Posts tagged marketing portal

Cost Justifying the Investment in New Marketing Systems

Hidden Costs of Marketing Collateral

Identify the invisible costs to justify the investment in new marketing technology.

As companies consider an investment in marketing asset management , Web to Print, communications portals, marketing automation, or other marketing systems, they eventually get to the stage where financial justification is required.  Based upon years of guiding companies through these calculations, we are proud to offer a guide to help you determine the true cost/benefit of these systems.

Download “How Much Are You Really Spending On Marketing Collateral?”

Although this paper was written specifically for marketing asset management and collateral management, it is really relevant to the majority of new marketing technologies on the market.  In this concise paper (it is really a quick read), you’ll find ideas and plans to justify the investment in new marketing systems.  The three main ideas are:

  • Learn how to identify invisible costs in your organization
  • Review a real life case study of a company saving over $80,000 per year
  • Develop a cost savings estimate for your company using the template and example provided

 You can download this resource here:  http://www.mailprint.com/mam-cost-savings.htm

Cost of Marketing Collateral

Download Report: How Much Are You Really Spending on Marketing Collateral?

Soft Vs Hard Cost Savings

Here’s something to think about that’s not included in the white paper: whether or not to make a marketing technology investment is often a question of how human resources are utilized.  A substantial portion of the savings comes from freeing up human resources.  Some companies look at this as a “soft cost” and simply redeploy the freed up human resources on activities that are more valuable to the company than deploying marketing materials.  Companies that are looking to reduce “hard cost” create a plan to reduce human resource costs through attrition, promotions, transfers or staff reduction.

Human Resource Planning Plays a Vital Role

An important second part of the cost justification process is to know how and what you plan to do with these soon-to-be “additional” human resources.  Plans that are presented without giving clear insight into how you will handle this are often disqualified as fluffy or inaccurate, and can ruin the possibility of gaining new marketing systems.

The Remarkable Collision of Social Media and Direct Marketing

children watching movie

The integration of social and direct marketing is creating larger-than-life results for marketers.

I recently came across a great illustration of how businesses are using direct marketing and social media together to achieve immediate results and ongoing “viral” benefits. I’d like to share this story in narrative form…

The Setup: New Marketer Seeking Reliable Results

The owner of a local franchised restaurant decides to increase business by spending some money on advertising, and a friend suggests she should use an e-mail blast to promote her restaurant. She considers this—she is an avid Internet user and has had a Facebook account for awhile. But she knows how much she hates getting intrusive e-mails and how few of these she ever actually reads. Everyone else probably feels as bombarded with electronic media as she does. So she goes into her franchisors’ marketing storefront to research direct mail postcards.

She anticipates a ho-hum corporate marketing postcard that gives her no ability to tailor the postcard to her needs. Instead, she is delighted that the system provides multiple options and best practices.  She is also surprised to see information on using multiple channels, including options for utilizing social networking along with direct mail postcards to not only increase restaurant traffic, but also establish a customer data base for future use.

The Drama: Testing Traditional Tactics, With a Social Flair

After careful consideration, she selects a customizable campaign that allows her to create a targeted mailing list, postcard and personalized URL (PURL).  Attractive postcards that direct users to a PURL are mailed to area families with a coupon offering a complimentary children’s dinner with the purchase of an adult dinner. List selection is easy with the demographic and psychographic targeting tools provided by the franchisor and it happens intuitively with a few of clicks of her mouse.

At the PURL users validate their information, answer a few questions, and are given the capability to effortlessly share the offer on Facebook. As an incentive, all recipients who share the offer with friends are automatically entered into a sweepstakes to win 10 free family dinners. After completing the process, users are able to print the coupon and bring it into the restaurant for redemption.

The Resolution: Direct Mail + Social = Perfect Match

Results for multi-channel marketing campaignIn this example, using PURLs to encourage social media sharing pushed response rates above the mail quantity (see sidebar at right).  That is impressive and formerly unheard of in the direct marketing world.

