Archive for June, 2013

QR Code and Emerging Media Heighten Engagement and Can Lower Your Postage Costs

150857324 250x250 QR Code and Emerging Media Heighten Engagement and Can Lower Your Postage CostsDon’t complain about the rising costs of postage if your company didn’t register for last year’s USPS business discount by using QR Codes® (deadline was August 12, 2012).  This is the third year in a row the U.S. Postal Service is offering discounts to encourage businesses to use new technology such as QR Codes to improve their mailing results.

This year the USPS is upping the ante by including a scan-to-call component to its QR Code promo. This means when a prospect scans the QR Code with their smartphone that they will be connected by phone to the business that did the mailing. And that business will get a 2% postage discount, which could mean hundreds of dollars in savings per mailing.

For example, a business that normally would have paid $14,750 for mailing 25,000 bounce-back coupons with QR Codes that cost .59 each would only pay $14,250 for postage with the 2% postal service discount.

That 2% would equate to $500 in postage savings. This is more than enough to pay for a celebration dinner for a marketing department when the mailing brings in $652,000 in sales by generating 1,000 purchases (4% of mailing) of a $652 product.

Register for Emerging Technology Discount

September 30 is the deadline to register your business to receive a 2% discount on mailings you send using one of three emerging technologies shown below:

Augmented Reality Component: Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data.

Authentication Component: Authentication describes the process of verifying a unique customer using a combination of authentication factors (at least two).

Near Field Communication (NFC): Near Field Communication creates a two-way communication link between two devices with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) capabilities.

Here are the guidelines to receive the postal service emerging technology discount or you can email mobilebarcode@usps.gov.

 

Want a Deeper Understanding of Postal Changes and Discounts?

Pitney Bowes has produced a series of great webinars and slideshows that summarize the myriad of changes and rewards the postal service has to soften the pain of change.

I recommend starting by reading Pitney Bowes overview slideshow: Understanding the USPS: The Rewards for Change.

I hope by embracing the new technology and the discounts available to your business for doing so. If so you’ll be even more prosperous in 2013.

* QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

 

 

How to Lease a Mailing List that is Solid Gold

check 250x214 How to Lease a Mailing List that is Solid GoldThe direct mail list is the most important component of any direct mail campaign. Some studies indicate that it determines 60% of your mailing’s success rate. Before your nonprofit even starts on the creative aspects of the campaign, start with the nuts and bolts of securing the best list to bring you more donors.

If you’re supplementing your existing donor database by also buying an outside list, know that there are two types of lists (1) compiled lists and (2) response lists.

A compiled list is a database of names and records that have been compiled through public records such as vehicle owner registrations or mortgage loan applications. These lists can get dated quickly so it’s important to ask the list broker about collection dates and updates. Also be sure to always purchase a small test list. It’s the best way to be judicious with your organization’s dollars.

Response lists are compiled based on data from people who have responded to some other offer such as an advertisement, purchased from a catalog or entered their name and information in a drawing. If leasing a response list ask how recent these records were compiled. Frequency and the dollar spend are key factors in the solidness of the list you are negotiating to lease.

Test the List First

It’s wise to ask for a small list to start with – 1,000 to 20,000 names depending on the size of your mailings. Some list compilers have a minimum order of 5,000 records. You may want to shop around for a list partner with more flexibility or ask them to comp the test group of names in order to win your future business.

Make sure to build in enough time in your campaign to test the waters. Fine-tuning the list could save you thousands of dollars in postage and increase your donor acquisition twofold.

The Standard Fair of List Compilers

List compilers usually lease their list for a single use unless you negotiate otherwise. Prices range from $65 to several hundred dollars per thousand records and are available in a variety of formats. Depending on how many variables you add to your list request, the price goes up. Niche market lists can sell for upwards of $1000 per thousand records.

You should ask about spoilage or what part might come back undeliverable. A guaranteed delivery rate of 93% may sound good. In reality, 10% and sometimes up to 20% of your mailing may go to the wrong person and still never returned. Look for deliverability guarantees of 95%, 98% or even 99% because they are out there, according to direct marketing experts and blogger Jeffrey Dobkin of the Danielle Adams Publishing Company.

Other Sources of Mailing Lists

Trade and Membership Associations are excellent sources of mailing lists. There are nearly 8,000 trade associations listed in the National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States. Association lists are also available through the Encyclopedia of Associations by The Gale Group and online through Lexis-Nexis.

SOURCE:“Places to Buy Mailing Lists,” by Jeffrey Dobkins, The Danielle Adams Publishing Company,

Don’t neglect to inquire with your local Chamber of Commerce if you’re searching for good, local business names. You can select by business size, number of employees and government industry classification code (often referred to as the SIC).

