February 2016 - Freshen Up! Give Your Mailing List a Makeover!

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When was the last time you updated your customer or marketing database? One month? One year? Five years? Never?

Your marketing database is the list of contacts and everything you know about your current and prospective customers that enables you to create targeted and personalized marketing pieces. It might include name and address, email address, birthdate, age, gender, and a variety of other demographic or even psychographic information. It is your lifeblood.

Although you may run your list through NCOA or CASS on a regular basis, when was the last time you really gave this database a second look? Added a new variable field? Broadened into a new vertical market or geographic territory? There are three ways to freshen up your data.

Purchase a new list. Freshen your database by infusing it with new names. That starts with profiling your existing data so you know who your best customers are. Then you can purchase a list of new names that look just like them.

Add to an existing list. Are you looking to beef up your list with email addresses, mobile phone numbers, or demographics? Working with a third-party data provider, we can append this list with just the variables you want. Most data houses do what is called a “triple check,” which verifies the data in three different places before you buy it. This allows you to be certain of its accuracy.

Conduct your own surveys. You can do your own data gathering through customer and prospects surveys using feedback forms, personalized URLs, QR Codes to online forms, or other techniques. Because these contacts have already communicated with you, they are prequalified as being interested in a relationship with your company.

Interested in what a new list, data append, or customer survey can do for you? Just ask!

April 2016 - Creative Customization

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Proven Success with the Perfect Blend of Data
Customization and targeting are best practices that every marketer should have in their back pockets. That means taking the data you have on your customers and putting it to work. If you need some inspiration, Direct Marketing News recently shared the stories of marketers on the leading edge of segmentation personalization. Here are some highlights that we hope will spark your creativity and get you excited about where your data can take you.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts
This diverse hospitality brand had lots of data on its customers, but this data was spread across the organization in more than 100 different systems. By combining its data into a single, unified database and filling in the holes, Xanterra gained insight into as many as 300 new characteristics and attributes for each customer. Thanks to the data integration and upgrade, one of Xanterra’s resorts reported revenue from its marketing emails rising by more than 800%!

For this health information website, increasing profitability was all about understanding behavior. To boost reader engagement, Lifescript invested in understanding the behavior of people who interacted with its site. This allowed it to build a deeper understanding of each reader’s health concerns and lifestyle, create predictive models, and boost its YOY on-site advertising revenue by 20%.

British Petroleum
Just because customers have similar demographics and buy the same product doesn’t make them equally profitable. That’s why BP has started taking a closer look at its profitability data. Two customers may fill up their gas tanks at the same time, but one may purchase regular gas once per month and the other may purchase premium once per week. For this reason, BP has started looking more deeply at frequency and gas type. Then it developed 26 different personas based on the loyalty program participant’s age, income, home
ownership, presence of children in the home, and transactional data. By purchasing additional data, BP also gained insights into members’ lifestyles, hobbies, and interests. By combining profitability, demographic, and psychographic data, BP can now target its most profitable customers differently. That’s marketing rocket fuel!

Johnston & Murphy
The premium footwear and apparel company has a robust segmentation strategy, but its customers tend to stay within product categories. To boost cross-sells, it decided to offer “surprise and delight” incentives to customers who make large purchases. If they purchase more than $1,000 worth of merchandise, they receive a $50 gift card to use toward exploring new categories.

For large brands, it’s not a matter of whether they are personalizing. It’s their level of personalization and how well they execute it. We hope these examples provide inspiration and creative mojo for others looking to explore the tremendous possibilities that today’s technology and personalization workflows offer.

June 2016 - A Steady Drip

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Nurture leads and sell more with drip marketing

One of the most powerful tools in marketing these days is drip marketing. The concept is based on irrigation—slowly watering the prospect until the lead is mature enough to be harvested as a sale. But drip marketing is more than bombarding a prospect with information.

Drip marketing is based on the concept of lead nurturing. It is the practice of sending regular marketing communications, often through multiple channels, to move a customer through the sales funnel over time. To do this, marketers use a combination of direct mail, email, mobile marketing, newsletters, and other content at the appropriate stage of the sales process.

Let’s take the example of an automotive dealer:

Auto Drip Campaign

Susan comes to the manufacturer’s website and begins research on a new car. She decides to “create her own car” by choosing model, color, and options. She then downloads a PDF of “her” car that she prints out and shows her family.

Downloading the PDF is a trigger to the auto manufacturer that Susan is more than a casual browser. Susan receives a thank-you email that provides her with the name and address of her local dealership where she can take “her” car for a test drive.

