Posts tagged marketing campaign management
Creative Variable Data Printing Services
If you are looking to increase response rates and cut costs, we have some creative ideas in which you can use Variable Data Printing. Before saying something like, “We already use data printing services”, ask yourself a few questions – How well is it working for you? Are you receiving great response rates, and are you getting an enormous return on your investment? If not, then you might be missing out on something.
Getting your message across and creating a lasting impression is important. Including an element of creativity, trust, and interest in your company is vital in order to make a connection through direct marketing in variable data printing.
Using Variable Data Printing in 10 Better Ways for a Greater R.O.I.
- Variety – Use different content, not just different words.
- Emotion – Find out everything about a prospect or client. Appeal to the emotions most important to the prospect or client. Make sure that your brand triggers an emotional response.
- Personalize – Make sure that you include their name, company name (when b2b marketing), address, and anything else that might be relevant to your message.
- Build an Alliance - Let your prospect know that your company wants to be MORE than just a place to make a purchase. Many companies are looking for good partners, they are trying to make connections for networking, and are focused on power building strategies.
- Graphics and Color – Use pictures that are true to your brand. You will be remembered as a company who understands delivering the total package. Every company must show themselves as worthy to be remembered, and relevant graphics can help.
- Check Your Content - It’s so easy to push a potential client away by glorifying our own company. Make your content easy to read. Ask the reader questions, and appeal to emotion. Focus on your reader.
- Usefulness – What does your reader need? When does he need it? If you show that you have paid attention to his needs in the correspondence that you send, he’d be very intrigued, but he might also be inclined to put more trust in you than before. Trust is a great marketing technique.
- Detail - Make the recipient feel as if he was your only customer. You can send out bulk mail and tailor-make each individual piece by using specific details. Research specific information about current and potential clients, and surprise them by including it in your direct marketing techniques.
- Focus on Brand - Every customer/company has different personality features.These features make up their specific brand. It goes much deeper than color, design, and logo. Research the motto, mission statement, and vision statement. Tailor your content to these specific variables.
- Experiment – Experimentation is vital for direct marketing. Keep trying until you find the right technique. Using different color schemes and designs may help reach different people who you never expected to reach. Just because you accidentally appeal to a market that is outside of your target range, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to do so. This strategy may lead to a whole new market segment.
Practice Makes Excellence
Practice shouldn’t ‘make perfect’, it should create excellence. If marketing techniques were ‘perfect’, then we’d never learn how to be creative. Don’t aim for perfection, aim for excellence. Expand your mind beyond what others are doing, and surpass them. You will get it just right, and then realize that it needs to be changed once again. This is part of our fast paced society and there’s no avoiding it.
The evolution of variable data printing (VDP) has significantly changed the landscape for the designers of direct marketing pieces. No longer are they forced to craft pieces that will appeal to a broad range of potential clients and hope for the best. Instead, they can utilize data captured from emails, web pages, surveys, phone calls and in-person interviews to create individualized direct marketing pieces to more accurately target the needs of their clients.
The Market – At its core, variable data printing is still a direct marketing strategy. As such, it relies on having data on your clients and prospects. This data can be self-generated by your company or purchased from third-party vendors. Lists are available in a range of options and can be tailored to your exact needs. In short, VDP combined with the right data is an excellent marketing option for clients as diverse as charitable organizations and casinos to insurance agencies and college alumni departments.
Individualized Pieces – The secret to a variable data printed piece is in how the information and artwork is integrated. While the name and address are from one database, the customers stated preferences are also utilized so that the right copy and artwork is also included. This process allows the designer to incorporate pre-written copy and preselected pictures about the best choices of product for a customer.
For instance, a casino might know that certain customers preferred “FREE Dinner” while others wanted their hotel room comped. With non-VDP, the designer is constrained into sending the same piece to both customers with an offer for a meal and/or a room. With VDP, the designer can send two or more meal offers to one customer and room offers to the other – complete with appropriate photos.
Increased Response – As you can imagine, this type of marketing better targets potential customers and produces a superior response rate. The most basic use of the process returns double the response rate while more sophisticated campaigns can yield a response 15-20 times greater than a static direct marketing campaign.
Lowered Costs – The vast majority of work in a variable data printing campaign is in the development of the text, graphics and images so that they align with the available data. In addition, the collection of data can be time consuming. However, once this effort has been made, a VDP campaign can be customized to fit any budget.
The campaign can affordably be run over and over again to a select group of clients or to new pools of prospects as they are generated. In addition, VDP allows a marketer to experiment on a small test group before committing resources to a larger campaign. Lastly, you can even build in “fail safes” to exclude customers who have never responded to a certain number of offers.