You can find even more sources by searching the Internet. Just make sure to ask relevancy, accuracy, and integrity questions about how the list was compiled and insist on a small list to test first.

Remember the best list is a house list, your organization has compiled slowly and meticulously by gaining permission to add donors to your list, but it never hurts to augment your list from the sources mentioned above.

 

 

Business Card Designs that Work

business cardI have seen thousands of business cards in the last 25 years.  Between you and me, most of them don’t leave an impression.  For most people, they are an after thought; especially in the age of V-cards and contact transfer by “phone bumping”.  I was recently handed a business card that made me stop and take notice.  You can imagine my joy when I realized it was a card that had been produced at Mail Print. Let me tell you more…

Keep in mind that business cards allow you to make an instant impression about your business without saying a word. During the 17th Century business cards were used to announce the impending arrival of prosperous and aristocratic people. Today they can be a powerful marketing piece to get in the front door with prospects.

When retail and restaurant design and engineering firm Larson Binkley moved to a new location, it redesigned its business cards. CEO and President Chris Larson charged his graphic designer to create a card that reflected that his employees were experienced engineers. Larson describes his employees as experience engineers because they focus on the experience a person has in a space they design related to the heating, cooling, lighting, power and plumbing systems.

“We needed something about the cards that is experiential. They had to be easy on the eye and have a nice tactile feel. We also wanted our cards to show creativity and to reflect our understanding of what a business card should be today,” explains Larson.

Larson said his company’s previous business cards were colorful but lacked space to scribble a note or two. He says the text size and type on the old cards weren’t friendly and contained too much information. The back of the card was a black background with white letters (dark, gloomy) and was essentially wasted space.

“It didn’t speak to our core values of sustainability, creativity and purpose,” said Larson.

Using 4 Graphic Elements to Achieve Corporate Image Goals

Larson Binkley’s graphic designer Adam Walker with Sandweiss Koster addressed all the issues that existed with Larson Binkley’s old cards and what they wanted in their new cards.

Walker created a highly-complex print project after much research learning who Larson Binkley was and what they offered. The final result is a double-sided card that showcases sophistication and elegance on the front side and innovation and energy on the back of the card. Here’s how Walker used white space, typography, color and AV coating to build a class image for Larson Binkley.

triangle Business Card Designs that Work

White Space Usage

Walker used ample whitespace on the front of the card electing to not include a mailing address or general office number (direct line only). He showcased the company logo using silver foil and embossing. His use of whitespace would be applauded by other designers that understand the power of leveraging white space.

“Another element to consider is more whitespace is generally associated with sophistication while less whitespace is often associated with cheap design. This helps explain why so many business cards take the simplistic approach and include the basic text, a lot of whitespace, and maybe a few engaging graphical or design elements.”

Typography Selection

Walker chose Trade Gothic font for the front and back of Larson Binkley’s cards. The cards were printed digitally (while there was on option to use variable print to print the names an titles, the file was not set up that way) with six spot colors and a soft-touch aqueous coating on top of the cotton paper to give recipients a stop and take notice smooth feel.

“They all have a completely different vibe, right? One trick for picking a font is to type out certain characteristics you think the font might possess in that specific font. Is it fun, energetic, tense, etc.?

“Seeing the words in the font they potentially correspond with will help you determine if it’s a good match. Also, consider if you can identify the opposite mood of the font. If you can’t, that probably means it’s not very clear and you can pick a better option.”

Impact of Color

While it’s possible to color wash the entire business card or print a lighter ink on a dark colored stock, Walker decided to use color as an accent instead of a show stealer. He used Pantone 2196 out of the newly released Pantone Plus Series — never before released Pantone colors to celebrate the company’s 50-year anniversary.

Larson Binkley’s logo was presented in a foil embossed rather than a bright color, which Larson said he liked because to him it reinforces a grey-ghostlike imagery and that ties to the company working invisibly in the background to build out a business’s space.

Print Coatings Can Provide the Finish Touch

If you’re redoing your business cards, don’t neglect to explore the value a special coating can add to the impression your card makes. While aqueous coatings were originally designed to prevent darker cards from showing fingerprints, new coatings are now available on the market. Larson Binkley elected to have a soft touch aqueous coating applied to their business cards. The coating provides a velvety smooth feel to the card that Walker and Larson believe reinforces how smooth it is to do business with them.

With the addition of extra colors, a foiled embossed logo and an extra finishing touch, Larson’s business cards were not inexpensive. Larson is a firm believer that a company shouldn’t compromise where it matters and that business cards and collateral materials should reflect who you are. “Our new cards reflect quality, value, sustainability and creativity,” says Larson.