What’s Next? Using Direct Marketing Know-How to Create Social Media Engagement

Watch out for new features that combine direct mail, email, PURLs, QR Codes and social media to engage consumers with personalized images that can be initiated and created on-the-fly within Facebook and Twitter.  Fostering the social media engagement with a personalized experience will create a profound change in the marketing industry. What a grand time to be affiliated with direct and interactive marketing!

Eliminating Secret Stashes in your Marketing Supply Chain

Hoarding marketing materials

Hidden costs are lurking in the unused printed materials hoarded by your sales and field marketing personnel.

Did you know that 72% of sales and field marketing personnel over-order or stockpile materials? (Yep. That’s right. It’s not a typo.) According to a study by the CMO Council, 59% over-order by 20-25%. These extra materials go straight into the individuals’ secret stash.* Start adding up the costs of the secret stashes in your company and you quickly realize that if over-ordering were eliminated, the marketing budget could be dramatically reduced, or redeployed on more valuable efforts.

Why Does Over-Ordering Occur?

Probably every cliché we learned as a child applies:

  • Be prepared.
  • Save for a rainy day.
  • Stay ahead of the game.
  • Marketing departments and/or processes are not reliable. (OK, we didn’t learn this as children, but it is what many sales reps and field marketers believe.)

64% of the people surveyed said they keep their secret stash because it takes too long to receive materials, or they are out of stock when they place a request for something they need. I know from my experience as a field sales representative, that being in a satellite office, you have to be prepared to manage anything and everything. Just one experience where you do not have the materials you need to do your job, and you figure out a way to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Improving Field Operations Restores Faith in Marketing

Eliminating the cost of those secret stashes is not only about improving the marketing supply chain, but restoring the confidence that field sales and marketing has in acquiring the needed marketing materials. So how does the improvement and restoration processes happen? For many companies, it is moving to a virtual marketing storefront or marketing asset management system to enable field sales and marketing to be in control of their own destiny, yet allow corporate marketing to maintain control of how the brand is presented.

Important Traits of a Virtual Marketing Storefront:

  • Provides timely production and shipping of materials, and immediate access to digital assets
  • A dependable interface that works when your associates work… which is pretty much any time
  • Flexible to allow for the needs of individual markets, while restrictive to allow for brand control
  • Highly responsive to the corporate marketers need to deploy new materials and digital assets
  • Accessible tech support to help inexperienced users learn the system and assist with questions
  • Eliminates waste by utilizing Print-On-Demand (POD) and Variable Data Printing (VDP) to reduce or eliminate storage at headquarters and the “secret stash”

Marketing asset management, communications portal, marketing storefront… regardless of what you call it, it is the foundation to effectively deploy marketing on a localized basis. It is also the underpinning to restore the trust that is essential between field sales and marketing and the corporate marketing department.

How are you eliminating the secret stashes in the marketing supply chain? Share your story by adding a comment.

* Statistics come from the CMO Council’s report on Mapping + Tracking: The Optimized Marketing Supply Chain.

Overcoming the Fear of Losing Control to Field Sales and Marketing

"free puppy with purchase" marketing message

"Free Puppy with Every Purchase." Great offer or a bad case of brand deconstruction?

I have to start with a quick story… I used to work for a corporation with over 10,000 locations world wide. Some of the locations were corporate owned, some were owned by franchisees. My role was in corporate marketing and my responsibilities included franchise marketing. The member of our creative services team who was responsible for reviewing and approving the franchises’ self-created marketing materials sat adjacent to my office.

I still giggle every time I think about the “creative” language she utilized many times a day to describe what she received to review: distorted logos, misspellings, horrendous color combinations, and my all-time favorite offer: “Free puppy with every purchase!”

Technology has advanced rapidly to make the management of marketing materials faster, easier and more controlled for companies with distributed locations, marketing staff and field sales. The solution that is central to improving the quality of branded communications comes in many shapes and sizes and has many names like: marketing asset management, communications portal, print on-demand, web-to-print, and digital asset management.

For organizations that are still concerned that a marketing communications portal will be destructive instead of constructive, let’s look at some of the biggest fears:

Big Fear 1: My brand and brand message will be distorted.

All good communications portals come with the power to give you the brand control you need, while making the user feel like they have great customization abilities.

