.  Their drag, drop, type and upload technology further levels the playing field for all businesses and budgets.

Need an e-commerce store? Use Shopify.com or SquareSpace. Need to accept payments? Paypal is the answer. Want to provide live customer service online? Consider BoldChat. Chances are what you need already exists and can be accessed through open source, monthly lease, or shared software.

SOURCE:“Look Like a Big Company Without Spending Big Money,” by Scott Gerber, Nov. 30, 2011, Small Business Advocate.

#4  Don’t cut corners on your print collateral.

Find a graphic designer and print partner who produced the image materials of companies you admire and work with them to build your brand. Even in a digital world, you still need business cards, letterhead, pocket folders and mailing labels. Don’t short-change your business by trying to penny pinch you’re way through your collateral. If you and your three biggest competitors had materials sitting on the table in front of the customer of your dreams, who would they pick and why based on image alone?

QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

 

Are You Part of the 73%?

percent1 Are You Part of the 73%?

Source: DMNews.com

Mail is still first class in the eyes of 73% of consumers in America who still prefer to receive direct mail for brand communications. So despite all the press and pixels that social and email marketing get, direct mail is still tops in the eyes of consumers.

Despite the exposure of digital channels, direct mail is expected to grow 1.4% annually for the next five years to $13.8 billion.

Personalization Makes Direct Mail Even Hotter

Companies that gather data on customers who segment the information into relevant marketing communications delivered via variable data printing win big with double-digit responses.

If you are a marketing leader who invests in direct mail as a channel, do you consistently ensure what you send out is variably printed and designed? Consumers expect communications to be relevant across all channels, including direct mail.

Discover credit card company targets its list based on different customer attributes and then tags each piece with a personalized invitation number. “Direct mail is a great way for us to target consumers,” says Laks Vasudevan, Discover director of acquisition. “It’s our most targeted platform.”

Pull the Trigger

DSW sends personalized birthday postcards with offers to its 20 million plus rewards members. Who wouldn’t want $10 off a new pair of shoes as a gift to self?

And there’s something special about getting a real card with physical value versus a mass email with fashion tips, according to Kelly Cook, DSW’s Senior Vice President of Marketing.

When the company tested sending birthday coupons via email, it didn’t perform nearly as well as direct mail.

Give Your Customer What They Want When They Want It

Long gone are the days of sending one universal offer to everybody. For instance, I recently received a special offer for a college loan for my children from my bank. Yet, I don’t have children.  I know the marketing team at my bank and I know they have access to some very sophisticated database tools to monitor my account activity and have done a lot of data mining, they failed to connect with me as a valued customer.

Give your customers the perks they want when they want and don’t delay. With today’s 24/7 marketing automation systems, there’s no excuse.

SOURCE:Direct Mail Advertising in the U.S., October 2012, research report by IBISWorld.

SOURCE:“Direct Mail, Evolved,” by Dianna Dilworth of Direct Marketing News, March 01, 2013.

 

Plans to Cease Saturday Mail Delivery Comes to a Halt (for now)

Post officeIf you or your company loves Saturday postal delivery, rest easy. Saturday deliveries will continue based on a decision made April 9 by the Board of Governors of the United Postal Service.

By using restrictive language in its resolution, the Board of Governors in essence have prohibited a new national delivery schedule that would have ceased Saturday mail deliveries (excluding packages) starting August 5, 2013 (even though 75% of the American public was for the change).

 

A Temporary Vs. Permanent Reprieve

While this decision temporarily puts the brakes on postal delivery changes, reducing delivery days is still part of the larger five-year business plan to restore the Postal Service to long-term financial stability. The Board still supports the shift to a new, reduced postal delivery schedule to save approximately $2 billion in annual cost.

Delaying changes to the current Postal Service business model only increases the potential that the Postal Service could become a taxpayer burden in the future. (Currently, the Government only subsidizes discounts given to non-profits, mailing privileges for Congress, and other revenue foregone.) Therefore, the Board has directed management to reopen negotiations with postal unions and consultations with management associations to lower total workforce costs.

