Cross Channel Marketing Feed

James Michelson and VDP Web present PODi Webinar on Cross Media

VDP Web® is proud to announce a new session at the 2011 PODi AppFoprum  featuring James Michelson from JFM Concepts.  James Michelson’s presentation will feature successful cross channel marketing campaigns that were launched on tight client budgets from industry leading commercial printers. These campaigns incorporate direct mail, email, and other channels for events, lead generation, and direct sales.  Additionally, coordination with social media and other direct sales efforts will be included as part of the overall marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways include practical ways to ease clients into cross-media by leveraging their existing efforts, how to design effective cross-media campaigns using all the latest channels, how adding tracking and accountability to your programs can make all the difference, and the value of 'closing the loop' on real world integrated campaigns.


Cross Media Audit - Brought to you by VDP Web

Learn right from the experts. Increase your revenue.

Start the new year off right with a cross media audit from the experts at JFM Concepts, makers of the industry leading VDP Web integrated marketing platform. The audit is a critical planning and operational tool for small to medium sized businesses or business units of large firms. Without support from other departments, including IT, marketers can discover how their current efforts are part of the overall cross media marketing mix and how those channels can work better together to expand reach without increasing budget.

To discuss the options available, please call Josh at 800-735-2578 or submit the opt in form on http://www.audit.vdpconcepts.com for more information


From the Corner Office – “What’s coming for 2011 & VDP Web?”

2011 promises to bring continuing change at a pace that shows no sign of slowing.  The economic and political landscape continues to be remade and uncertainty abounds.  Political considerations include corporate and personal tax insecurity, “Do Not Track” legislation on the web and a floundering Postal Service struggling with relevancy. A new Congress suddenly bent with the most populist agenda in recent memory is about to convene.  How will marketers react?

Here is how we see the coming year.  There will be continuing pressure on justifying the value of print and traditional media channels while at the same time a vague call for change and more social media.  The trend for firms of all sizes to hoard cash and maintain a war chest for contingencies will continue while the tax and inflationary issues sort themselves out.  At the same time, industry consolidation will increase as investors pressure firms to show growth despite the environment and that war chest of cash starts burning holes in pockets.

VDP Web will continue to focus on the providing the best platform to handle any direction the market takes.  Whatever the next big thing is, regardless of what it is, VDP Web is built on a unique provider model to adapt.  In 2010 the buzz was all about QR Codes and if I knew what the 2011 and 2012 buzz would be I would be sitting on a beach in Maui rather than contemplating the first winter snow. 

Our basic principles remain unaltered.  VDP Web will add features that provide value and ease of use across multiple channels.  We have added powerful and elegantly simple tools for the inline production of QR Codes, JQuery and JavaScript for powerful  variable pages and “if-then” functionality, and much more.  Whatever comes, we’re ready.

The entire team at JFM is looking forward to working with you, your teams, your clients and your stakeholders in 2011 and beyond.

Best Wishes – James Michelson


VDP Web & Social Media – JavaScript and JQuery

By Eleanor Heins

The marketer’s challenge is to be able to distribute information across multiple channels as widely as possible with minimal effort.  A natural next step would be the ability to add social media functionality to landing pages.  We now offer the ability to “like” and “publish” landing pages and “retweet” the link for your friends to receive the offer. 

This can potentially expand your distribution methods many times over.   Allowing people to send an offer through their own channels will cost less for you, and grow your list exponentially with no direct effort on your part.

For a sample of this in action, look for this ability on our holiday mailing, coming soon.  Not on the mail list?  Click here.

How is it done?  JavaScript, JQuery and HTML

I’ve heard of Javascript. What is it again?
Definition: JavaScript and is an object oriented scripting language that emphasizes interaction between JavaScript and HTML. It simplifies the creation of animations, communications to server requests, document transversing and event handling. JQuery is the most popular JavaScript library used.

Great. What does that mean?
Implementing JavaScript/JQuery takes a rudimentary knowledge of html and a few conditional statements, such as “if-then” statements. This method allows users to create conditional questions and display variable content with the same functionality used to make a slick accordion menu or an image slideshow. With Javascript/JQuery, it is very easy to show/hide different sets of content based on information in the data file. In this manner one can custom tailor the content on the landing page for each prospect by changing text, images, movies, and even surveys. The options are endless.

Why not just use a form to create the conditions?
VDP Web decided to open our platform up to Javascript/JQuery because it gives us a single solution for nearly limitless functions. Conditional questions, variable content, animations and visual effects are all possible, keeping the control of scope in our clients hands. Complicated rules based forms can be limited in scope and can require quite a bit of extra training for an end result that is centered around a single function and does not make use of anyone’s existing skill set. We also knew that a large portion of our clients already had staff in house that either knew enough JavaScript to work with the system or were in the position to learn. JavaScript and its many reference libraries such as JQuery are either already known – or really, really easily learned – by pretty much every web designer out there. 

It was time to put the creativity back into the functionality instead of relying on a form that tells you what you can and can’t do with your landing page.


