Posts tagged targeted marketing
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.
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.
The 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 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
Look around the next time you’re in a coffee shop, airport, bookstore or public area and you’ll see Millennials (often called Gen Ys) pecking away on their smart phones or iPads like there wasn’t another human being around for miles.
However, just because Generation Ys are completely absorbed in technology that doesn’t mean the only way to reach them is through social media or integrated email campaigns.
Lamont Swittenberg, managing director at Luminosity Marketing, says, “Sending something by direct mail is a way of breaking through the clutter because they receive so much communication that comes digitally, and you still can’t replace the personal touch from direct mail.”
To engage Gen Ys most effectively, marketers should recognize that Gen Ys read printed materials with a different “lens” than baby boomers.
Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of “Y-Size Your Business,” explains that Gen Ys (born between 1977 and 1995) prefer pictures and directions to an online video rather than long blocks of text or explanation or background info.
10 Ways to Engage Gen Ys with Print:
- Personalize it. Use variable data printing to ensure you’re speaking to Gen Ys personally.
- Keep it visual (infographics are received well among Gen Ys).
- Treat them like a VIP.
- Make them feel deserving.
- Connect them to a cause or part of a community for the greater good
- Believe in them.
- Add a QR Code® or drive them to your social media sites.
- Make it interactive.
- Create a daring but relevant appeal. Read Gen Y targeted whitepaper, No Guts, No Glory, for bold ideas from Joeri Van den Bergh, Gen Y expert.
Chances are your office is at least half filled with Gen Ys. So run the copy by an associate before finalizing your multi-channel campaign. Believe me, they will tell you exactly how they feel about your message and if it resonates with them or not.
QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
When a Dallas-based advertising agency, VLG, needed to engage prospects, it opted to show off its interactive technology through a sitelet or mini-site. The sitelet used a mock company called Crescent Bluffs to demonstrate the amount of time VLG could engage the prospect in the demo.
I was engaged for 1 minute 41 seconds. I took VLG’s bait of virtually opening a hotel door to a room with a virtual key on the screen. I was then asked to meet them in the lobby and then in the restaurant to have a virtual lunch; and at the end of the lunch a virtual note appeared on the screen announcing how long our business courtship lasted. VLG then asked me on the screen if I would be interested in learning how to conduct my own sitelet campaign to create new business for my company.
VLG’s campaign, Accept the Invitation, began by mailing a hotel napkin and faux hotel key with a note that read, “Let’s Meet.” The note sent prospects to a mini or microsite for a faux hotel named Crescent Bluffs. You can walk through the prospect experience here.
Because of sitelet successes such as VLG’s, other agencies and companies are using sitelets to launch a product, provide support functions and for targeted advertising campaigns. By using a separate domain name, you can choose a unique descriptive URL that pertains specifically to the campaign.
Flash, online databases and advanced programming can be combined to create powerful customer support tools. It is possible to preload your existing offline data or structure an entirely new database.
Another key benefit of using a targeted sitelet approach is that you do not have to significantly modify your existing company website for a specific campaign. You will want to integrate links and content for maximum exposure, but this is significantly easier than modifying website navigation and page structure.
How can you use mini-sites to bring in business?
Have you ever felt discouraged by data? Well never again! Today’s marketing is all about reaching your target market in an effective way. Whether that is by email, direct mail or social media, you need to target your communication and personalize it to the individual through data. However, collecting and analyzing data can be so overwhelming that soon you could be buried by it. So the big question is how do you begin collecting adequate data to reach your target market?
While you may aspire to have the marketing sophistication of P&G or an Amazon.com, there are steps you can take to get started right now. Jeff Hayes, President of Info Trends, shares 8 points.
1. Make an inventory of your customer touch points.
Look beyond your customers’ age and gender. Dig deeper to find what really makes your customers tick. Collect data on how often your customers shop, what their average purchase is per visit and how long your customers spend in your establishment.
2. Figure out what data you have, what data you need and how best to collect it.
All fantastic marketing campaigns start with a game plan. Establish what data is already being collected by your P.O.S. or other systems, and then analyze it. Once you know what you are collecting, it is time to establish what you would like to know about your customers and then devise a solution to collect that data.