In addition, the Board urges Congress to quickly pass a comprehensive postal legislation allowing the Postal Service to establish an appropriate, financially sustainable national delivery schedule.

The next meeting for the Postal Board of Governors is set for May 10. What’s your prediction to how this might play out? Will it affect your direct mail efforts?

7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

Regardless of how you feel about QR Codes® you have to admit when you get handed a business card similar to one of the 10 examples below, you think one or all of the things below:

  • This person is on top of technology.
  • This person is harnessing all the tools to start conversations and get me to reach out to them.
  • This person is part of a forward-thinking company.
  • This person knows his or her stuff.
  • This person is successful.
  • This person is a graphic design genius.
  • This person is cool.
  • This person is going somewhere.
  • I want to know more about this person.

If you’re almost out of business cards, or better yet you just got a new title and a promotion, consider printing a QR Code on your new cards. Business cards are not dead, according to American Express Small Business. They are still as necessary as a driver’s license.

Hip to Be Square

A scan of the back of Michael Silber business card takes you to his portfolio.

R Code 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

Source: Reblis.com

Squeaky Clean

The beauty of QR Codes is you don’t have to print everything about your business. Print the vital information and consider moving the ancillary digits like fax numbers and multiple Twitter handles to a mobile code…

code box 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

Source: http://www.koodoz.com.au/klog/graphic-design-print-advertising/the-evolution-of-the-koodoz-design-business-card

Picture This

Max Infield is a man of few words but has a story to tell nevertheless. He incorporates his QR Code into the design itself.

monster code 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

Max Infeld’s design from Flickr

Black and Tan Theme

In the home and fashion design world, black and tan is as classic as a half pint of Guinness topped with a half pint of pale ale.

m code 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

Source:  Mailtrade card from CoolestBusinessCard

Wrap It Up

Want to give your card reverence and value? Consider printing a slide sleeve holder that showcases your QR Code.

L code 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

SOURCE:  Linchpin from CoolestBusinessCard.

Listen Up

Musicians, podcasters, or politicians with something to say can use QR Codes on their business cards to link to audio.

hot code1 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

SOURCE:  http://www.708media.com/qrcode/21-great-examples-of-qr-code-business-cards/

Card on a Cloth

Comando Patches innovatively placed its contact information solely in a QR Code it hands out on a business sized embroidery patch. Does your business lend itself to printing on a different medium other than paper? Wood, plastic, chip board, tile?

cloth code 7 Memorable Applications of QR Codes on Business Cards

SOURCE:  708media.com

A special thanks to blogger Oz Mendoza of strangenchanted.com for bringing most of these cards to my attention.

What’s on your card? What does your card say about you? Tell us in the comments below.

QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 Feet

plane Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 FeetAir New Zealand started in the ‘70s but is not stuck in the ‘70s. It knows batch and blast emails are a thing of the past. Instead of sending generic emails about promotions, it sends automated, personalized emails prior to, and upon return, of each of their customer’s flights.

Air New Zealand transformed its entire business in 2004 when if firmly placed the customer at the front of all its processes. The airline started from the outside and worked its way in by first purchasing new carriers, then lower fares, simplifying booking processes, and then shifting to internet sales and loyalty programs.

Sending Customer Emails of Value

Keeping with the theme of putting its customers in front of all processes, Air New Zealand built a powerful pre-flight reminder campaign. The email contained dynamic content that generated three popular messages that made it both pertinent and engaging. First the email included a personal greeting from and photograph of the actual Air New Zealand flight attendant who would be on the traveler’s specific flight. Many travelers would print out the email and show it to their attendant when boarding the plane.

Secondly, the email recapped the customer’s itinerary and lastly it offered a five-day weather forecast, which helped their customers plan and pack accordingly.

