Category Archives: Marketing

Do You Know How Customers Really Feel About You?

Think you know how your customers feel about you? So do three-quarters of companies. Yet a survey by Zogby Analytics finds that, while 73% of companies say they are “very aware” of their customers’ level of satisfaction with them, 36% of consumers say that companies are either “unaware” or “completely oblivious.”  That’s a big gap!

Furthermore, Zogby found that companies believe that “providing better informed and relevant customer conversations” (29%) is the best thing they can do to keep customers happy. Meanwhile, customers say “identifying common issues and resolving them” (32%) and “being aware of the interactions with the company, and resulting feedback” (29%) are the most important.

These are considerable gaps in expectations, and if companies aren’t careful, those gaps can create opportunities for competitors.

What’s the answer? Be intentional about soliciting customer feedback to identify what you are doing well and where you might be missing the boat. If you are missing the boat, find out how customers want you to fix it.

When was the last time you sent a customer survey? There are many ways to get that request in front of your customers. Add QR Codes to your direct mail pieces, in-store signage, and other locations to lead to online surveys. Create personalized URLs for your direct mail pieces. Use pop-up surveys on your website.  Even use text to send survey links. Customers will appreciate you asking.

Offer free gifts, entry into sweepstakes, and other incentives to encourage participation, as well. Customer feedback is invaluable, and it’s worth your time and investment to get.

Need help developing customer surveys? Talk to us about the many different channels you can use and how to get the most out of your investment.

Do You Know These 5 Loyalty Behaviors?

If you want to know whether your customers are loyal, there are five places you can look. These behaviors, called “loyalty behaviors,” are like breadcrumbs that customers leave that tell you whether they are loyal to you… or not. These are five behaviors you want to excel in! How would your company fare in each?

1. Repeat purchases.

Do you track your customers’ purchases? Do you know if they continue to buy from you after the first sale? If customers are not coming back, do you know why?

2. Recommendations.

Do your customers recommend you to their friends and family? Have you ever asked? A simple print or email survey can tell you a lot.

3. Forgiveness.

If a mistake comes to your attention, be quick to apologize and make things right. Send a letter (always a card or letter—email apologies fall short), offer a “we’re sorry” discount, or make things right another way. Use mistakes as a chance to deepen, rather than disrupt, the customer relationship.

4. Trust.

Here is another place surveys can play an important role. Ask customers to rate how much they trust you on a sliding scale. Create different scales for different areas of your company (products, service, customer care). If you rank low in some areas, you know where to get to work.

5. Willingness to try new things.

Happy, loyal customers buy more, and the more loyal they are, the more they buy over time. If you track your customers’ purchases, you can suggest upsells and cross-sells and alert them to new offerings based on what they have purchased in the past.

Customer loyalty is serious business. Knowing these five loyalty behaviors gives you a head start on where and how to focus your efforts to communicate with your customers and keep them happy, satisfied, and buying more.

The 5-Year Reason Branded Promotional Products Are Hot

Did you know that more than half (57%) of people who own branded promotional items keep them for five years or more? That’s an incredible statistic when you think about it. This longevity is one of the reasons that businesses are increasingly seeing the value in incorporating branded products into their marketing plans.

While many people associate branded products with cheap giveaway pens or giant foam fingers waved in baseball stadiums, they can be much more. They can be logoed caps and t-shirts to personalized flash drives, umbrellas, and leather tote bags. Branded items cost more than email blasts or direct mailings, but they are often kept for longer — not just weeks or months, but even years.

Not only do promotional products reinforce branding to the people using them, but also to those around them. Studies from the Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) show that, in many cases, branded products increase the chances that the recipient will purchase from the company. According to the ASI’s most recent Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study:

  • More than half of the West and Pacific region consumers report being likely to do business with the advertiser on their drinkware (54% and 53%, respectively).
  • More than half (51%) of consumers report being likely to do business with the advertiser who gave them an umbrella.
  • Nearly two-thirds (60%) of consumers report being likely to do business with the advertiser who gave them a power bank.

The key to results like these is value. Consistently, surveys show that people keep promotional products because they are helpful, so it’s essential to use high-quality branded products and match the type of product to the marketing goals of the campaign. Each time the recipient wears or uses the product, brand engagement is reinforced.  

The other key to success is matching the right branded products to the target audience. For example, promotional outerwear is owned by 43% of women but 57% of men. Conversely, women are more likely to own a promotional bag (57%) than men (42%). When you get the mix right, it leads to increased sales.

Are promotional products missing from your marketing toolbox? If so, let’s get that corrected right away!

Don’t Send Your Next Mailing Until You Read This

Getting ready to launch your next mailing campaign? Stop! Even if you’ve got the correct list, the right variables for personalization, and a “knock your socks off” design, don’t forget to double-check your content. Too often, businesses send the same messaging over and over again, and even if it’s still effective, it gets stale.

Here’s a five-point checklist before you send your next campaign.

1. How many times have recipients seen these images?

How many times has your audience seen the same image of your storefront? Or your award-winning BBQ? Is it time to take some fresh photos or invest in some new stock photography? Keep it fresh.