Customized Follow-Up Campaigns – Similarly, as more data is captured on responsive clients, further enhancements to the campaign can be made. More info can be sent on selected products or the piece can be modified to address what stage of the “buy-cycle” the customer is in.
The Bottom Line – As you can see, variable data printing can have a huge effect on the direct marketing campaign of a forward looking marketer. The technology is available and your company most likely already has all the data it needs. Now, you just need to a take that leap of faith and combine the two.
VISIBLE BENEFITS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION
One of the biggest benefits of marketing campaign automation is that it reduces and eliminates a multitude of repetitive tasks associated with the marketing process. Marketing automation software can easily divide and classify customers, providing customer segmentation and subsequent campaign management. This type of automation simplifies identifying target audiences and measuring the efficiency of allocated resources.
Beyond segmentation, marketing automation software can be used to communicate with prospects in a variety of ways. An email management campaign can be developed to send pre-formatted messages and content about products and services. Marketing automation software can be used to generate responses that further segment the targeted audiences, and send additional nurturing communications geared to meet the needs of specific individuals within each group.
Even when prospects do not respond, marketing automation software can identify where prospects drop off, and help retain them with ongoing targeted messages. Marketing automation software is the best solution for developing and implementing email marketing, direct mail and other channels to manage sales campaigns that drive revenue. Sales benefits of marketing campaign automation include increased lead conversion rates, increased average sale, increased overall sales and better forecast accuracy.
HIDDEN BENEFITS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION
One of the biggest hidden benefits of marketing campaign automation is that it allows marketers to do less and be more. In recent years marketers and organizations have grappled with the challenge of needing to reach thousands, if not millions, of prospects utilizing integrated communications that reach across multiple channels at numerous times. Beyond the dizzying magnitude of this task alone, these prospects must be communicated with in a manner that is personalized and unique to their needs and preferences. Without marketing campaign automation, meeting these objectives would require an immense allocation of time and man hours. However, by automating these processes, marketers are able to focus more time and resources on fine-tuning existing campaigns for maximum efficiency and implementing additional marketing efforts.
Management Guru Peter Drucker once wrote “Marketing is the distinguishing unique function of the business.” OK, no pressure there. Yet, if you were to ask any marketer or their boss what marketing entails they will tell you that marketing encompasses much, much more. Marketing is responsible for defining the business identity and creating a need for the businesses products and services in the minds of the targeted audiences. While consistently remaining under budget and within deadlines. In addition to streamlining processes and maximizing budgets, marketing campaign automation takes the guess work out of many marketing functions and as a result can provide the reliable benefit of lasting stress relief.
Marketing campaign automation provides an additional hidden benefit, which is perhaps one of the most important objectives of any business, and that is to have happier, more satisfied customers. Marketing automation can eliminate frustrating communications that fail to meet customer needs, and it can also help marketers anticipate customer needs and respond accordingly. In addition, marketing automation programs can reward customers and keep them coming back for more. Marketing automation can help marketers respond to customer needs in real-time, unlike with manual systems where a time delay can often lead to an unhappy customer.
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.
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.
It’s tempting to skimp on segmenting because of the focus on results. Don’t. In a tight economy, or any economy, casting a bigger net doesn’t mean you’ll bring in more fish. It just means you’ll use more energy and use your resources ineffectively to cast that net.
Blanket broadcasting or mass marketing are gone, but companies still waste approximately 37% of their annual marketing budgets, according to a research study that analyzed one billion dollars in advertising spending.
SOURCE:Tim Suther, Dec. 2010, “From Broadcast to Narrowcast,” Direct Marketing News
Narrowcasting is about narrowly defining an audience and engaging them in a discussion that’s emotional and persuasive over time.
Chief Content Marketing Officer at Avaya, Mark Wilson, says narrowcasting works in the noisy environment to make your B2B programs work.
He suggests you narrow your audience to about 10,000 people who look similar. He says 10,000 is a round number that’s affordable to reach and manageable to physically and digitally communicate. You will see results with your marketing communications as long as the people you’ve selected are passionate about the topic.
SOURCE: Carla Johnson, Feb, 28, 2013, “B2B Content Marketing: “Create Intimate Conversations with Narrowcasting.” Johnson is a consultant to Content Marketing Institute, which published this article on its blog.
Segment, Segment, Segment
Do you really know your audience inside and out? It goes far beyond surface demographics. Do you know what makes this person tick as well as your spouse? What they think? Their behaviors, patterns, shopping inclinations, biases?
Wilson says at Avaya they target contact center businesses and know whom to contact down to every possible business title. They build a highly targeted, narrow prospect list using LinkedIn or Dunn & Bradstreet. Then Avaya crafts thought-provoking, compelling content that resonates with the prospect.
