How to Use Direct Mail to Kick Emails Butt

1223972861 250x235 How to Use Direct Mail to Kick Emails ButtFor years, companies have been capitalizing on the power of print advertising to attract customers in cross-media marketing campaigns. Cross-media marketing helps companies take advantage of the variety of different media formats that are available for modern advertising: of these media components, print media is supreme in many regards. Although email marketing is popular today, there are key areas where print mail is still much more effective at helping a company increase response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns.

Improved Response Rate And More Competitive Costs

Because print media provides a physical piece of advertising that buyers can hold in their hands, it enjoys a better rate of response than email. According to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail campaigns to existing customers have a response rate of 3.4%. Similar email campaigns had a response rate of only 0.12%.

In the same study, the DMA showed that printed media also had a better cost per lead or order. Print mail campaigns had a cost of $51.40, while e-mail campaigns had a cost of $55.24 for each lead. This is especially important for businesses that have a set budget for their cross-media campaign and want to ensure that they stay inside of this budget, an issue that is paramount in the minds of today’s business professionals that want to raise response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns while keeping costs down in a struggling economy.

Advantages In B2C Marketing

For B2C marketing, an arena in which many organizations both small and large operate in, print media has many advantages over email marketing. According to a survey performed by Target Marketing, 34% of direct response marketers reported that printed mail campaigns delivered the best ROI in terms of customer acquisition, compared to email, which was selected by just 25% of those marketers as being best for B2C. This is in part because of the ability to personalize printed media through handwritten notes or signatures, something that email cannot do.

Printed media is also effective to improve response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns because of how many people still rely on printed materials mailed to them to either decide where they will go for a purchase or actually make the purchase. Integris marketing cites a study by the U.S. Post Office, which reports that 80% of consumers view and/or read their direct mail, and 50% of households have ordered products from catalogs. Conversely, many people have spam filters that keep out marketing emails, or simply do not even bother opening these types of digital messages and just move them right to the trash.

More Resonance Among The Highest Earners

Even for companies that do not market B2C, they are often targeting a specific business owner or high level executive for B2B media marketing campaigns. For these top-earning Americans, print media is extremely important. Adage.com reports that 93% of this population read hard copy magazines, while less than 30% read them online. Similar statistics were shown for the reading of newspapers. This means that if you are targeting wealthy business owners or financial officers, you are more likely to increase response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns using print media than digital media.

Sales professionals and business owners have numerous options when it comes to pursuing new business through media. Despite its age, print media remains a hugely vital aspect of any advertising effort. Use print media wisely in tandem with other media elements today so that you can grow your sales by improving the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns.

 

Get Your Message Across the Right Way – Print that Makes Sense

166578139 250x182 Get Your Message Across the Right Way   Print that Makes SenseYou may be questioning your general approach to your print marketing campaigns in light of the fact that there are so many new ways consumers are being bombarded with information. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns are proving cross-media is not only successful but measurable meaning you can benefit from print in a traditional way by adding the benefits of personalized marketing in less traditional ways.
Personalized marketing campaigns are seeing solid results compared to standard, flat or static campaigns. Response of cross-media marketing campaigns are successful as they combine online and offline marketing. This allows you to use an initial small response rate to eventually drive a higher response.
By speaking to your audience numerous times in numerous ways allows you to maintain contact and remain top of mind. You are using repetition in a more innocuous way because the consumer is not being hit over the head with the exact same method. Cross-media marketing offers a constant reminder using direct marketing to invite the consumer to visit your website with a personalized URL that leads them to personalized information and messaging tailored directly to them.
This is far more valuable than a general message that may or may not apply to them. A personalized survey can then collect information that is saved in a general customer data base that alerts your sales team via email that a potential client is on the radar screen. They then have a legitimate reason to contact the lead with good background to get things started. At the same time, the information is tracked and stored for future CRM use in your system.
Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns continue to show solid results. An analysis done by MindFireInc of 1,856 cross media campaigns in 30 cross vertical markets showed that an average visit rate of 6.5 percent and an average response rate of 4.5 percent. Results for some markets included:

  • Education: 3.3 percent visit rate and a 2.1 percent response rate
  • Non-profit: 5.3 percent visit rate and 3.5 percent response rate
  • Financial: 4.6 percent  visit rate and 3.1 percent response rate
  • Insurance: 5.6 percent vist rate and 3.6 percent response rate
  • Arts, Media and Entertainment: 7.3 percent visit rate and  5.9 response rate