2. Is your message the “same old, same old”?

Think beyond features and benefits. Sure, you want to talk about the need your product solves, product pricing, and how your products stack up to those of your competitors, but it’s important to address how your products satisfy your customers’ lifestyle needs and emotional triggers, too—and those are constantly changing.

3. Is one discount better than another?

What’s your “go-to” call to action? If a customer has been seeing “50% off” for the past two or three mailings, it’s probably stale. So change it up. Try “buy one, get one free.” Even though it results in the same discount, it sounds different to the customer’s ear.

4. Get new testimonials.

When was the last time you updated your customer testimonials? If you still use the same ones from one or two years ago, your customers are probably glossing right over them. It’s time to get some new ones!

5. Keep it simple!

It’s tempting to overload your direct mailer with everything but the kitchen sink. Trim it down. Use simple images, easy-to-read headlines, and clearly placed calls to action. Don’t create confusion by cluttering things up.

Need help with your next direct mail messaging? Let us offer some ideas and help you test those ideas, so you know that you’re mailing what really works.

5 Insider Marketing Tips for Savvy Marketers

No matter what channel you are using — direct mail or signage, email or print advertising — a great headline grabs the reader and won’t let go. It makes them stop what they are doing and say, “Wait! I need to pay attention to this!”

Here are five “marketing insider” tricks that will increase the stopping power of your headlines.

1. Jolt the reader.

Jolt the reader out of complacency. For example, along one major highway is a billboard with a smiling senior woman and the headline: “I didn’t want my chest cracked open!” The billboard is for less-invasive heart surgery at a local hospital. Such headlines should not be used for the sake of shock value alone, however, but tap into deep emotions and move your audience from complacency to action.

2. Tie into breaking news.

Tying your products and services to current events increases the relevance to your audience and the urgency for them to act. Financial services take advantage of uncertainty in the stock market. Retailers of snow blowers and electric generators tap into predictions of early winter storms. What current events can you tie into?

3. Be an advocate.

Everyone wants an advocate—someone who will look out for them. The message is: We care. This is a technique used to great effectiveness by accident lawyers. “Hurt in an accident? We can help!”

4. Be a name-dropper.

This technique takes advantage of people’s inherent interest in celebrities and inside gossip. You may not know the star personally, but you can use a line from a movie, a TV show, or a newsy interview. For the financial market, it might be a quote from Warren Buffet. From the sports world, it might be LeBron James. In your market vertical, it might be a well-known industry leader.

5. Say, “I get you.”

Share the reader’s frustration. “Don’t you hate it when…?” Then solve their problem. Sharing in their frustration creates identification. Showing that you can solve their problem moves them to action.

Want more tricks for creating compelling headlines? Let us help you plan your next killer direct mail campaign!

What Is Lead Nurturing? Why Does It Matter?

For some sales, a single postcard or letter mailer will do the trick. But for more complex products, the sales cycle can be longer. In this case, marketers will often send different types of content at different times based on what their prospects require in order to move forward. Gently nudging them along with the right content at the right time is a process called lead nurturing.

Although the actual number of “touches” with marketing content will vary based on the type and complexity of products and services, lead nurturing has three basic stages:

Early/Awareness Stage: At this stage, the prospect may not be aware of your product, or if they are, their knowledge is limited. Your goal is to create that awareness. They can’t buy your product if they don’t know about it! At this stage, you want to provide free access to content. Early/awareness stage content often includes white papers, research papers, curated content, infographics, and webinars.

Middle/Consideration Stage: At the middle/consideration stage, the prospect is aware of your product but hasn’t yet made the decision to buy. You want to provide information that will help that process along. At this point, you can also start qualifying prospects as warm and hot leads so your sales team can stay in contact with them. Middle/consideration stage content is often gated, so you can identify and qualify these leads. The content might include RFP templates, calculators, guides, and analyst reports.

Late/Evaluation Stage: At this stage, you will be communicating only with the most qualified leads, so you want to make their purchase decision as easy as possible. As with the early/awareness stage, late/evaluation stage content should be free and ungated, including product demonstrations, success stories, and video testimonials.

Research shows that nearly 80% of qualified leads never convert into sales because of the lack of lead nurturing. Don’t miss out!

Need help with your lead nurturing process? Give one of our business development experts a call!

5 Reasons Print Stubbornly Refuses to Be Replaced

No matter how frequently marketing gurus prophesy the demise of print, and no matter how loudly and publicly they do it, print marketing remains the bedrock of any successful multichannel marketing program. Let’s look at five reasons why print is here to stay.