Anyone who has purchased pay per click (PPC) advertising knows narrowcasting versus broadcasting. Rather than broadcast your message across multiple websites much like you would by posting a corporate news release on 100 news syndicates, you only send the information to the specific websites that publish content relevant to your product or service (maybe The Motley Fool, Kiplinger, or the Money blog for a finance type message or product).
Building a Better Direct Mail Campaign
Narrowcasting works in direct mail campaigns, too. By using prospect modeling services such as Snapshot® or VisualIQ®, you can refine your mailing list to the tightest possible scope– shaving mailing costs and reaching only your most ideal prospects in your particular segment.
The days of spray and pray mailing are over. So if you’re still basing your direct mail programs on age, gender and income, you’re missing the mark. Go deeper by sorting with additional indicators such as psychographic, lifestyle, brand loyalty, etc.
No audience is static. So narrowcast and rerun your modeling reports frequently to capture the ideal prospects for your business.
Political gaffes follow a candidate from one campaign to the next. The campaigns of Romney, Biden, Clinton, Quail and Bush all confirm this. Remember Bush’s premature use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished”, Quail’s misspelling of “potato?” or even Clinton’s more famous situation that isn’t appropriate for this posting. A misspoken word or an entire scandal can take an entire mission off focus.
The same can be said for the million dollar blunders made by the five marketing giants below.
One of Turner’s cartoon networks launched a guerrilla marketing campaign in 2007 that involved putting LED signs throughout the city of the flashing cartoon man. A Boston resident thought it was a bomb and called the police, which resulted in the shutdown of public transportation system and a $2 million fine requiring Turner Broadcasting to compensate the city for its emergency response time.
Gap & Coke
In 2010 Gap updated its logo design in an effort to appeal to a hipper audience. Gap switched back to its original logo within two days because of the backlash from its true audience of people who love their basics and aren’t trendy people. Who knows what the logo change and change-back cost Gap, but it probably was at least a million-dollar lesson to stay true to its loyal customers.
Gap’s gaffe proves that history does repeat itself. Remember Coca-Cola’s similar gaffe in 1985? Coca-Cola launched New Coke in an effort to keep Pepsi from gaining market share, only to enrage its loyal customers who began hoarding the original Coke formula and selling it on the black market for hefty prices.
To extend their social reach, Timothy’s offered a coupon or a free sample for following them on Facebook or Twitter. The campaign was so successful, Timothy’s ran out of k-pak cups and later posted that free samples would be given out on a first come first serve basis. This went over like a cup of truck-stop coffee and despite an apology video; they were unable to recover from the gaffe of not being prepared to fulfill their published offer.
When Pepsi chose to pursue the International market of China, it failed to check the translation of its tagline, “Pepsi brings you back to life.” The phrase translates to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” You may be laughing, but the marketing department and CEO of Pepsi weren’t. They were humiliated for not pre-flighting the phrase with native speaking Chinese customers. The cost of reprinting point of sale banners, signage and advertising cost just a hair more than the disgrace of Pepsi’s international gaffe.
Marketing Gaffe Prevention
While to err is human, there’s plenty of ways to reduce the margin for error. Here are a few suggestions to implement before you make history with a mega-marketing blunder.
Check your list twice
Don’t hit “send,” until you’ve checked your send-to list two or three times. Remember the agency employee who accidently dropped the F-bomb on Chrysler’s Twitter channel, thinking he was sending to his own peeps. Whoops.
Engage more eyes
Despite spell check and proofing, mistakes slip into marketing pieces because the individuals working on the piece go blind to their copy over time. Put a multi-tiered proofing team in place, as well as a pre-flight process for all your printed pieces and posts.
Take people out of the process
The beauty of print automation, is you do all the testing and proofing upfront (perhaps even for six months), but after that, all the data is pulled directly from your CRM or database and goes directly into the brochure, catalog, coupon, or direct mail piece, which eliminates the chance of human error. Print errors can cost a company millions. Verify your data, and partner with a company well versed in print automation if you need the assurance of 100% accuracy in your mailings.
In Philip B. Crosby’s book, Quality Is Free, Crosby estimates that the cost of quality for any company is 25 percent of revenue. Certainly far from free, but his book led to the “zero defects” movement that later was replaced by the Six Sigma movement because companies realized perfection was impossible. Six Sigma organizations are a bit more realistic, allowing an error rate of one in 1 million or less.
Whatever movement you’re following or quality assurance practices and systems you have in place, an error is costly to a company’s profits and reputation. Share your marketing blunders and any that you’ve headed off at the pass in the comments below. We’re all in this together.