As you can see despite the varying vertical markets the response rates of cross-marketing media show solid results. The visit rate also demonstrates the opportunity to collect information for future CRM campaigns.
Marketing firm Epsilon Targeting found that 6 out of 10 Americans preferred to get information via direct mail. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns demonstrate success and direct mail plays a role. The findings of Epsilon detailed that regardless of preference through email or post, the reason people enjoyed either was due to the ability to refer back to the info when convenient. However, of those citing this reason 73 percent were pro postal versus 45 percent for email. This means that direct mail as an initial contact will impact the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns in a positive manner. Further proof of this was reflected in these findings:

  • 62 percent enjoy checking their mail box for mail
  • 59 percent enjoy getting mail about new services and products
  • 73 percent found they were getting email they never open
  • 67 percent said they get too many emails each day

Cross-media marketing campaigns are making marked progress in customer response compared to traditional means. Cross-media marketing also allows you to use the response rates of cross-marketing media as a way of saving money for future print campaigns by allowing you to focus only on those with proven interest.

 

Complex Variable Data Printing Made Easy

165493131 250x166 Complex Variable Data Printing Made EasyThe evolution of digital printing has transformed the world of direct marketing. No longer must the same static messages be sent to every customer on your mailing list. Instead, the use of customer information databases and variable data printing (VDP) allows a business to completely tailor the content of their mailing to each individual customer.

Complex variable data printing may sound difficult to implement, but with the right partner and the requisite data, it can produce an effective and profitable direct mail campaign that delivers superior response rates.

The Process

The VDP process starts with information. In fact, customer information is the real key to creating highly personal messages and delivering significantly higher results than traditional direct mail campaigns. With the use of multiple databases, a VDP campaign allows a company to combine the name, address and particulars of a customer with an ad specifically targeted to their needs and interests. The result is an ad that provokes a far higher response rate than traditional non-variable marketing pieces.

The Content

In addition to using the actual name of the recipient, VDP should also reference their geographic area, the past purchases, their buying behavior, personal interests and other specific traits.  The key is to collect a lot of information on your customers or prospects and use that information to create a personal experience for the recipient.  In this particular application, content is certainly king as it can grab the attention of the recipient and ultimately lead them to respond.

The Images

While words are the ultimate closer in a marketing piece, images are the attention grabber. Imagine that at a basic level a car dealer can send pictures of sports cars to the 18-25 demographic and sedans to the 40-50 crowd, but let’s add another layer of insight.  The car dealer sends a piece that is designed around the age, past purchase history, family status (whether children are present in the household), and income.  So now instead of just sports cars vs. sedans, we can target the right level of sedan and even offer a loan package based on general credit information.  This differentiation can mean the difference between a direct mail piece being read or being discarded – in other words, the difference between success and failure.

The Follow Up

One of the more powerful benefits of VDP is that it can be constantly updated and customized to every potential client. Each time you send a mailing and get a response, the database is updated. In other words, you are constantly qualifying the desires and needs of your clients. With enough perseverance, you will build a true image of your client and be better positioned to convert them into a paying customer.

The Bottom Line

Variable data printing is a 21st century technology that no successful business can afford to be without. Utilizing the combined power of databases and the technological advances of digital printing allows companies to select, target and market to an incredible variety of customers on a very personal level.

Don’t be left behind when contemplating your next direct marketing campaign. Whether your business targets range from banking, insurance or casinos to non-profits and educational institutions, variable data printing can provide a very focused solution that generates excellent response rates, superior conversion and a whole new set of potential clients.

 

Direct Mail is on the Skids – Or is it?

1588029641 250x250 Direct Mail is on the Skids   Or is it? The Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns still support the need for “hybrid marketing”, better known as cross-media marketing techniques. Digital media and direct mail actually complement each other, and because of this fact, there will continue to exist a strong need for direct mail marketing in the indefinite future.

The integration of print and digital media is still generating leads at a superior ROI and, particularly in some specific types of organizations, this will continue to form a reliable part of marketing strategies. Not only that, but tying the two channels of direct and digital marketing together can form a powerful vehicle for improving a companies client base. At the moment, this combination is essential for laying the foundation for mobile and video communication-based campaigns in not a few industries.  Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns depend largely on how intelligently direct mail is integrated into existing strategies. Used insightfully, direct mail is a reliable tool for boosting response rates and setting the foundation for long-term client commitment.