Big Fear 2: There’s a lack of quality data and mailing lists at a local level.

This may be true, but you can help them obtain new lists. Even better, hook-up the data and list service you want them to use. You can even program in targeted tools that enforce best practices.

Big Fear 3: They (the field, location, and marketing managers) will spend too much.

If budget isn’t controlled by the franchisee, or location level budgets are not in place, expenses can be monitored and limited through your marketing portal. Spending limits may be set by order, user or location within the communications portal.

Big Fear 4: After investing in a communications portal, it is not utilized and doesn’t produce a positive ROI.

This is the opposite problem to number three above, and the problem most likely encountered when implementing localized marketing. This problem has to be addressed before you implement a communication portal. Conduct user testing with the proposed tool before buying. Make sure your users can easily understand how to navigate the system and know exactly what to do. Next, plan out an implementation and user adoption program to encourage interaction with the communications portal or asset management system. And although this is common sense, after you implement the communications portal, the old way of doing things has to be eliminated. Aberdeen Group recently released research on Print On-Demand that proves the positive impact it has on ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment.

Big Fear 5: They aren’t savvy enough to know what to do.

Even an easy-to-use system doesn’t make up for the lack of marketing expertise required to conduct local marketing initiatives. Or does it? If the system can be set up to support best practices and be specific enough that the localized marketer or franchisee knows exactly what to do, even lack of marketing know-how can be overcome.

Empowering Your Most Devoted Marketers: Your Local Representatives

Up to this point, this entire article has studied negative things that can happen when marketing is conducted at a local level. I have also worked for a franchise owner and seen thousands of franchisees and location managers in action. Who takes on the most responsibility for each location to be successful? It’s the local manager, sales person, franchise owner, and each and every employee associated with that location. Sorry corporate, it is not you.

The unfaltering commitment that these individuals possess to make their business a success is enormous. For companies to not take advantage of that from a marketing perspective is a detriment to the success of the company and franchise owner.

If you don’t give marketing control, you don’t get motivation for success by the very people who interact with the customer each and every day. Individual locations always feel their market situation is different, their competition is different, their employee base is different, and so they need to feel that they can control the marketing and sales approach to be different, even if it is not.

With the right tools, a communications portal being the main one, you can give your locations and franchisee all they need to conduct relevant, localized marketing, while keeping the control you need to build a consistent national or world-wide brand. So what’s holding you back?

Video: Inside View of Mail Print’s Marketing Portal

We get a lot of questions about our Marketing Communications Portal, and have found that visuals are worth much more than a thousand words when explaining its benefits and features. Have two and a half minutes? Check out the video below that gives an inside view of how marketers, salespeople, business owners and administrators use the portal to access, manage and deploy company-branded materials.

If you’re joining us from a mobile device, you can watch the YouTube version here. Oh, and if you’d prefer the thousand words instead of the visual, you can get the video transcript here.

New Aberdeen Research Shows Print On-Demand Improves Customer Retention

According to new research by Aberdeen Group, Print On-Demand (also called POD, web-to-print or print automation) provides a dramatic improvement in customer retention and ROMI (Return on Marketing Investments). As an underwriter of Aberdeen’s research, we’re pleased to provide exclusive access to their findings.

CustomerRetention 198x300 New Aberdeen Research Shows Print On Demand Improves Customer Retention

From research by Aberdeen Group: Users of Print On-Demand achieved a 42% higher customer retention rate than non-users.

Among their findings was a correlation between companies that use a Print On-Demand solution and a dramatic improvement in customer retention. In an economy where every customer counts, a 42% higher customer retention rate among Print On-Demand users is more than noteworthy. But what’s the correlation? How does POD impact on customer retention so significantly?

Three Reasons Print On-Demand Improves Customer Retention

  1. More timely – With on-demand printing, written communications and printed materials get in the hands of prospects or customers more quickly, as the materials are produced and delivered immediately, instead of waiting weeks to be batched with other orders.
  2. Improved relevancy – Printed materials can easily be customized to be relevant to the recipient using a Print On-Demand system. For example, cross-selling, new customer assimilation, and segmentation strategies can all be applied, one customer at a time.
  3. It builds better relationships – By empowering true 1-to-1 communication, personal communications can be customized to come from their sales or customer service representative to the intended recipient.

