Purls Feed

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.

Graphic_diagram_crossmedia



New VDP Web Feature

JFM Concepts has rolled out a powerful new feature for the industry leading VDP Web cross media suite.  Users can now control privileges and account access on a very granular level.  This functionality allows either internal or third party users to be given only the permissions they need to specific parts of the utility.

For example, if you wanted to give access to a designer or data person, you can limit the areas that they can see to their specific task.  The following configuration would give access to a designer to manage content for web and email, but nothing else:

Privileges

For more information, please call us at 800-735-2578.


George Culbertson and GAP Marketing

This is a shameless plug from George Culbertson while he was presenting a Hewlett-Packard case study featuring VDP Web at Interact! 2010 in Chicago.


 


 


Know thy Customer!

Followers of this blog know that we are pretty merciless when it comes to bad direct marketing.  AT & T has joined the ranks of shame with this brilliant effort.  The following letter arrived in a generic white envelope and if I was not always on the lookout for the next great pitch it probably would have ended up in the trash.  Unfortunately for AT&T, I read it.
Att
 
I was going to add more commentary, but let’s skip to the chase.

Take Aways

• Only make relevant offers to the target audience and clean your data to make sure you know who you are talking to.   Never offer as “new” services (in this case 800#s and international calling) that the client already has.  The will feel poorly treated and unappreciated.  If you tell us that we are a high volume firm, we expect more.

• Provide a call to action and response mechanism on every piece.  Never make a prospect go looking elsewhere for a way to buy.

• Use multiple channels to offer choice to your customer – They may prefer another channel.  Use PURLs, landing pages, and the web to enhance the customer experience.

• If AT&T can’t use a campaign specific 800# to track response by offer then they should quit marketing.  Seriously, you’re the PHONE COMPANY.

• Personalization works:  “Dear Long Distance Business Customer” ?  Come on, that was lame in 1975.  We have a sales rep. We know her name. Why is this letter not from her?

Conclusion

Before marketing, analyze your data in order to provide a relevant and personalized customer experience.  If you offer a marketing product (in this case web and telephony) use it in every single piece of marketing, every time.  There can never be any reason that justifies ignoring these rules.

PS – Anybody have the number for Verizon? 


One to One: How hard can it be?

Here is another email from XM Pie that deifies all logic to explain.  In a header that claims “one to one” marketing, there follows a "spray and pray" email that contains one variable field and that is only the first name of the recipient.  There are no links relevant to the content, no PURL, no landing pages, no opt-ins, no two way conversation is started, and the list goes on.  Here is the message:

Email_XMPie 

What XM Pie did wrong
• Poorly targeted to the wrong audience
• Generic content that can’t be easily scanned
• Generic links to the main home page
• No two way conversation is started
• No easy opt-in mechanism is provided
• Verbose and boring text
• Poorly defined callouts and highlights
• Spam to a mined address (more on this topic later…)

What XM Pie did right
They sent something out (although sending the wrong message, to the wrong customer on the wrong channel may out weigh this)

Take Aways

• Drink your own Kool Aid
Creating and executing cross media campaigns takes more than paying ungodly amounts of money for a tool.  If you are going to sell cross media campaigns, you need to market using those tools.  There is no excuse not to make each touch count.  Don’t waste them with poorly executed drival.

• Understand your data 
Know who you are communicating with.  Break those prospects into segments and create a persona for each to deliver relevant content.  If you can’t do this out of the box, do data work first, then reach out.

• Don’t waste communications
Make every touch timely and relevant with easy opt-ins.  Start a two way conversation by asking questions, adding PURLs, using links to landing pages with content relevant to the message, utilizing segmentation and personas, and do this on every touch. 

There is no excuse to waste your clients’ and prospects’ time.  They may not give you a second chance.


"James Michelson of VDP Web talks about measuring ROI from specific marketing channels" by What They Think

After a presentation at PODi's 2010 AppForum, James Michelson was interviewed a second time by What They Think. Check out the video here:

James Michelson of VDP Web talks about measuring ROI from specific marketing channels

Transcript:

WhatTheyThink Video - Published on July 27, 2010

 

This is James Michelson from VDP Web, the Principal there.  One of the things we’ve had the most interest in during the AP Forum is how, as a commercial printer, do we really look at and how do I get into the sales process.  What are the challenges that become and what’s preventing our customers from really getting involved in cross media, in Pearls, in leading pages, in variable data?