Response Rates of Cross-Media Campaigns in cases where direct mail marketing is used, are influenced by  two major factors: which types of businesses use them (which is a very flexible determinant) and/or how they are used to complement existing inbound marketing strategies. Banks, universities and colleges, casinos, insurance companies are the organizations benefiting from and will continue to benefit from direct mail marketing because they are able to continue increasing their client base at a cheaper and more effective rate through personalized marketing techniques than static ones.

There are neurological reasons for this. Research conducted at Bangor University  shows that physical media effects human memory differently as it creates a more profound emotional response. This in turn, will hypothetically cause for more positive brand-associations – something of particular importance where the above-mentioned  industries are concerned. Since clients are often being asked to entrust large sums of money with them, trust is of a premium.

As to understanding the more pertinent question: whether or not cross-media is more useful for generating more leads,  the research that has been singularly helpful in understanding the various Response Rates of Cross-Media Marketing Campaigns are as follows:

  • Reports from the DMA (Direct marketing Association)
  • The PODi report (carried out by the Digital Printing Initiative.)
  • The CMO (Chief Marketing Officer’s council) report.
  • A collection of other reports stored in the MindFire Inc database.

What these reports have indicated is that personalized marketing techniques have a vital place for marketers, while static campaigns (those allowing for no flexible integration between direct marketing and digital platforms) are simply not as effective in terms of  ROI performance.

The conclusion then, should be clear: the shift towards increasing digital marketing has not changed the need for direct-mail marketing. In fact, direct mail marketing is still pivotal as a launching pad for digital marketing campaigns, and will continue to be so in future.

 

Catalogs 2.0: Meaner, Leaner and Incredibly Manipulative

Crazy mail Catalogs 2.0: Meaner, Leaner and Incredibly ManipulativeBefore the new millennium catalogs contained info products and pictures to spend the weekend looking through, dog-earing and talking about with your neighbors.

You could read ample descriptions about each item and then call an 800 number to chat with a never-rushed customer service rep to get all your questions answered before she gently walked you through the order taking process of collecting your item numbers, colors and quantities.

It was an expensive and time consuming process that worked great in the day.

Flash forward to today. Rather than becoming extinct, like some people wagered with the advent of the Internet and digital catalogs, print catalogs have proven the power of pictures and touch by remaining an unbeatable means to get consumers to place orders online.

Print catalogs influence twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases, according to Baynote’s 3rd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey.

Print catalogs influenced 81.9% more in-store purchases and 42.9% more online purchases than Facebook, according to Baynote’s survey.

Ecommerce Causes Catalogs to Change with the Times

The Internet, iPads, and smart phones changed everything for catalogs. They became skinnier, more targeted and with just as many coders as call center people on staff as they shift from clicking through a transaction replaced being talked through an order.

Catalogs today allow us to shop around the clock without ever speaking with a customer service representative. The Internet has empowered us to gather information and place a transaction with complete freedom and ease. And while this may appear to be to our advantage as a shopper, it’s actually all well planned (and manipulated) by the catalog’s marketing team. They’ve spent months, perhaps years, laying a digital trail they want you to follow and they know every spinoff route you may take and are waiting for you there, too, with more incentives and reasons to buy from them now.

This lean and mean sales trail they’ve sent you down reminds me of the sales model “traps” builders assemble. You know the ones where you pull up to a new subdivision to view model homes and after you sign in you are sent to see three model homes that are conveniently gated off forcing you to go through them in the order they want you to and you end up right back in the sales office for the Realtor’s pitch?

So even though you think you’re free to roam, each page you open or link you click has been finely orchestrated to help you come one step closely to typing in your credit card number and all these is done online without the need for physical sales people on salaries or more call center staff taking up physical space or cost.

How Catalogs Have Changed and Adapted

Like any business, catalogs have changed with the times to survive. Here are the biggest changes direct mail catalogs have made.

Less Pages. Can you imagine the cost of mailing the size of the former Montgomery Ward catalog to one million addresses? Nor could any cataloger thus the reason J.C. Penney went from an annual large catalog to a monthly Look Book and why IKEA first points new customers to its digital catalog before adding them on its print catalog mailer. Catalogers have learned how to shave cost by printing and mailing less or more targeted catalogs to customers who are prone to order the most.  They’ve fine-tuned the formula of mailing less bulk and generating more bucks.

