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February 2009

Further Proof 55+ Hits the Web

Do you still doubt that the Baby Boomers aren't driving web 2.0?   Check out this quote from

"Women Over 55 Take Facebook by Storm"

The number of US women over age 55 using Facebook grew by 175.3% since September 2008, making mature females one of the fastest growing demographic groups on the social network, according to usage statistics released by independent blog Inside Facebook.

The number of men over age 55 also grew dramatically during the same four-month period (up 137.8%), but women over 55 still outnumber men in this age group by almost two-to-one.

Facebook’s US audience has continued to grow in recent months. In particular, the network has rapidly gained popularity in the US with people 45+, growing by more than 165% among both men and women in the last four months.

If you want to drive web traffic and sales, direct marketing to this group using PURLs and personalized landing pages will generate sales.

Great Reasons to Use Postcards for Marketing in the Digital Age

Why Postcards Are The Best Way To 1:1 Cross Media Market

FREE 14 day PURL Trial click here.

Variable data postcards are vibrant, colorful and lifestyle driven pieces with targeted art, copy, and messaging. Consider the “Mail Moment.”

According to the United States Postal Service, the average consumer is exposed to approximately 5980 marketing messages daily. On average, they notice 52 and pay mind to only 4. So how does your message become one of the 4? There is a daily “Mail Moment” in virtually every household and business in the United States. A staggering 98% of people check mail daily and 77% at the first opportunity. No other marketing channel even comes close. The sorting process takes just a split second per piece and has 3 results; bills, read, and junk.

Variable data pieces that speak directly to the prospect with personalized information have the best chance of surviving the sorting process and being one of the .00067% marketing messages that are noted.



Why Postcards over other types of cross media marketing?

  • VDP Direct Mail Personal Postcards are easy to produce and cost effective

  • Advertise to your customers and not your competitors

  • Postcards are private interactions with your prospects

  • Prospects are 4 to 7 times more likely to visit your website and buy if they have received a direct marketing piece

FREE 14 day PURL Trial click here.


FREE Cross Media Marketing Event

By special arrangement with the Winters Group, VDP Complete is proud to offer you an opportunity to participate for free in the Winters Group Webinar Series "Recession Proof Your Sales!" on February 18th at 12:00 PM EST.


Register at


Webinar: Recession Proof Your Sales

This 60 Minute teleconference covers how marketing officers across all industry verticals are faced with the same dilemma, "How do I keep my brand top of mind and how do I retain, acquire and grow my customer base?"

These questions are not asked of the print buyer or the marketing manager, and these questions are not asked by the print service provider.  This level of enterprise engagement exists between the Marketing Services Provider (MSP) and the Chief Marketing Officer.

As a trusted advisor, the role of a MSP is to ask the pressing questions that engage the CMO in thought provoking conversations that create a long term marketing strategy and partnership.

The Winters Group provides a marketing blueprint which outlines the strategies, technologies and tools necessary to transform your printing organization into a marketing organization.

This step-by-step blueprint supports the MSP every step of the way from branding to staffing and participates in the pre-sales call  preparation, to the sales call with the CMO, and all follow up to guarantee (yes, guarantee) your success.

These tools and strategies are invaluable to today's CMO.  Some of the many benefits include:

  • ROI calculators
  • Measurability
  • Accountability
  • Real time access to on-going programs
  • Data analytics
  • Customer For Life Initiatives
  • Voice of Customer Strategies

By keeping a finger on the pulse of new software and hardware technologies and closely following new trends in marketing communications technologies and best practices in different vertical markets, our transformed MSP's selling efforts have remained resilient in the current recession.

As companies continue to shed their workforce of non-producers, it is more important than ever that the CMO, whose average lifespan is 26 months in better economic times, change its habitual legacies.

Let Winters Group present the benefits of becoming a Marketing Services Provider.  Open dialogue is strongly encouraged so feel free to ask questions.

Please contact Lisa Pagano-Kuch for more information or to register at 917-922-1032.

The Winters Group is an organization that specializes in sales implementation.  They assist print service providers, fulfillment businesses, and agencies in acquiring new market-share within the complex sales environment of content management, variable data marketing, and supply chain logistics.

USPS to Raise Prices Again

On May 11 the price for a 1-ounce First-Class Mail stamp will increase from 42¢ to 44¢. Prices for other mailing services — Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services (including Parcel Post), and Extra Services — will also change. The average increase by class of mail is at or below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

See Complete Price List (PDF)

Customers can use their Forever Stamps — regardless of when purchased — to mail 1-ounce letters after the price change, without the need for additional postage. Forever Stamps are widely available through Post Offices, commercial retail outlets such as grocery stores, and online. Prices for mailing services will continue to adjust each May. Prices for most shipping services, including Express Mail and Priority Mail, were adjusted in January and will not change in May.

Select Prices for First-Class Mail

Letters – first ounce $0.44
Large envelopes – first ounce $0.88
Parcels – first ounce $1.22
Additional ounces $0.17
Postcard $0.28
Stamped Card $0.31
Stamped Envelope $0.54

How Not To Apply Intelligent Content

At Intelligent Content 2009 the “big names” in the industry discussed a variety of current projects and fielded questions about the particular problems facing attendees.  I was shocked that 85% of the discussion was on “organizational goals” and only 15% focused on customers and their needs.  Although the percentages I cite are subjective, there is no doubt that the bulk of time was spent on what IT can do to move ahead with its priorities. Any consideration given to the customer was an afterthought. Supporting Bob in sales with presentation materials through a content management system, no matter how fancy or technologically advanced is not considering the customer’s needs. 

A question was asked of a keynote speaker: How could intelligent content help eliminate a problem the firm was having with RFPs in that clients did not know the firm had certain services? His answer?  I paraphrase here, but in essence it was to “form an internal team to analyze organization goals, determine priorities, and assign assets accordingly.”  This was after of course, pointing out that the line guys don’t really know what to ask for, or why they need it anyway, so the chief IT need is to vet their projects.

Are you kidding me?  No one outside this guy’s cubicle gives a rat’s backside about the organization’s goals.

Instead, ask your customers what their needs are in relation to your content.  Don’t guess.  Go find out.  One firm that presented at the conference spent millions, yes millions, without asking their clients what they wanted out of the sales department.  Good old Bob got his collaterals, and they think they gave the client what they wanted, but no one bothered to ask. Would 5% of that budget have been well spent surveying not only existing clients but also past and potential clients on their needs?  You bet.  I see little coincidence that the home page of this large corporation deals with their impending bankruptcy.

Key Tips to Executing Intelligent Content at Your Firm

• Make your clients and prospects part of your internal marketing team – survey everybody involved and ask your best clients to be part of the process.
• Customer requirements should dictate what internal strategy and goals would best fit for your company.  Look from the outside in. Don’t assume what your customer wants.  Ask what attracted them to you or your competitor, what channels they want to utilize, and what format they desire to see content.  The answers may surprise you.
• The key to any successful campaign is to track the effectiveness.  Measure results not only in terms of sales, but re-survey to determine if your efforts hit the mark. Incorporate customer feedback into the process. Continuously improve your process and involve your customers and prospects and you will never fall behind.

What’s in it for IT?

In addition to creating a more effective organization that is driving more revenue, what IT gains is easier funding from the executive committee.  A key concern voiced several times at the conference was how to get funding for projects.  Initiatives that meet customer needs and generate revenue can easily justify the expense.  If IT relies on cost savings, which no one in the E-suite believes anyway at this point, what about next year? 

Take Away

Everyone in the organization always needs to focus on the customer.  Survey your stake holders and get their input, use that input to generate your content, and survey them again to make sure you are doing it right.

Cross Media One to One Insurance Marketing Tips

Cross media 1:1 marketing is the ideal platform for presenting complex financial transactions to both consumers and businesses.

Key benefits include:

• Find the key demographics of your best clients and target similar potential prospects
• Coordinate marketing efforts across all media channels
• Track prospects who visit a web page but do not take any action to build a "warm" lead list
• Build brand awareness and capture current sales opportunities
• Increase brand loyalty and maintain residuals longer
• Create an opt-in marketing & newsletter information programs
• Receive detailed reports on program effectiveness
• Test and focus efforts on most profitable message
• Identify prospects who have visited your website and target them for follow-up

For a detailed presentation on the topic from James Michelson and VDP Complete® with samples from Allianz, Farmers, The Harftford, and Zurich, please visit:

FREE Webinar - Recession Proof Your Sales

By special arrangement with the Winters Group, VDP Complete® is proud to offer an opportunity to participate for free in the Winters Group Webinar Series “Recession Proof Your Sales!” on February 18th at 12:00 EST.

This 60 Minute teleconference covers how marketing officers across all industry verticals are faced with the same dilemma; “How do I keep my brand at top of mind and how do I retain, acquire and grow my customer base in this economic environment?”

For detailed information or to register online, visit


JFM to Present at TS2 2009 Chicago

James Michelson of JFM Concepts will present “Driving Traffic to Your Booth – Using Variable Data to Attract Prospects” at TS2 2009.

TS2 2009, Total Solutions Marketing for the Exhibit & Event Professional, will be held Monday, July 20– Thursday, July 23, 2009 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

TS2 is the one-stop shop for leading-edge ideas, technology and innovations in face-to-face (trade show and events), interactive/online, advertising/promotion and direct mail marketing solutions.

Intelligent Content 2009 Review from RL Hamilton

Here is an excerpt from a review of IC 2009 from R.L Hamilton, author and content managment consultant (

"Among the session tracks, I found the most interesting to be a session from James Michelson, who I also had the opportunity to speak with a couple of times during the day. His point, simple, but often ignored, is that everything a technical communicator does should be measured by how it contributes to a company’s bottom line.

His business is marketing, and his talk focused on how you can use even small amounts of information about customers or potential customers to create marketing that is much more likely to generate a response. At first, it seemed strange to have a marketer as a speaker at a conference for technical communicators, but in the end it made sense. Like it or not, technical information is part of your company’s marketing message, and therefore, it makes sense to tailor content for your customers, based on their interests and needs.

In his view, most companies focus way too much attention internally (85% in his view, which feels roughly accurate, though he did not back that number with hard data). He would reverse that number, paying 85% of your attention externally.

Overall, I took away several points from the conference:

  • Intelligent Content is more than just well-marked up content; it is really the combination of content, information about the potential consumers of that content, and processing that gives that user the greatest possible value from that content.
  • Technical communication as a discipline is too often relegated to being a cost center. To continue to be successful, the discipline needs to take charge of the value in its content and deliver that value in a way that contributes to the organization’s bottom line (that bottom line could be profit for a commercial entity, or some other value for a non-profit).
  • The prevailing current technology is XML, but the technology is less important than its application.
  • The application of technology needs to serve external needs; if it can’t be tied to an external need, then why should the organization spend money on it?

I found the conference to be valuable, and I hope The Rockley Group continues to sponsor it in coming years. I got a lot of interesting ideas, including the topic for my next book (more on that in future posts), from the conference, and I look forward to attending again in the future."

From the Managing Writers Blog by author and XML expert R.L. Hamilton.  The full review is located at  See his website at for more information.