More Business Card Ideas

Check out these creative business cards that use the design of the card to emphasize the service being delivered.  Poole & Hunter’s card shows they are in the tailoring business with the clever bow tie die cut. Divorce attorney James Mahon printed his card with a perforation down the center showing he helps husbands and wives split up – even implying to give the husband one half of the card and the wife the other.

Tok & Stok, an office furniture company, produced business cards that convert into a chair that can sit on the client’s desk with their name and contact information.

Here are a few more well-designed business cards that do the heavy lifting in the introduction of your company.

What do your business cards say about your company? Ask a colleague at your next business luncheon. You might be surprised to learn what they say.

SOURCE:The Psychology of a Well Designed Business Card (and How to Use it to Your Advantage), Life Hacker.

 

Does Your Data Support That?

mobile interface1 250x166 Does Your Data Support That?

Trends Marketing Needs to Stay on top of Due to Data

The whole “big data” phenomenon may be overstated in the business and tech media at this point, but for good reason: Companies are proving time and time again that a data-driven approach leads to smarter business decisions and often creates a competitive edge.

As a result, more businesses — even small and medium-sized businesses — are turning to solutions that help them harness the power of big data to do everything, from more accurately tracking inventory to listening and engaging in relevant online social conversations. As the data universe continues to grow exponentially, tools are rapidly being developed and deployed

More Data Regulations are Imminent

While the marketing and advertising industries successfully deflected major regulations in 2012 through intense lobbying efforts, new regulations in 2013 are highly likely to be passed due to the sheer number of bills and other initiatives currently in the works, along with the need for laws to catch up with the fast pace of innovation in this area:

  • Following the release in March 2012 of a two-year investigation on consumer privacy in the digital age, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission endorsed legislative action around data privacy, including the creation of “do-not-track” mechanisms in web browsers that help consumers opt-out of online behavioral tracking and targeting. Efforts by the industry to self-regulate DNT were stalled at the end of 2012; the consequence may lead to legislative action on the issue.
  • Retiring Democratic Senator from West Virginia, John D. Rockefeller IV, launched an inquiry into information brokers like Acxiom, Epsilon and Rapleaf last October to better understand their practices and determine if they handle consumers’ personal data appropriately.
  • Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) recently released a draft bill called “The Application Privacy, Protection, and Security Act of 2013,” or the APPS Act, targeted at creating guidelines for data collection, retention and sharing practices of mobile app developers. With other initiatives at various stages in the works, expect more attempts — and some successes — to introduce new marketing and advertising regulations in 2013.

Don’t Put Your Phone Down

The sheer size of the mobile audience, along with the diverse capabilities and immediacy that modern mobile technology can deliver, has prompted organizations to go back to the drawing board with their website and application designs to account for the unique features of mobile devices. Smaller screen sizes, touch interfaces, push notifications, location services … they are all pushing practitioners and technology firms to rethink their approach to design to help them reach their audience in a clear way.

It should be noted that the “large screen” desktop interfaces are not going away anytime soon, especially in the workplace, meaning that design ultimately needs to be multi-modal. Some companies are approaching this issue by building responsive layouts that automatically adapt depending on the browser or screen size. Others are taking a more piecemeal approach by designing for a particular channel or, in the case of mobile apps, designing for a particular device or operating system. Are you designing your multi-channel campaigns with mobile in mind?

Interestingly, some of the design elements born out of the necessity to create usable interfaces on smaller screens are now becoming common in designs for larger screens. The interface of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS is probably the starkest example of this phenomenon, but there are plenty of others. Forms are becoming less dense and easier to use due to the lack of space of many inputs and large drop-down menus, and icons are being designed and implemented in more meaningful ways to reduce interface clutter. In other words, mobile is driving more simplicity in interface design, which is a step in the right direction for creating more user-friendly digital experiences.

The Road Map for InfoTrends’ Digital Marketing & Media Trends (DMM) Consulting Service helps companies understand how to harness the power of interconnected media effectively to meet their business objectives. To read the full DMM report, visit www.infotrends.com.

10 Ways to Get Your Direct Mail Read by the Millennials

Y1 10 Ways to Get Your Direct Mail Read by the Millennials

SOURCE: Jason Ryan Dorsey; Y-Size Your Business

Look around the next time you’re in a coffee shop, airport, bookstore or public area and you’ll see Millennials (often called Gen Ys) pecking away on their smart phones or iPads like there wasn’t another human being around for miles.

However, just because Generation Ys are completely absorbed in technology that doesn’t mean the only way to reach them is through social media or integrated email campaigns.