Less Copy. Mail order catalog copy has shrunk because you can read a 50-word description and go online for a complete whitepaper or brochure or call a sales rep to get your questions answered. Plus you can see better images, often in 3D that eliminated the needs for wordy descriptions when you can see the product at every angle and in every color with the click of a button.

More interactive. There are more interactivity points — landing pages, ecommerce portals, macro, micro and review sites — all before calling the 800# (that is if you ever choose to speak with a person).

Augmented Reality. Moosejaw Mountaineering released an app, called X-Ray, for its customers to use with their smart phones upon the receipt of its catalog. The app used augmented reality that allowed customers to see a hidden layer of images in the pages of the catalog. Customers that scanned catalog pages saw the underwear the models were wearing underneath the Moosejaw outerwear.

Moosejaw’s app showed new technology and extended sales to the company’s underwear line.

SOURCE:“Catalogs Find a New Role as Ecommerce Traffic Drivers,” Multichannel Merchant, May 2013.

Triggered Mailings. Catalogers and ecommerce merchants now have the technology and customer data to mail when a potential sale looms such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or when a new home is purchased. Even the five largest catalogers, Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, Spiegel, J.C. Penney and Alden’s, didn’t have personal data scrubbed, ready and cued up in CRM systems in the 70s to mail triggered mailings. Technology allows this today and triggered mailings can drive open rates into the double digits and response rates over 50%.

SOURCE:“Increase Open Rates & ROI with Deliverability Analysis, Frequency & Triggers,” Lyris HQ.

Is your company driving sales to its products through direct mail, catalogs, or multichannel campaigns? Are you using all the tools and technology to stay far ahead of the competition and forecasted changes coming in our digital world?

Triggered Orders. Catalogers can count on the phone ringing as soon as they drop their printed catalogs at the post office. According to a study, 58% of the 817 consumers surveyed said they look at catalogs as soon as they are received, with 92% indicating they have made a purchase from the catalogs.

SOURCE:“Catalogs Find a New Role as Ecommerce Traffic Drivers,” Multichannel Merchant, May 2013.

Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents also said that if catalogs were to become too expensive for the catalog companies to continue producing that they would still request them.

Don’t let the pain of changing keep you from your digital rewards. Offline messages delivered through mediums such as catalogs continue to drive online actions. In fact 67% of online actions are stimulated by offline messages.

SOURCE:iProspect Study

Revealing Facts Behind Catalog Shoppers

AA047752 250x254 Revealing Facts Behind Catalog ShoppersCatalogs have survived the ages by changing along side the needs of consumers. Today 20,000 catalogs mail annually, but you might be surprised to learn who reads them, buys from them, tosses them or references them on their trip to the retail store or bedroom to get online and make the long awaited purchase.

Here are some revealing stats and facts about catalogs that might spur a marketing campaign or catalog mailing for your business:

  • Women open up and look at a higher percentage of catalogs than men.
  • Men buy from catalogs more frequently than women (44% more than six times a year, compared with only 36% of female catalog shoppers).

SOURCE:Consumer Catalog Shopping Survey, Catalog Age

  • 20 billion catalogs are mailed annually
  • Catalogs mailings make up 10% of USPS volume
  • Percentage of sales for B2C averages 17% and 7% for B2B
  • Effect of the Internet has been positive as most catalogers have a substantial web presence and gather 20% to 50% of their orders from the Internet.
  • Baby boomers are vigorous catalog buyers, making up the largest demographic sector with 40,000 boomers buying regularly from catalogs.
  • However, more women than men shop catalogs during the holidays.
  • Catalogs are considered useful by 46% of those who receive them.
  • The most used and preferred method for purchases from a company whose catalog was received was to look at the catalog and then purchase through their website. This method is preferred twice as much as using the toll-free number.
  • If catalogs become too expensive to produce, more than 1 in 7 consumers would actually pay to receive catalogs.
  • On average consumers who receive catalogs spend $850 per year on catalog purchases.
  • Catalogs remain one of the four mediums that influence purchases most (see graph below).

SOURCE: American Catalog Mailers Association

 

catalogGraphic Baynote2013.jpeg Revealing Facts Behind Catalog Shoppers

Source: Baynote, Inc 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.