Well, we found that in a lot of the case studies that are presented, there are all these different parties involved.  You have information systems and information technology and the agencies and all these other people that come together to pull that.  Well, the challenge is, how do I sell that group?  And would it be better for my sales process and my bottom line if I could look at it and go to one person and make a decision and that one person who makes a decision I can provide all the different services that they need?
 

Now, if we have access to data from IT, great.  If we can get creative from their Marketing Department or their agency, terrific.  But as the printer, if you can say to one decision maker, “Hey, I can take care of all of this for you, we’ll handle the process from soup to nuts…” then you can make it work.  One example is from a printed static piece, Harrah’s was launching a new – and we figured we were in Vegas; this is probably a good example.  We’re launching a new casino vote in Chicago, and what we’d like to do is we’re going to print these flyered pieces.  Terrific.  Well, let’s put on a test-to-win and a unique 800 number, and a generic landing page.  So, from one sales process, by adding those three collection mechanisms, the printer was then able to launch follow on direct mail campaigns, follow on collateral campaigns so they’ve got multiple runs of ink on paper from one print sale.
 

The other thing that does is now, that commercial printer is in charge of the data stream.  All that data is collected is sitting at that commercial printer’s location and they have control of the marketing process.
 


Data is still King

After a rather amusing response from XM Pie on the last critique of their email marketing, one would think that more attention would have been paid to the next drop.

Despite claims of sending only relevant and highly targeted email, the following communication was recently distributed.

XM Pie Weak Email thats poorly targeted


This sounds like a reasonable offer, until you get to the landing page…

XM Pie Weak Landing Page Callout


The recipient is not a customer. We don’t recommend that marketers send offers to people who do not quality for them.  I suppose it is possible the tactic may motivate a prospect to become a customer in order to participate in a sales pitch, but is it more likely to piss them off for having their time wasted.   That “block sender” button is suddenly more tempting to click.

Take Aways

· Understand your data file – if you don’t know who someone is, be careful what you send them

· Deliver the right message to the right prospect and make sure they qualify for the offer – this is especially true for financing or lease offers – develop personas and segment accordingly BEFORE you market

· If you manage to get a prospect to a landing page, take the opportunity to ask what they are interested in, do not only push information

Stay tuned for insight on CAN-SPAM and making sure your audience has actually opted-in to your communications.


James Michelson selected to share "Interest in Cross Media Print Sales" by What They Think

After a presentation at PODi's 2010 AppForum, James Michelson was interviewed off the cuff by What They Think. Check out the video here:

James Michelson shares his interest in cross media print sales

Transcript:

WhatTheyThink Video - Published on July 27, 2010

James Michelson of VDP Web talks about measuring ROI from specific marketing channels


This is James Michelson from VDP Web, the Principal there.  And one of the things we’ve had the most interest in during the AP Forum is how, as a commercial printer, do we really look at – how do I get into the sales process.  What are the challenges that become and what’s preventing our customers from really getting involved in cross media, in Pearls, in leading pages, in variable data?

Well, we found that in a lot of the case studies that are presented, there’s all these different parties involved.  You have information systems and information technology and the agencies and all these other people that come together to pull that.  Well, the challenge is, how do I sell that group?  And would it be better for my sales process and my bottom line if I could look at it and go to one person and make a decision and that one person who makes a decision I can provide all the different services that they need?

 

Now, if we have access to data from IT, great.  If we can get creative from their Marketing Department or their agency, terrific.  But as the printer, if you can say to one decision maker, “Hey, I can take care of all of this for you, we’ll handle the process from soup to nuts…” then you can make it work.  One example is from a printed static piece, Harrah’s was launching a new – and we figured we were in Vegas; this is probably a good example.  We’re launching a new casino vote in Chicago, and what we’d like to do is we’re going to print these flyered pieces.  Terrific.  Well, let’s put on a test-to-win and a unique 800 number, and a generic landing page.  So, from one sales process, by adding those three collection mechanisms, the printer was then able to launch follow on direct mail campaigns, follow on collateral campaigns so they’ve got multiple runs of ink on paper from one print sale.