 

Follow this link to download a free report including additional findings from Aberdeen: Print On-Demand: Driving Efficiency and Revenue Growth with Organizational Print Portals.

Additional Benefits of On-Demand Printing

Many times when a company moves to a Print On-Demand or web-to-print solution, another significant shift happens. They move from static off-set printing to digital printing. Several years ago many marketing professionals questioned the quality of digital print. Today, to the naked eye, it is practically impossible to tell the difference between commercial off-set printing and digital.

Using advanced digital printing and marketing automation technology, the delivery of printed materials becomes as easy as sending personalized, triggered email.  In fact, the use of both mail and email together becomes fast, efficient and very impactful.

Many companies have found it helpful to integrate their Marketing Asset Management solution with email and automated print deployment, making the creation and execution processes streamlined and efficient.  In fact, in addition to improved customer retention, many companies save hundreds of thousands of dollars by moving to an integrated POD system. (See case studies at www.mailprint.com)

Thanks to the Aberdeen Group for investing in the research that quantifies what was previously suspected: POD improves customer retention and bolsters ROMI by putting a serious dent in marketing execution costs.


80,000 Things Ferrellgas Can Teach You About Distributed Marketing

Ferrellgas Case StudyManaging the marketing needs of over 800 locations is no small task. Ferrellgas has done an excellent job of it, driving revenue and results on a local level. Last year they realized that they could improve their localized marketing and make their personnel more efficient with a marketing communications portal (to some of you, this means Marketing Asset Management, Marketing or Print Automation, or Web to Print.)

The effort to consolidate vendors, learn a new process, or simply loading a platform with the multitude of marketing materials and assets can be daunting. Although some companies become intimidated by the initial work it takes to launch a Marketing Communications Portal, Ferrellgas never batted an eyelash and tackled it head-on.

Today Ferrellgas can give you 80,000 reasons why that implementation process is well worth it. They will save at least $80,000 in their first year of using Mail Print’s marketing communications portal and were recently featured in Aberdeen’s report “Marketing Asset Management, Managing Brand Compliance in Distributed Marketing Environments.” The results have been everything they expected and more.

“It was an immediate, overnight turnaround, with far shorter production times, less repetitive effort, and more consultation and guidance being provided to the field offices,” said Brian Mater, Marketing Manager at Ferrellgas.

If you’d like to read more of the Ferrellgas story, check out our online Ferrellgas case study.

What Jelly Teaches About User Adoption of Marketing Asset Management

57302955 300x300 What Jelly Teaches About User Adoption of Marketing Asset Management

Providing too many options in a marketing asset management solution may create a decision process that is too intense and complicated.

Years ago, Columbia professor, Sheena Ivengar ran an interesting consumer test.  She set up a “free samples” table in a super market and proceeded to test the difference between sampling 6 jellies Vs. sampling 24 jellies.  The net result: when 6 jellies were presented, 40% of the shoppers stopped to sample, and 30% bought jelly.  While 60% of the shoppers stopped to sample from the 24 choices and only 3% actually bought jelly.

So we like the shopping experience, but struggle to make a decision when faced with too many options. I buy that.

So what does that have to do with Marketing Asset Management user adoption?

Users of marketing asset management systems are frequently distributed sales forces, marketing departments, franchises, retailers or local stores.   They use these systems to download logos and ads, and create brand-controlled, yet customizable marketing materials.

Having many options creates a great “shopping” experience and initial usage, but if too many customization options are given, over time the users may become stressed by the system.  This results in fewer ads being downloaded, fewer email and direct mail campaigns being initiated, and ultimately a decrease in the amount of marketing done by your users or locations.  Even worse, they may instead go outside the approved system and create materials that are not within branding standards.  All this can happen simply because designing or creating the marketing materials is a taxing decision process.

