Posts tagged return on investment
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 article below is admittedly a personal review of some direct mail I received. I am not privy to the strategies of any of these pieces or to the metrics associated with the return on investment for these campaigns. As a direct marketer I know that all that really matters is the testing matrix and campaign ROI; neither of which do I have any knowledge of. With that said, let’s critique!
After sorting through a huge box of direct mail I collect, I was amazed to find such poor use of the outer envelope for pain-filled call to actions (CTAs). Out of this 20-pound box of direct mail, I only found one organization that was nailing pain-focused CTAs while dozens of others were missing the mark completely – most failing to have a CTA on the envelope at all.
You can see by the two outer envelopes below that the Salvation Army clearly understands driving response through pain and strong CTAs. Pella Windows and JCP on the other hand, do not. These for-profit giants neglected to include anything on the outer envelops to persuade the recipient to take the next step and open the envelope. No CTA, no compelling photograph, no pain. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Many organizations have found that raising the level of a pain surrounding a problem to the point that the inflicted one wants a solution and is willing to act on it is a viable messaging tool.
With all the pain in today’s trauma filled world and with overfilled email boxes, getting to the pain via an envelope with a strong call to action may be the best route to new customers or donors.
Pella’s Envelope Is Void of Pain
We are certain that Pella Window’s marketing department has tested their envelope copy strategy to the hilt, but we spent a little time playing with possible headlines… Tell us if you think these are strong:
- Did you know windows can leak 25% of your heat during the winter? That’s a lot of heat.
- Daddy always complained about heating the outside.
- Might as well just leave the window open, don’t you think?
When we look at Pella Window’s letter we also feel like we want more. We would love to see some content on a replacement cost vs. return on investment calculation to demonstrate how quickly a homeowner can recoup his costs over time just through energy efficiencies throughout all seasons.
Not sure it would work, but it might be worth a test, but imagine retrieving an envelope out of your mailbox with the photograph above on it if you just got an extremely high gas bill earlier that month and the thought of new windows was in the back of your mind. What if the envelope had, “Quit making your family wear down vests and stocking caps to watch a movie in your drafty house.” Would you open the envelope to read more?
JCP Counts CEO Clout to Earn the Open
Lucky me, I received a letter from JCP’s CEO Ron Johnson! I wondered what’s up. Opening this generic, highly digitized very personalized letter, I learn that JCP is making changes in their store to bring back the fun of shopping. If you know me, you know I don’t really enjoy shopping.
Fun of shopping, huh. Funny, this envelope and letter aren’t very fun. In fact, they’re kind of boring.
Johnson goes on to say he doesn’t want me to have to wait for a sale or coupon so I’ll now find low prices every day, which sounds a lot like Wal-mart, but wait. There’s a $10 coupon at the bottom of the letter if I get to JCP in the next few days. Isn’t that kind of a mixed message? No more coupons but here is a coupon?
And here’s another kicker, the letter from the desk of Ron Johnson is signed Ron – now not really. It’s just his typed name. No signature blue ink, cursive writing. Just a corporate looking letter, with a convoluted message and a non-personalized signature at the bottom and no pain or CTA on the outer envelope.
Come on JCP – if you’re trying to be warm, value driven, fun and shift from a couponing strategy to every day value you are delivering numerous conflicting messages.
Now keep in mind, they did send me this letter to my work address. I wonder was the appeal of one more formal letter supposed to get through to me and entice me to use a $10 coupon because I absolutely had to run out in the next four days and buy something.
Add to the confusion. I’m not a JCP shopper. Frankly, I don’t remember the last time I walked in to a JCP. I don’t have kids so I’m not in that “holy grail” of consumers. I rarely use coupons. Heck, I rarely even remember to use the gift cards I get for presents. Bigger problem for JCP – they are spending money with a strange message to try and lure me to their store.
With all these comments I’ll admit the marketer in me is uncomfortable sharing my anecdotal observations. I would love to see the data. I would love to see the testing matrix. I would love to see the ROI and consumer analytics reports, but alas I get to sit back and observe my experience with a mail piece.
I guess this is what a Monday morning quarterback feels like.
Have you received anything from an organization that made you want to take action because it had a great CTA, personalized URL, or magnified some pain that drove you to take action? Let me know in comments.
Don Peppers and Martha Rogers began preaching 1:1 marketing for 19 years – the era of Web 1.0. Peppers and Rogers got on the 1:1 soapbox in 1993 with their bestseller, The One to One Future. To speak to your customers 1:1 in the 90s, a company had to do it through phone calls, lunches, small seminars, individual letters, mass mailings with a personal note scribbled on the bottom or expensive custom pitches.
Not today. If you do the right prep work, you can speak to hundreds, even thousands of customers 1:1 through variable data printing. The only drawback is you have to slow down long enough to ensure you’re collecting the right data on each customer. You need to know them, their family, and their buying preferences intimately. You also need to make sure that you are aligned with a partner to establish your data extraction and print processes to make your marketing pieces truly speak 1:1.
Download this newly released eBook, Unlocking More ROI through VDP, which gives you more than 50 pages addressing the ins and outs of variable data printing along with three bonus case studies documenting the double digit results three national companies gained through VDP.
Variable data printing or 1:1 marketing is also known as database printing. With the numerous case studies validating variable data printing’s lift and today’s advancement of data capture technology, it is still surprising only a fraction of companies use it.
The four companies below have grasped the single message source (store) to the single recipient (household) concept and built their CRM systems around it. These VDP rockstars consistently deliver a “mom and pop” or first-name personalization and purchase preference to millions.
- American Red Cross — Red Cross keeps its global mission highly personalized by putting a real face and name on its donor request mailings.
- Ferrellgas — This national propane company with 900-plus locations uses variable data printing to increase opt ins to its Will Call Campaign. By using variable data printing and print automating technology to speed their message to their customers Ferrellgas saved over 100 hours of staff time and increased response rate by as much as 30% depending on the season.
- Harrah’s Casino — is the second-largest casino operator in the U.S. Harrah’s keeps gamers returning to its casinos with highly personalized direct mail pieces and frequent-gambler cards that account for its $3.7 billion in revenue (the highest 3-year returns in the industry). SOURCE: DeanLogan.com
- Target — Target builds individual shopper profiles then designs and mails personalized self mailers and emails featuring products and coupons based on each recipient’s previous purchases. They send their customers coupons and offers that make sense based on past buying habits and complex algorithms for future buying patterns. SOURCE: XMPIE
As you can see by the four VDP rockstars above, execution of any 1:1 customer campaign involves blending operations with sales, marketing and your CRM system. More than likely you have everything you need to start today. Start revving up your return on investment through VDP and add your name to this list of rock star marketers.