  1. It’s just prettier. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your JPGs are; a beautifully printed piece will blow away your screen graphics every time.
  2. You can’t avoid it. When you communicate by email, recipients can’t see beyond the subject line until they open the message. With clear envelopes, windows, and exterior envelope printing, you start communicating your print message as soon as the piece arrives in the mailbox.
  3. Print is one of many touchpoints. Today’s complex marketing environment requires multiple touch points. According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes six to eight marketing touches to generate a viable sales lead. Repetition is critical, and print is a critical channel in the mix.
  4. Print influences buying decisions. Marketers once thought that with the growth of e-commerce, printed catalogs would fade away. History indicates otherwise. Surveys find that consumers who receive printed catalogs are more likely (in one study, twice as likely) to make online purchases at the retailer’s website as those who do not.
  5. Consumers trust print more. Open your e-mail. How much junk email do you receive? Unless it comes from a known brand, people are skeptical of claims made by email alone. Print carries greater weight and authenticity than digital marketing. People continue to trust messages communicated in print.

Print remains irreplaceable in today’s “what’s in it for me?” world. While e-marketing is a necessary component in any multichannel marketing campaign, print carries benefits that online channels just can’t touch.

 

 

When Is Personal Too Personal?

One of the benefits of 1:1 marketing is the ability to increase the relevance of each communication by making the message more personal. By using the information you already know about the recipient, you can communicate on a more intimate, 1:1 level.

But this approach can also be misused. Individuals and businesses are very protective of their privacy these days, and rightly so. Customers want to know that their data is not only safe but that the marketers they do business with won’t misuse it.

What are some first steps you can take to ensure that your customers and prospects know that you care about their privacy?

  • Include an official privacy statement in your information-gathering materials.
  • If you are collecting data, include a notice of physical and data security procedures and a promise of confidentiality.
  • When personalizing your marketing messages, don’t disclose overly personal details (“Hey, Bob! Ready to default on that sky-high mortgage?”).
  • Be transparent. Provide full details about what respondents have to do to receive any prizes or promotional items.
  • Follow all opt-in regulations, including double opt-ins for email lists and providing the option to opt-out of future marketing contacts.
  • Assure that respondents’ information will not be sold to third parties.

Privacy standards, both in print and online, are always evolving. So stay abreast of the discussion. Talk to your customers to find out any other concerns and address them. The more you can assure your customers that their personal information is safe with you and that it will be used appropriately, the more you will win their trust.

 

 

Did You Know Personalized Printing Is Green Printing?

When you think about personalization, do you think about lower cost per lead, higher per order values, and increased ROI? You should. But you should also get excited about how personalized printing helps you go green.

Here are three reasons why:

  • Targeting means you send out fewer pieces of mail—saving trees, chemicals, and fossil fuels.
  • A cleaner database means that your recipients deliver fewer pieces right to the trash can.
  • Digital production has many green benefits, including no plates, no chemicals, and no spray powders.

Say you are a small college printing four-color catalogs to mail to prospective students. Each catalog is 252 pages, covering the full range of disciplines and activities. As a result, only 25% of the material is relevant to the prospective student. Now, instead of printing 252 pages, you print 64 pages of material relevant to each student. Not only does this increase the effectiveness of each booklet, but you’ve just reduced your consumption of paper, ink, and chemicals by 75%.

As another example, in a static mail campaign, you might send out 15,000 postcards to a generic list. With personalized mail, you are likely to select only a percentage of that list. This might be the top 10% of your customers, customers who are most likely to purchase certain products or customers who, based on defined triggers (such as an expiring auto lease), are most likely to be in the market for a new purchase. Now, instead of mailing 15,000 pieces, you might mail only 1,500. Not only are these offers more targeted and relevant, but you’ve just reduced your printing and mailing volume by 90%, a huge slash in your carbon footprint.

It pays to be green. Not only should you consider green alternatives because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s good business. Consumers want to do business with companies that are good stewards of the environment.

So double marketing dip

3 Tips for Optimizing Your Multichannel Marketing

Want to energize your print campaign? Combine print with other media to amplify its effect.

The most common channel pairing with print these days is email, but you might also want to consider text messaging, banner ads, social media (such as Facebook), and search engine advertising, as well. Each channel has different benefits depending on your marketing goals and the target audience you are trying to reach.

No matter which channels you choose, here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain consistent branding across all channels.

Different media have different requirements, so you can’t maintain 100% cross-channel consistency all the time. But whenever possible, use the same images, color schemes, primary messaging, and offers to maintain a consistent brand image and a consistent brand message.

  1. Think strategically.

Know what role each channel is supposed to play. If you are going to combine email with print, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to create awareness and anticipation of the print piece? Are you using email as a reminder to respond? Maybe if you’re driving traffic to a campaign-specific website, you might want to consider banner advertising in demographic hot spots.

  1. Create appropriate channel-audience pairings.

Ensure that you are selecting the best combination of channels to communicate with your target audience. You’re not going to reach as many retirees with text marketing as you are Millennials, for example, and social media preferences vary, as well. Sixty-five percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers say their favorite social media network is Facebook, and while Millennials overall prefer Facebook, too, among younger Millennials (ages 18-24), the favored social media network is Instagram.

There is a learning curve associated with multichannel marketing, but the ability to amplify and reinforce your marketing message can be invaluable. Need help matching your channels to your marketing goals? Just ask!