The other thing that does is now, that commercial printer is in charge of the data stream.  All that data is collected is sitting at that commercial printer’s location and they have control of the marketing process.

 


The Three Tiers of Cross Media Marketing

While presenting at TS2 this year, a quick survey of more than 100 marketing managers and executives overwhelmingly agreed with the following:

 

• My budget is either the same or decreased from previous years

• My staff levels are unlikely to return to post recession levels

• The C-Suite is expecting to see social and cross media channels added to the mix

• There is increasing pressure to prove the ROI of every marketing expenditure

 

During a recent session I sketched out a diagram that may be useful for marketers looking to see where their organization fits into the scheme of things.  One on extreme is the low budget DIYer who uses a selection of free or inexpensive tools to create and distribute content across various channels.  The reason for this approach may be budgetary or a growth in experience that started with a newsletter to press release and continued to add channels and tools over time.  On the other extreme are the big spenders with fully integrated marketing automation systems and templated content that tie into enterprise level CRM systems that have dedicated support staff.

 

The challenge of the one side is that the manual process of logging into numerous systems and tools in order to create content is a pain in the backside and the result is multiple pockets of data that must be consolidated, usually without the assistance of a skilled data person.  The big spenders have challenges, too.  In addition to having to foot a six figure bill, front line managers, subsidiaries or division may not have access to the resources to utilize these systems to meet their emergent and needs.  Big systems tend to be difficult to change and customization is not a simple matter of shooting an email to IT.

 

Occupying the middle ground are those organizations that either do not have the financial resources to invest in a big system or have decided to spend the money elsewhere and those firms that have stretched into a cross media platform that will do most of what the big solution will do at a fraction of the cost.  Here is a breakdown:

 

Low Budget DIYers

 

Pro’s

• Easy to begin

• Low cost or free software products

 

Cons

• Labor intensive

• Data collected in silos

• Difficult to coordinate content across channels

• Difficult to coordinate content across divisions or departments

• Difficult to standardize and control brand, fit, feel and messaging

 

Estimated annual spend with setup included:   $ 700 - $ 900

 

Middle Ground

Estimated annual spend with setup included:   $ 1800 - $ 2400

 

Pros

• Blend of low cost and high functionality

• Low cost of entry

• Blend of self service and DIY tools

• Creation of systems by at any level of the organization is possible

 

Cons

• Systems may not perform every task desired

• May not offer complete automation of processes

 

Big Spenders

Estimated annual spend with setup included:   $ 40,000 to $ 500,000+

 

Pros

• Content can be locked down to only what corporate has approved

• Virtually unlimited customization and channels can be added

 

Cons

• Expensive

• Difficult and time consuming to implement

• Content can be locked down to only what corporate has approved

• Difficult to add products and content downstream

 

For those managers and executives with large budgets, the choice to select a fully integrated suite may still be worth reconsidering when the extra labor involved could easily be less than the license and setup costs of a huge plan.

 

Our advice:  For most firms, choose a blended system and create a body of content before you decide to spend the money and time to implement a huge marketing IT project.


Reflecting on QR Codes. Why the buzz?

As many of you know, JFM has jumped on the QR Code bandwagon that has been driving around in cross media marketing circles.  A client asked me point blank the other day (after reading our blog posts and watching a recorded webinar on the topic) why these things have taken off.  Are they a robust technology? What is the value for my customers?  Should I be doing this?

There are some great reasons to use QR Codes.  They are particularly useful when we want to get content or contact information into a mobile users device or let them capture information.

We think there are two reasons that QR codes have taken off. First, they are an easy addition to virtually any system.  A static code (or small batches of variable codes) can be generated for free from various sources.  Reporting can be leveraged by using a landing page or pass through to record the traffic so no new programming was needed to tie the codes in.  If its cheap and easy why not add it?

Second, and most important, it gave the industry something to talk about.  The buzz before QR Codes was trickle marketing and how it was the key to cross media nirvana.  Phooey.  Although trickle marketing makes sense for firms generating a significant number of leads, the time and complexity to develop the multiple touches for most opt-in campaigns made the idea cost prohibitive for most applications.

QR Codes, trickle email marketing, and even carrier pigeons have their place in the marketing mix when used appropriately.  A balanced mix that starts a two conversation and provides a demonstrated ROI can use almost anything.