Enhanced QR Code Generation Available in VDP Web

JFM Concepts has just announced additional QR Code functionality to further enhance its industry leading VDP Web® cross media marketing suite.  The creation and implementation of QR Codes, with a seamless integration into reporting, allows immediate and easy coordination of Personalized URLs (PURLs), SMS-Text, Unique 800#s, static landing pages and more.  A complete integration of response mechanisms avoids data silos and fragmented work environments that isolate data and complicate coordination.

 

According to John Fager, JFM Concepts’s Chief Technology Officer, “The new print-ready QR Code functionality in VDP Web allows one-click generation of an infinite number of QR images that are automatically tied into reporting without the need for an additional platform.  The export database is formatted for easy implementation to any print driver.”

 

Since 2004, JFM Concepts (http://www.jfmconcepts.com) has developed and executed national cross media marketing strategies for direct clients, traditional agencies and commercial printers. Campaigns include broadcast and print media, direct mail, SMS-text, email, PURLs (personal URLs) and variable data landing pages with surveys and opt-ins.


VDP Web and James Michelson in new PODi Webinar

VDP Web® is proud to announce a new webinar from PODi featuring James Michelson from JFM Concepts, “Cross-Media Strategy: Keeping More of Your Customer’s Marketing Budget” on November 16th at 12:00 pm EST.

Originally scheduled for last month, this extremely popular topic should be on your calendar for November! How does print fit into your customer’s total marketing strategy and how can you increase your share of their marketing spend? Find out how to tap into your client’s marketing budget by generating more leads for them and creating activity that puts more ink on paper.

With case studies for Harrah’s, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, & CyberChrome, James will present a practical guide to using cross media applications (SMS text, email, unique 800#’s, static web pages, & Personalized URLs) that do both.

Also see James at the 2011 PODi AppForum January 31st until February 2nd in Las Vegas, NV.

Key Takeaways include: How to get a larger share of marketing spend; The top 5 tactics printers can use to deliver both new leads and more print; and, where direct mail fits into the marketing mix.  Marketing Service Providers – owners, upper management, sales & marketing pros should attend.


Cross Media Automation – Not for the Faint of Heart

By Joshua Driver

Recently, I was on the phone with a valued client and we discussed the latest automated technologies for cross media integration.  There are numerous platforms that can execute messages across various channels, automatically, but who is really doing this right?

With the economy and buyer behavior being as predictable as Lindsey Lohan’s rehab calendar, marketers are looking for ways to automate targeted messages over direct mail, email, social media, and more.  This can help reduce long term internal resources, but there is a significant upfront investment: You have to prep your data, beef up your content and implement a manageable segmentation and rules strategy.

A male colleague of mine received a postcard that proudly proclaimed, “For Women Only.”  The piece was urging him to try out the latest in feminine products.  There is no short cut for keeping your data clean and accurate, for targeting appropriate prospects and for creating good content.  If your content and data isn’t up to a certain level, automation will not benefit your organization.  If you send blatantly inappropriate messages, it will damage an existing relationship.

Data has a shelf-life.  Things change.  People change.  Often what our internal database tells us about a customer may not be entirely accurate.  It takes a savvy marketer to deliver the right message at the right time.  Marketing automation can certainly increase productivity and returns, but with challenges involving technical knowhow, data accuracy and content relevance, it falls short of being truly effective for most organizations.

Much like goal setting, you must set initiatives for the short, medium and long term.  It is imperative that you are continuously reviewing the data, and how your technology is segmenting this.  Take the time to gather survey responses and reevaluate future campaigns.  Be prepared for content changes and rule revisions throughout the year.

Take Away:
Before you jump on the automated marketing technology band wagon, be sure to evaluate the premium cost of not only the solution but also the heavy internal lifting that will be required to get your strategy, data, content and touch point rules in place.


How (not) to write email subject lines

by Eleanor Heins

Email subject lines are often a last minute, overlooked item on many marketers’ campaign checklist. We’ve compiled a few ideas, industry standards and best practices to help get your emails to the inbox.

It’s not me, it’s you.
An email subject line should tell readers what is in the email in just a few words. A long message usually contains a chain of complex concepts. This not only makes the subject line difficult to comprehend, it also will likely to have the end cut off in the email client’s title pane. How many times have you seen 3 or 4 separate features of a product shoehorned into one line, with comma’s and semicolons gasping for breath?  Promotional emails and company newsletters often try to compress the entire company philosophy and product features into a single sentence.  There is a fine line between tagline and paragraph.

Industry Standard
Keep the length around 40-55 characters.

Best Practice
Do not leave email copy for just anyone to write at the last moment.  A staff member experienced in email marketing should oversee the process.  A list of previous subject lines and emails should be reviewed upon every send with their response rates in hand.