If Susan does not schedule a test drive within a certain time frame, she receives a personalized letter from a salesperson outlining reasons why now is the time to buy and offering Susan personalized incentives to come in.

If Susan does not come in for a test drive, she receives another email encouraging her to do so.

If Susan comes in for the test drive but does not buy the car, two or three days later she receives a glossy brochure in the mail, with more details about the car and an incentive to purchase.

Once Susan makes a purchase, she receives a thank-you package from the dealership and is moved into the customer retention funnel for the dealership’s service department.

This is drip marketing—sending multichannel communications appropriate to each stage of the sales process to move the prospect along each stage to the buying decision. Drip marketing programs are highly effective and are uniquely tailored to the sales cycle of each product or service.

Talk to us about creating a program uniquely tailored to you!



June 2016 - Taking Aim

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Print Catalogs Make a (Targeted) Comeback

They’re back! Print catalogs are making a comeback. Familiar names like J. C. Penney, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue that once eliminated their print catalogs are bringing them back in the form of more targeted, specialized versions—and for good reason. Consumers love them.

We see this anecdotally, but we see it in new research as well. In its study “Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth,” InfoTrends found that . . .

...64% of consumers “regularly” or “almost always” read printed catalogs
...74% of consumers like catalogs and consider them useful tools to learn about products
...90% of consumers use catalogs to learn and get ideas about things that interest them
...Consumers spend an average of 8.1 minutes reading a catalog
...62% of consumers who receive catalogs made a purchase within the past three months that was influenced by the catalog

It’s not just consumers who love catalogs. Increasingly, marketers, including those who once eliminated print for e-catalogs only, are finding they can’t live without them.

In an interview on MSNBC, Paul Trible, cofounder and CEO of Ledbury, a manufacturer of high-end, luxury shirts, noted that customers they acquire via catalog buy 1.5 times more than e-commerce customers they acquire online. 

Nordstrom found that customers with a multichannel relationship with the brand spend 4 times as much as those who are online only. In fact, 20% of the website’s first-time customers place their orders as a result of having received a print catalog in the mail. Not only this, but they spend one and 1.5 times more than new shoppers who didn’t.

Print-to-mobile technologies like QR Codes are becoming a critical part of the mix, as well. According to the InfoTrends study, 23% of consumers who received catalogs with QR Codes have scanned these codes, including 34% of Millennials (those between the ages of 25 to 34), the highest percentage of any age group.

Even if you don’t use printed catalogs, the lesson for print is clear. There is something about print, whether direct mail, catalog, or marketing collateral, that compels interaction with the brand in ways that digital alone cannot.

This article drawn from coverage of InfoTrends’ “WhatTheyThink” study (December 17, 2015).

July 2016 - Lessons On Loyalty

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Client retention costs less than client acquisition — 
engage your current customers and keep them coming back

Business experts agree that it costs less to keep an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one and that engaged customers tend to purchase more over time. But what is the best way to make that happen? The answer is to use a mix of personalized direct mail, personalized email, social media, and mobile to stay out in front of them on a consistent basis.

How does this work? Just look around!

Do you have multiple catalogs (many from the same company) stacked on a desk or bookshelf?

Is there a direct mailer from your auto dealer taped to your fridge reminding you to bring in your car for a checkup?

How many opt-in emails with new product announcements and special deals have arrived in your inbox just in the last week?

While reading this, did you receive a text alert for some kind of flash sale at your favorite retailer?

If you’ve “liked” a company’s page on Facebook, have they asked you to participate in some kind of social media contest by sharing a story or uploading a picture to their page?

It’s all about maintaining customer engagement over time.

Realtors are great at this. Once people close on a new home, they often begin receiving postcards from the realtor who sold it to them. Postcards typically arrive with the change of seasons and can be personalized based on the home. In the spring, families with large lawns might get tips on choosing a landscaper. In the fall, families with pools might get tips on closing them down. Families up north may get tips on winterization.

The slow, regular drip of personalized, relevant content keeps the realtor top of mind long after the closing. Why do they do this? If the homeowner’s friends and family are looking to make a move, the realtor wants to get the referral. If the homeowner eventually needs to sell the home, the realtor wants to be the first one they call.

Whether you are selling toys, clothing, jewelry, or sporting goods, the principle is the same. Maintain the relationship through regular communications to keep your customers engaged and continually reinforce your brand. Use a mix of channels to engage people in different ways, continually feed them information on new products and services, and keep them coming back.

Need help? Give us a call!