The pre-flight emails had an average open rate of 69 percent and an average click rate of 38 percent. The post-arrival emails had an average unique open rate of 62 percent and an average click rate of 40 percent, according to this Silverpop case study.

Engaging Customers with Humorous Video

Air New Zealand also gained customers, laughs, and massive viral exposure on the web with their series of in-flight instructional videos such as this one featuring Richard Simmons or this one using animation.

The animated video brings the safety pamphlet to life using animated versions of Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey from Two and Half Men. Making the commitment to regularly change their videos and include new stars and cameos keeps travelers tuned in to the safety message rather than sleeping through it.

The airline won awards for its innovative, quirky, and sometimes risqué videos.

Dynamic ROI through Dynamic Content

I can’t rave about Air New Zealand’s dynamic publishing push in its marketing because I don’t believe it or any domestic airline currently employs variable data printing. However, the possibilities for VDP in airline marketing is ripe.

Airlines could print custom booklets or magazines for all its platinum level members and populate them with articles on their favorite vacation destinations, favorite sports, favorite wines and the like. Imagine the loyalty that could be built by stroking the egos of men and women who fly 200,000 miles a year by handing them a magazine filled with the their name and family member’s names in print as well as content on everything of interest just to them.

How is your company dynamically generating your email and print content? Are you making your content personality rich or is it the equivalent to a fast-food restaurant’s hand washing training video?

 

8 Ways You Can Start Mining For Data

buried1 250x296 8 Ways You Can Start Mining For DataHave you ever felt discouraged by data? Well never again! Today’s marketing is all about reaching your target market in an effective way. Whether that is by email, direct mail or social media, you need to target your communication and personalize it to the individual through data. However, collecting and analyzing data can be so overwhelming that soon you could be buried by it. So the big question is how do you begin collecting adequate data to reach your target market?

While you may aspire to have the marketing sophistication of P&G or an Amazon.com, there are steps you can take to get started right now. Jeff Hayes, President of Info Trends, shares 8 points.

 

1. Make an inventory of your customer touch points.

Look beyond your customers’ age and gender. Dig deeper to find what really makes your customers tick. Collect data on how often your customers shop, what their average purchase is per visit and how long your customers spend in your establishment.

2. Figure out what data you have, what data you need and how best to collect it.

All fantastic marketing campaigns start with a game plan. Establish what data is already being collected by your P.O.S. or other systems, and then analyze it. Once you know what you are collecting, it is time to establish what you would like to know about your customers and then devise a solution to collect that data.

3. Collect and compile your data for on-going analysis.

The more data a company can gather and know about their customers, the better! In the beginning, make sure you data is compiling accurately to your analysis system. You do not want to waste time or data by not being able to format it correctly.

4. Analyze your data and develop a market segmentation scheme.

“Developing a new market segmentation scheme requires a structured process that yields actionable results. A new market segment must respond differently to variations in the product, marketing, and distribution mix compared with other customers in the market.”

5. Test various messages and promotional offers, and measure the impact.

Survey or interview your customers. A company cannot reach their customers if they do not understand their needs or desires. Send out different types of flyers and discounts to measure the response rate to each promotion.

6. Continue to refine your data collection, analysis and messaging.

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Hardly any project runs according to plan. Take the time to smooth out the bumps and get rid of the dead weight.

7. Get senior management involved – there will be cost and may be some internal “turf” issues that need to be resolved, plus you want their buy-in when the data challenges traditional assumptions.

The last thing you will want to do when working on a new campaign or project is to step on anyone’s toes. Talk through your plans and processes to make sure everyone is on the same page. This way the chances of a dispute are held to a minimum.

8. Consider working with an agency or consulting firm, especially to help you get started.

You don’t know everything and that’s okay. It is alright to reach out and ask for help. Smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from other people’s mistakes.

 

SOURCE: Market Segmentation, Info Trends, 2013

SOURCE: Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, 2005