3. Collect and compile your data for on-going analysis.
The more data a company can gather and know about their customers, the better! In the beginning, make sure you data is compiling accurately to your analysis system. You do not want to waste time or data by not being able to format it correctly.
4. Analyze your data and develop a market segmentation scheme.
“Developing a new market segmentation scheme requires a structured process that yields actionable results. A new market segment must respond differently to variations in the product, marketing, and distribution mix compared with other customers in the market.”
5. Test various messages and promotional offers, and measure the impact.
Survey or interview your customers. A company cannot reach their customers if they do not understand their needs or desires. Send out different types of flyers and discounts to measure the response rate to each promotion.
6. Continue to refine your data collection, analysis and messaging.
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Hardly any project runs according to plan. Take the time to smooth out the bumps and get rid of the dead weight.
7. Get senior management involved – there will be cost and may be some internal “turf” issues that need to be resolved, plus you want their buy-in when the data challenges traditional assumptions.
The last thing you will want to do when working on a new campaign or project is to step on anyone’s toes. Talk through your plans and processes to make sure everyone is on the same page. This way the chances of a dispute are held to a minimum.
8. Consider working with an agency or consulting firm, especially to help you get started.
You don’t know everything and that’s okay. It is alright to reach out and ask for help. Smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from other people’s mistakes.
SOURCE: Market Segmentation, Info Trends, 2013
SOURCE: Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, 2005
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.
The postcard below from Excelsior Springs Hospital arrived in a mailbox of a 50 year old living in a subdivision with mixed housing.
For the recipient, it was off message. They were not interested in comparing residential care homes quite yet being that they are only 50 years old. I live in a subdivision designed for people to progress through life from the townhomes, to single family homes to raise a family, to the patio homes to enjoy one-level living prior to advancing to a nursing home or residential care center.
So the question begs, what did Excelsior Springs Hospital use to compile a target rich list? Zip codes, type of home, age, mortgage balance, employment? If I were their marketing director, I would have specified 55 to 75 years of age living in ranch homes with a zero balance so to hone in on people most likely to be ready to move from their downsized ranch or maintenance-free patio home into an independent living center or assisted living.
Fatal Flaws Made in Senior Living Postcard
As you see, Excelsior Springs Hospital has thrown everything and the kitchen sink into this simple 5×7 postcard. It’s packed, yet pulseless. Here’s where they fell short.
- The headline is a snore. A better headline/offer would have been, “Join us for a 4-Course Lunch and 4-Course Resident Panel.”
- The photo a bore. A photo of Paul Kemp gardening or playing cards would have been more engaging. Having him looking at a book, not the camera, is too passive.
- You don’t know where to start. They have three tiers of living centers to offer. Why not chronologically take the prospect through each one with numbers (1) Independent Living (2) Residential Care (3) Convalescent Center.
- Information overload. There is way too much copy. This is a postcard, not a brochure or website. Give them the highlights and move them down the funnel to get more information.
- No continuity. The bulleted list on the left is flush left while the list on the right is centered. Some headlines have serif fonts, while some are san serif.
- There is no offer. With the competitive senior living market, why should the receiver of this postcard call the number or visit the website (which should be a landing page instead of a general URL (GURL).
- It’s features-not benefits-oriented. The front and back of the card “focuses on,” but doesn’t describe WIIFT (what’s in it for them). Better copy points out never feeling isolated or being excited to receive the calendar every month because there are so many fun things to pick to do each day.
- Meaningless elements. Everything in a good design has a reason for being there. It serves a purpose of pointing someone’s eye down the piece or to the next section. This card shows two blue starbursts that just further add to the clutter and a silky blue background that seems out of place. The two design blocks on the front of the card appear like the tablets from the 10 commandments but again I don’t understand the point.
- They called their customer a name. According to Britt Brouse, Associate Editor of Inside Direct Mail, you should never use the word “senior” when marketing to seniors. Instead focus on your services and how it meets their needs without pinpointing a life stage.
- They missed their target. The postcard was addressed to the male of the house, instead of me. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is mailing to the male head of household, or to “couples,” when half of all households with people 65 or over are headed by one person, and 80 percent of those are women.
What did I miss? Did you catch something I didn’t see? Please put your comments and insights in the comments box below.