Status Check - Its Complicated
How do we keep our subject lines simple and effective? One of the greatest books for marketers ever produced is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think”. Run, do not walk (no, we are not affiliated) to your nearest bookseller and pick up a copy or download it to your Kindle for you tech types. The concepts in this book about web usability easily apply to email - the title says it all. Save the complex concepts for the cut sheets and the deep content on your landing page. If the staff in charge of writing the email copy says, “This subject line will really make them think!” Think again. If you don’t have time to figure out your email word jumble, neither will your customers.

Industry Standard:  Keep it simple….you know the rest.

Best Practice: See above

Examples:

“Opening Night – Acme Diner” versus
"A new cutting edge entertainment & dining facility is opening soon in your area - check it out NOW!

"Acme Toolkit Launch" versus 
“Is your business ready for Acme’s New Online Customer Management Business Solution Toolkit?”

Free Words to Avoid N O W !! Please Read and Save BIG $!
Everyone should already know that it is best to keep such terms as “free” and “cash” out of the subject line and content.  Even so, we are asked constantly by our clients about what words to avoid and what to use.  One suggestion is to watch your own activity. What did you just delete without reading? Why? Were you interesting in saving more on your generic service? No? Well, your prospects won’t be either.  First, safely open up a full junk mail box and flip through some titles.  Now, evaluate honestly. If some of the titles and content have a familiar theme, you may want to revisit what you are sending your customers. It may not be what they want to read.

Common SPAM Triggers
Here is a short collection of SPAM triggers, by no means all inclusive, that may trigger a trip to the junk email folder.  Of course, these are many of the words you will want to use...

New, Best, Price, Guarantee, Sale, Congratulations, Claims, Win, Buy direct, No gimmicks, Success, Help (insert topic here…), See for yourself, Save $, Risk Free, Please Read, Free Gift, Free Info, Hidden, Now Only, Limited Time Offer, and of course,  S P R E A D I N G   Y O U R   T E X T, and ALL CAPS.

Who are you?
The From Name and From Email should be clear and help users immediately identify you and relate you with your subject line.  What address are they used to receiving email from? If they aren’t familiar with this particular product from your company, then who on your team would they recognize? My junk mail is filled with names of people I have never heard of, many with incredibly long subject lines selling me everything from software to furniture to medication.  Delete!

Data. It is really, really important. REALLY.
A long, complicated subject line can be a symptom of a greater problem.  Is it possible your list has been decreasing in performance over time? Are these customers who you haven’t hear from in a while and there is concern that they won’t recognize your From Name or From Email? The subject line is no place to compensate for a stale, error filled database.  It might be time to refresh your CRM and get your sales team to identify who really is among your active contacts. The response rates will tell the tale.


Software Costs driven up by sponsorships? You bet they are...

Is a software provider you are considering in bed with every trade show and industry media outlet on the planet?  Do their paid search words cover the internet in all sorts of odd places?  Are they a Platinum Sponsor of VDP SnoozeFest 2010 and Cross Media Boondoggle 2011 in fabulous Maui?  If so, consider for a moment the high cost of sponsoring and exhibiting at these events. 

Who is really paying for all this?  The massive marketing expenses that these events and sponsorships entail are simply built into the cost of the product.  As we approach another large industry tradeshow, I have to stop and ask myself about the costs incurred and the value generated for the end user.

We believe that these funds should be spent on customer service and product development, not on dunnage, airfare, hotels and hefty sponsorship fees. Even firms lavished with venture capital don't have have unlimited resources.  Exhibiting at one major show buys a lot of customer service hours.  Which would you rather have – a demo by a hired "host" on a $4000 rented plasma TV or domestic phone support available on demand with quick turnaround on custom projects?

So the next time you are wandering through the aisles of flashing lights and cheesy contests and giveaways, ask yourself a few questions.

1. Should a software as a service firm really need a booth and high pressure sales people to educate prospects?

2. Is there anything going on at this software booth that my entire team couldn’t better appreciate during a webinar?

3. And Finally, who’s Paying for all this?

The answers are pretty clear.


New Study Shows Direct Mail beats Email

Here is the meat from from an recent article in Targeted Marketing that proves something we have konw all along.

"In a very recent study titled Finding the Right Channel Combination: What Drives Channel Choice, ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting, surveyed over 2500 U.S. and 2200 Canadian households, specifically targeting consumers in the 18-34 year-old demographic. The study found that these consumers overwhelmingly prefered—by two to three times—to learn about marketing offers via postal mail and newspapers, rather than online sources such as social media sites

Examples among merchandisers include 62 percent of this age group prefering personal care product offers coming in the mail while only 22 percent prefer online. Food products? 66 percent want the offline approach versus 23 percent for online offers. Over-the-counter medicine? 53 percent versus 21 percent."

For years the United States Postal service has reported that online sales were significantly higher when combined with direct mail and this study helps confirm that fact.  Remember the mail moment:
GraphicMailMoment2 
  
Such online giants as Google and Zappos advertise via direct mail, and if they need traditional marketing channels to drive traffic, chances are you do too.  Remember to drive all your marketign channels to a landing page to start a two way conversation and collect data.  Purls on the direct marketing peice will help improve repsonse rates and assure the prospect sees the correct content.

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