When this logic is applied to companies who utilize an online ordering application for marketing asset management and marketing automation, a hypothesis begins to form:

When it is important that users repeatedly use an asset management system, having too many options decreases the frequency with which they use the system.

At this moment I have no facts to prove this hypothesis, but it is something I have witnessed for the past six years working with our communications portal. I am not hopeful that I can convince a client to perform a test and actually share the results as this is not a measurement that marketing departments are interested in proving out.  So for now, we just have to be wise marketers and consider the decision process of the user when establishing how many “jellies”, asset or options are the right amount for an online marketing asset management system.  And by all means, if usage of your asset management system is declining, consider testing the number of assets and options you provide your users.  You may find that less is more.

Using Marketing Automation Without Compromising Your Data Warehouse

duplicate data 300x199 Using Marketing Automation Without Compromising Your Data Warehouse

Duplicate prospect and customer data is a nightmare for IT and Database Marketing departments, but a requirement for some direct marketing systems. The solution? Integrated systems that use live data feeds.

There is no doubt that an enterprise data warehouse has helped countless organizations consolidate their information into one central database allowing for better analysis and use of the data.  This has certainly been the case for improving targeting and segmenting of direct marketing efforts. It has also been a boon to being able to use varying messaging, imagery, offers, and even formats to improve relevancy to the targeted audiences.

Increased availability of data has lead to the usage of 10s, 100s or 1000s of variables within an individual campaign.  It has also lead to a new level of complexity for automating a successful ongoing campaign that uses these variables.

Good direct marketing service providers, whether it be print, email, text messaging or direct mail, can work magic with the data… after all the data is brought into their system via a data pipe or XML stream.  This often causes IT departments and data analysts to cry “Foul! You just created redundant data from what was supposed to be a single data warehouse.”

So what’s the next step in email and print automation to make sure that redundant data sources are not created?  Creating a live feed that continually calls to and from your data warehouse.

We have a client who utilizes a proprietary segmentation model, as well as geographic overlays, and purchase history to determine the targeting of direct mail and email campaigns.  After combining this with localized ordering, they have a wonderfully targeted, relevant communications strategy that works like magic.  And best of all, their data and segmentation resides with them.

Building a continual data retrieval system is not the easiest way to feed data for automated marketing communications, but is the best way to maintain the integrity of your data warehouse.

Marketing Management & Execution Solutions: So What Do You Call Them?

Reading a dictionary

Searching for the right words to describe the marketing automation, management, or execution systems you're looking for? Maybe we can help.

Marketing Asset Management. Print Automation. Marketing Automation. Communications Portals. Distributed Marketing. Web-To-Print. Confused yet?

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything fit in a nice, neat package that is easy to understand and explain?  In the world of marketing communications management, many people would think the above terms all mean the same thing.  I actually think they don’t.  I think there are so many terms because each means something a little different:

Marketing Asset Management:

Focuses on creating an online library of digital marketing assets such as logos, templates, stock photography, videos and radio ads  for use by centralized marketing staff or a network of remote users.

Distributed Marketing:

A term coined to define organizations that have many local markets that are marketed to differently, whether marketing strategy and execution is controlled by a central marketing department or the local stores and locations.

Web-to-Print:

The ability to order printed materials through an online printing management system. Typically, this reduces a company’s inventory waste and improves the customization available on the printed pieces.

Communications Portal:

A central repository for ordering and downloading all types of marketing communications and assets, including email, logos, direct mail, radio commercials, fliers, buck slips, etc.  Marketing Communications Portals are very useful for distributed marketing organizations.

Print Automation:

Eliminates human intervention in creating printed pieces.    This could be obtained via a web-to-print application or communications portal that also employs print automation, or could be a standalone system that creates printed pieces automatically based upon data streams and live data feeds.

Marketing Automation:

The process of triggering marketing communications to a specific individual or audience segment without human intervention.  This differs from print automation in that the automated marketing campaigns could include email, direct mail and other channels, by themselves or combined.

I’m sure there are many more terms and buzz words that I haven’t noted here. Just like any rapidly advancing technology solution, new terms are created every day.  The most important thing to understand is what you really need in a solution, regardless of what it is called.