Lamont Swittenberg, managing director at Luminosity Marketing, says, “Sending something by direct mail is a way of breaking through the clutter because they receive so much communication that comes digitally, and you still can’t replace the personal touch from direct mail.”

To engage Gen Ys most effectively, marketers should recognize that Gen Ys read printed materials with a different “lens” than baby boomers.

Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of “Y-Size Your Business,” explains that Gen Ys (born between 1977 and 1995) prefer pictures and directions to an online video rather than long blocks of text or explanation or background info.

10 Ways to Engage Gen Ys with Print:

  1. Personalize it. Use variable data printing to ensure you’re speaking to Gen Ys personally.
  2. Keep it visual (infographics are received well among Gen Ys).
  3. Treat them like a VIP.
  4. Make them feel deserving.
  5. Connect them to a cause or part of a community for the greater good
  6. Believe in them.
  7. Add a QR Code® or drive them to your social media sites.
  8. Make it interactive.
  9. Create a daring but relevant appeal. Read Gen Y targeted whitepaper, No Guts, No Glory, for bold ideas from Joeri Van den Bergh, Gen Y expert.

Chances are your office is at least half filled with Gen Ys. So run the copy by an associate before finalizing your multi-channel campaign. Believe me, they will tell you exactly how they feel about your message and if it resonates with them or not.

QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

Are You Using Digital Disruption to Move Your Business Forward?

Disruption 250x219 Are You Using Digital Disruption to Move Your Business Forward?In his new book Digital Disruption, James McQuivey, a Forrester principal analyst, explains that technological advances are creating opportunities for more people to meet more customer needs than ever before at lower costs– and that is the essence of digital disruption.

While some businesses have been digitally disrupted, the ones listed below have been completely transformed by the digital age of media that has evolved over the past 20 years.

  • The music business (YouTube, iTunes)
  • Banking and insurance (online banking, photo deposits, digital signatures)
  • Photography (film is nearly extinct)
  • Retailing (bricks and mortar are now optional)
  • Travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak)
  • Newspaper and magazine publishing (online subscriptions)
  • Telecoms (home phones are going extinct, VOIP)

According to McQuivey, digital disruption is about to completely change how companies do business. Digital tools and digital platforms are driving the cost of innovation down to nearly zero, causing at least 10 times as many innovators to rush into your market while operating at one-tenth the cost that you do.

This is one reason companies are hiring or stealing the brightest digital innovators in the marketplace like Jeff Hammerbacher, data entrepreneur, who was one of Facebook’s first employees and who is now the co-founder of Cloudera (a Silicon Valley software start-up).

IT, app and software geniuses are in demand today because of the need for companies to protect themselves against digital disruption. Companies needed the brightest and future-forward thinkers on board to retool their businesses to stay ahead of the just-in-time needs of their customers.

 

3 Ways Your Company Can Stay Ahead of Digital Disruption

Ever-advancing technology forces any company from a lube shop to an international airline to leverage technology to speak one-on-one with its customers and deliver competitive costs, convenient services and products that exceed their expectations.

Personalize Your Interactions. Using well-oiled and captured data enables you as a savvy marketer to send customer communications that are relevant and personalized. Whether you use highly personalized email or variable data print pieces your marketing can be extremely targeted. Consumers welcome personalized offers. They love that you know their likes and market accordingly. Are you using data-driven marketing to optimize your appeal to individual customers?

The Need for Speed. Real-time interactions separate the amateur from the pros in marketing and product delivery. Just look at Oreo’s response to the Super Bowl blackout as lesson #1.

Integrate and Automate. If you haven’t already integrated your marketing channels and platforms, you’re already at risk of digital disruption. Get all your customer contact points talking to one another seamlessly and then tap the power of marketing automation to extend your reach and shorten the time to market. Using sales force automation tools and your CRM (customer relationship management) system you can marketing in a trigger based fashion for maximum customer engagement.

If this post frightens you, perhaps it should. Talk to any CEO or CMO and ask them about their top concerns with the business and chances are disruption and marketing effectiveness will be in the top five. The good news is there are industry experts and talent on hand to help you transform and deliver. Unfortunately this is an endless process.

 

8 Ways to Improvise Your Way to Success

meeting 250x166 8 Ways to Improvise Your Way to Success

Guest post by Michael J. Pallerino, taken from the April/May issue of our bi-monthly magazine, Connect.

So, how do the worlds of improvisation and business compare? Tom Yorton, CEO of Second City Communications (SCC), shows you eight improvisation techniques that can help your business.

