Archive for April, 2013
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.
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.
If 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?
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.
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…
Max Infield is a man of few words but has a story to tell nevertheless. He incorporates his QR Code into the design itself.
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.
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.
SOURCE: Linchpin from CoolestBusinessCard.
Musicians, podcasters, or politicians with something to say can use QR Codes on their business cards to link to audio.
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?
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.
Air 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?
Have 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