Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing August 2009 Newsletter:
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The New Direct Mail: Five Tips to Turn Print
Campaigns Into Gold.
By Randy Spurrier.
Response rates for relevant mailers are
typically two to four times higher than they are for nonrelevant mailers.
Which innovative techniques are results‑driven direct
marketers using for optimum response in 2009?
Twitter and Facebook might make for captivating marketing headlines, but
the same savvy chief marketing officers (CMOs) who are embracing social
media are also quietly reinventing a less-buzzy marketing technique:
As evidence of the crucial role targeted direct mail plays in the CMO's
portfolio, consider this fact: Targeted-direct-mail volumes in the US have
nearly doubled in the last decade.
Smart direct marketers are obtaining dramatic lift in results with "the
new direct mail," which uses new relevance technologies to deliver
digitally generated, one-to-one messages to prospects through the mail
that link to a corresponding Web component. The new direct mail moves away
from batch-blast campaigns—where every recipient gets the same mailer—and
instead delivers customized, relevant offers to each customer, driven by
customer relationship management (CRM) data systems.
Creating a relevant dialogue with digital direct mail works. Response
rates for relevant mailers are typically two to four times higher than
they are for nonrelevant mailers. And when customized direct mail is
combined with interactive elements such as personal URLs (PURLs) that host
relevant online variable video, triggered follow-up emails, and
personalized outbound sales calls, response rates can climb to 10 times
that of batch-blast mailers.
"The accelerating shift from 'mass' to 'targeted' direct-mail programs has
been enabled by an increasingly powerful array of marketing automation
technologies, many of which are making their way into the toolsets of
marketers both large and small," according to a recent Winterberry Group
One of those technologies, the "marketing engine," allows marketers to
create, manage, and customize direct-mail campaigns on a one-to-one basis.
Deploying this type of one-to-one direct-mail nirvana is much less
complicated, and less costly, than you think. Direct marketers already
have all the data they need in their CRM and data-analytics systems to
segment customers and deliver relevant messages that fit customers'
preferences, but many have lacked an efficient way to leverage that data
Interested in how to leverage your CRM data and jump-start your
direct-mail campaigns? Here are five simple steps to get you started.
1. Automate, automate, automate.
Using a hosted marketing engine allows you to create, manage,
and automate integrated direct-mail campaigns based on your data. The
engine should enable you to automatically and cost-effectively send
millions of customized print mailers and corresponding emails (each with a
link to a PURL with relevant offers and recommendations), and then,
depending on the customer's actions, automatically send a timely follow-up
via targeted emails, print, or outbound sales calls throughout the
2. Figure out what to say to whom—and the best
medium for delivering your message.
Knowing who to send a mailer to is different from knowing what to say to
Most CRM marketers have scored their data with RFM (recency, frequency,
monetary) analysis to select who is worth mailing to, but to drive
relevant messaging it will take different data-mining strategies, such as
propensity-to-buy modeling and purchase analysis that identifies life
interests such as health, green issues, or parenting.
That type of data segmentation plays a crucial role in delivering the
right message. Just as important is the media via which you communicate.
Some communications are challenging to get across with just static
pictures and words. Integrating PURL links with variable video can deliver
an educational, engaging experience, which can be much harder to get
across in traditional direct mail.
3. Think like a magazine editor.
An editor of a gourmet-food magazine has the challenge of re-engaging
readers each month on the same general topic. She achieves success by
creating a theme and tells the story through topical articles; new
recipes; and fresh, tempting images that appeal to the magazine's "foodie"
Marketers can take the same approach to marketing campaigns that leverage
propensity-to-buy modeling. For example, an apparel company that knows its
customers include those with a propensity for running can keep
communications inventive by maintaining an editorial calendar of seasonal
running topics and current events in those customers' communities and
offering running-related product selections.
Having a monthly theme to track is a simple technique to ensure that
propensity-to-buy models can be leveraged in a way that delivers relevance
with a fresh voice and gives the recommended products more life and color.
4. Enable an ongoing conversation with your
Good customers need nurturing. Communicate with them regularly
at timed intervals with automated print and email touches, and with PURLs
that have engaging advice and recommendations, guiding your customers
through the purchase process at every step.
Make sure your marketing engine is rule-based, allowing you to deliver
data-driven messages and "trigger" new touches or activity based on
interactive customer feedback.
The following is an example of such rule-based marketing: "Use a
customer-data event, such as an inquiry or a key purchase, to trigger a
timely follow-up mailing directing the customer to a PURL that contains a
relevant video. If the customer doesn't visit after two weeks, send a
follow-up mailing. If the customer visits and then phones the call center
but doesn't close within five days, send a second follow-up print touch
offering an alternative video recommendation."
With each additional touch, keep it fresh by updating the PURL to reflect
the new offer or product recommendation communicated in the touch.
5. Accept the limitations of your data.
Of course, sometimes you don't have enough data to be truly
relevant. But that shouldn't leave you out of the game. An "interactive
advice experience" is an innovative application of the traditional
face‑to‑face conversation that the best sales representatives have in
For example, Sears offers the Refrigerator Advisor, an advice experience
hosted by TV personality Ty Pennington that asks customers a few simple
questions about their needs (e.g., Why are you shopping? What styles do
you prefer?). This information is then used to tailor a relevant video
with specific product recommendations that best fit customers' needs.
By putting such an "Advisor" on a PURL and driving people to the advice
experience through emails or postcards, you can deliver progressively more
targeted communications to your customers and begin the data collection
that will extend over time.
By providing relevant offers, personal service, and customized advice,
you'll engage in a one-on-one dialogue with your customers that increases
loyalty, response, and conversion rates. And the upside of a deeper
relationship with your customers—as small-town shopkeepers have known for
hundreds of years—is a dramatic boost in sales.
Six Great Newsletter Ideas.
By James Palmer.
Ideas to help you publish your newsletters
when you run out of content.
For marketers, publishing your own electronic newsletter
can be challenging. Between project deadlines and other things, you've
already got a lot on your plate. Then you also have a newsletter to get
out every week, month, or quarter. Then it happens . . .
You've run completely out of ideas.
What do you do?
Well, first of all, don't panic. Panicking will just make it worse.
Secondly, follow these five guidelines and you'll find yourself coming up
with more fresh ideas than you can fit into a dozen newsletters.
1. Think Timely
Is there something going on the world that you can tie back in to your
business? Keep an eye on the local and national news, especially business
trends. Is there something there you can use as a springboard for an
article about your business?
2. Relate Your Subject to Something Else
Even a subject that has nothing to do with the focus of your newsletter
can be fodder for an article. In a recent issue of DM News, copywriter Bob
Bly wrote a copywriting article entitled: "Harry Potter and the
Irresistible Offer", in which he talks about an interview that J.K.
Rowling did recently where she mentioned having written the final chapter
of the last Harry Potter book over 15 years ago. That way, she would know
how the series ends and be able to tie everything that came before into
that final chapter.
Bob deftly tied this into direct mail copywriting, stating how you can
follow Rowling's advice by creating the offer first and then writing the
other direct mail elements. Genius! Not only is it a great idea, but Bob
was able to connect to something from popular culture–and what's more
popular right now than Harry Potter?–into an informative, helpful article
about direct mail. Now you try!
3. Answer Reader Questions
If you get a lot of questions from your readers, this can make for great
4. "Invite" a "Guest" Author
I did this a couple months back in my own newsletter, when I posted an
article by Ezine Queen Alexandria K. