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December 2009

November 2009

December Cross Media Webinars

The experts at JFM will present two free PURL and cross media webinars:

 "How to Sell Cross Media Marketing"

James Michelson, an industry recognized leader in Cross Media will be giving webinars to discuss strategy and sales.

Tuesday, December 08th at 1:00pm EST

"The Latest VDP Web Cross Media Features"

We have launched many new features, and the best way to know the system is to use it! Register for a VDP Web walkthrough on either of these dates:

Thursday, December 10th at 1:00pm EST

Regsiter here.

You can’t trickle market a trickle (and make money)

The latest in email hype has been “trickle marketing.”  The allure of this methodology is apparent in an era of shrinking budgets and decreased staffing levels.  In theory it sounds great.  You develop a lead from any marketing channel and then create an automated series of communications to reach out and touch that prospect without any ongoing effort.  In a previous post we discussed the challenges associated with developing cost effective email campaigns and discovered that the time and cost of content creation must be factored in for the accurate determination of ROI.  The conclusion was that small email lists are often as expensive to market to electronically as by any other means.


The same logic is easily applied to trickle email marketing.  Unless the firm has a lead generation system that creates numerous opt-in email addresses, such as an online shopping cart that specifically asks the client to join the marketing email list, then getting enough new leads to email is the first challenge.  Remember, just because you have a prospect’s email, that does not mean you can send them an unsolicited commercial message.  They must specifically opt-in.  The second challenge is the time and effort, therefore hard cost and expense, of creating meaningful, timely, and relevant content for the potential recipients of the trickle campaign.  The last post on email showed that creation of one email blast for the entire file can be cost prohibitive, now do the same calculations on an even smaller number of prospects.


When considering the average size of business email lists and the pace at which new opted-in emails are added, the appeal of trickle email marketing decreases dramatically.  The cost required to develop a campaign for a few people every month precludes most businesses from pursuing this strategy, no matter the appeal.  At low volumes calling is more effective.  For those firms that have the ability to generate the necessary flow of new leads, trickle marketing can be a powerful tool in the arsenal. 


For most of us, it’s software vendor hype.

Air Travel for Sales? No Thanks...

I will be the first to admit that I hate airline travel.  It is unreliable, inconvenient, expensive and down right unpleasant.  We avoid business travel if we can.  In that vein, both principals at JFM took great umbrage to a recent article in Frontier Airline’s in-flight magazine.


Some sales putz flew to Tampa to close a deal and finally got it inked at eight o’clock at night so that it would fall in the current quarter.  If he “Hadn’t been sitting right there” the deal “wouldn’t have happened.” Bullshit. The CEO wanted another day to review numbers and it seems from the article that deal was closed already.   I will grudgingly grant that in certain verticals a face-to-face is still the order of the day.  But seriously, flying to assure a deal closes in a particular quarter?  Under high pressure to make my salesmen’s accountants happy, I would have told the firm to pound sand and would have found another vendor.


We have hundreds of long-term clients – I have only met a few of them.  Would I like to go make sales calls?  Sure.  Like many companies, one of our contact’s marketing departments has shrunk by 180 people. Who has the time to have people fly in for meetings and the requisite after hours socializing where the real work gets done?  Five minutes in an abbreviated email is five minutes more than most people have to spare.  Travel throws the work/life balance even further off kilter than it already is.


Of course, I did write this on a plane on my way back from an on site client meeting...

FREE Cross Media Marketing PURL Webinars - PURLs, EMAIL & More

The experts at JFM will present two free PURL webinars:

 "How to Sell Cross Media Marketing"

Thursday, November 19th at 1:00pm EST
Tuesday, December 08th at 1:00pm EST

"The Latest VDP Web Cross Media Features"

Tuesday, November 17th at 1:00pm EST
Thursday, December 10th at 1:00pm EST

Regsiter here.

JFM Concepts at Podi APP Forum 2010

JFM Concepts will be presenting at Podi's APP Forum 2010 to be held in Las Vegas, January 25th to 27th.

Increase Revenue - Keep More of your Customer's Marketing Budget
Speakers:  James Michelson, Principal, JFM Concepts
Date/Time:  Wed, 9:45 - 10:45 am

How does print fit into your customer’s total marketing strategy and how can you increase your share of their marketing spend?

Using three illustrative case studies for Marriott, Harrah’s, and Gold Eagle, James Michelson will present a practical guide to implementing cross-media applications to expand commercial printing’s penetration into the client’s marketing budget.

To grab a larger share of your client’s marketing budget you need to:
1. Generate leads for them
2. Create output/activity that puts more ink on paper

James will offer the top 5 tactics that printers can use to deliver both new leads and more print. Variable data printing alone will not make a printer a Marketing Service Provider (MSP). The use of multiple cross channel tools such as SMS text, email, unique 800#’s, and static web pages, as well as PURLs, are required to effectively enhance direct marketing efforts.

Latest Cross Media Marketing News and FREE Webinars

Visit for the latest cross media marketing news.

While you are there, sign up for one of two great webinars.  The experts at JFM will present:

 "How to Sell Cross Media Marketing"

Thursday, November 19th at 1:00pm EST
Tuesday, December 08th at 1:00pm EST

"The Latest VDP Web Cross Media Features"

Tuesday, November 17th at 1:00pm EST
Thursday, December 10th at 1:00pm EST

We hope to see you there!

The Real Cost Email Marketing

Email can be a critical part of any cross media marketing strategy, but it is important to understand the real cost of developing and distributing an email campaign.  Many seasoned marketing executives we speak to every day have in their minds that email is a cheap and effective way to promote their products and generate massive ROI with little or no effort.

For firms that have an extensive opt-in email list and additional customer information to segment offers this can be true.  Internet or mass market retailers and international brands that have been gathering email addresses and customer information from sales and other collection mechanisms (such as contests, information requests, etc.) can spend a few thousand dollars on design and execution to send out an email blast.  They can achieve a very low response rate that still generates a massive return on investment.   When we take a few moments to break down the numbers, we quickly see that generating a positive return is not attainable for most firms.  Here is how the numbers break out.  The hourly rate used in the example is realistic for the actual cost of labor, but feel free to substitute your own.

For this example, here are the assumptions made:
Design & Copy: 8 Hours @ $ 125
Artwork: 2 Hours @ $ 125
Giveaway / Discount / Offer Cost: $1000 
Distribution: .02 cents
Response Rates: 5%, 1%
Profit from Sale: $ 5


Notice that a 5% response rate is required in purchases, not the open rate, to break even.  Good luck making that happen without detailed customer information and segmentation.  If the sale is a big ticket item that requires a consultative selling process, than even a 1% response rate is highly unlikely.  At 1%, the breakeven point comes at 100,000 emails with a $5 profit.  Very few companies have that quantity of contacts to target.

For 500 recipients the cost is $4.92 each.  For 2,000 recipients, the average email size, the cost is $1.25 per piece which is more expensive than comparable direct mail.  A direct mail piece is one of four or five the recipient will get in a day as opposed to one of hundreds of emails.

What this example does not take into account is the cost associated with developing the email list.  There are firms that claim to have double blind opt-in lists for sale and we have seen them used effectively for certain applications, but the response rates are no where near the 1% closed sale shown in this example. List rentals from trade associations, magazines and other sources can also be advantageously used, but they are usually limited to single drop campaigns and therefore are of limited utility in a long term marketing strategy.  These lists can be very good for brand awareness and special events.

Take away:  Email is not free and in small quantities it will cost more than direct mail.

There are steps that a marketer can take to maximize the return that can be generated by email.  Email campaigns must be considered a part of the overall marketing strategy and need to be coordinated across all channels. 

Consider the following to develop an effective email program:

  1. Offer customers the opportunity to join the email list at every touch point
  2. Create campaigns that are designed to collect email addresses – many people will trade their personal information for a pittance
  3. Utilize easy to complete opt-in forms on landing pages and shopping carts
  4. Utilize Personalized URLs (PURLs) with email to drive respondents to a content specific landing page to help increase conversion
  5. Send email infrequently with relevant and timely content targeted at the individual recipient