No. 1: Seek Those “Yes, and …’ Moments

Improvisation is about affirmation, creation and mutual support. Its training is built on the concept of what it calls “yes, and” moments. That’s when other members of the group put an idea or proposition forward, the group affirms the proposition, and then additional information is added. This allows the team to reach its full potential before objections derail an idea.

No. 2: Follow Your Fears

Fear usually is an indication that something important is at stake.

People feel fear because they care about an outcome. In improv, actors are taught to “lean into” conflict, not walk away from it. This practice likely reveals something new.

No. 3: Plan Less and Discover More

The less you plan, the more you’ll discover; the more you plan, the less you’ll discover. Every organization wants to be known as innovative and creative. Yet,

most conditions that allow for innovation and creativity seldom are present. Standard routines and processes govern most daily work experiences. In improvisation, the absence of a plan allows room for discovery.

No. 4: Start in the Middle

Improv actors know that a linear, orderly progression makes for a boring scene. In business, people take great pains to lay things out in logical progressions. There is comfort in following the flow. But when there’s a crisis or need to innovate, success sometimes comes from taking leaps and making creative connections in the absence of perfect information and thoughtful preparation.

No. 5: ‘Bring a Brick, Not a Cathedral’

Employees don’t like to feel small and insignificant. This causes them to hold back ideas and feedback. In improvisation, seemingly small contributions are important to the whole. If each ensemble member brings something, the collective energy is greater than one person carrying the load. When your contribution matters, you’re obligated to bring something to the game.

No. 6: If One Idea Doesn’t Work, Try Another

In improvisation people move quickly. There’s little time to analyze or assess only time to listen and react. Consequently, ideas and inspiration come and go fluidly. Improv actors know that right and wrong usually is a false dichotomy; there are only possibilities and choices. Performers are rewarded by their willingness to support the ensemble and adapt on the fly to new ideas.

No. 7: Try Not to Top Someone …

…at least until you’ve equaled him. Because business usually is a competitive endeavor, people always are trying to one-up each other. This comes out of a fear of looking bad and falling behind in an internal competition. Someone else’s gain means your loss, which creates a stifling environment. In improvisation, the best way to “get fed” is to do some feeding of your own.

No. 8: Make Accidents Work

The world has a tendency to throw curveballs. The key is how you respond to it. In improvisation, the axiom “make accidents work” describes much of its existence. Unlike in variable data printing where every outcome is tightly planned, there is no such thing as a preordained outcome in improvisation. It’s about living in the moment. Learn to embrace the possibilities that “accidents” offer.

 

 

Why Marketing Artists and Marketing Scientists Need One Another

v. man 250x250 Why Marketing Artists and Marketing Scientists Need One Another

Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action guest posted a terrific blog at Copyblogger: Are You a Marketing Artist or Scientist? In it he describes two distinct tribes that most marketers fall into (1) the right-brain types that like to create and find inspiration in coffee shops journaling and brainstorming about their next blog, podcast, video or creation or (2) the left-brain types that are most on fire when they get to use gadgets to crunch numbers, run split tests or compare data sets.

McGuinness explains it matters not which camp you fall into. What matters is that both camps work closely together to achieve optimum marketing outcomes for your organization. While ethereal writers can create magnetic content in itself it isn’t marketing until the scientists optimize it to be found and shared on the web.

And while marketing scientists are terrific at setting up variable data projects,analysis models and optimizing content to be keyword and SEO rich and for capturing names and IP addresses via landing pages and micro sites, they aren’t good at creating copy or content that screams read me, share me, and use me to make your buying decision right now!

You Need Both Disciplines to Succeed

McGuinness goes on to say that while at one time you could succeed with just killer content or killer PPC, now you need a mixture of the art and science to succeed. Dave Reibstein, co-author of Marketing Metrics, agrees.

Read Reibstein’s full excerpt here about blending the art and science of marketing.

Allen Weiner of Gartner for Marketing Leaders shares three companies that he feels is blending the art and science of content marketing marvelously well. In his blog post, Understanding the Art and Science of Content Marketing, Weiner gives the thumbs up to Home Depot, Nike’s Better World micro-site and The Waffle Shop.

He says all three think like publishers in blending their content with proper workflow and outcomes. Home Depot succeeded by driving 29 million DIY-ers to a YouTube video on the forgotten art of whiskey barrel making. Many showed up in the store to buy materials and give it a go.

Nike’s Better World succeeded with its content by using HTML5 to present a scrolling storyboard explaining its company’s green initiatives and The Waffle Shop doubled connects with its customers through a live stream of customers sharing comments good or bad live at a Pittsburgh restaurant.

Is your marketing organization set up so the scientists can teach the artists and vice versus? Tell us in the comments section below.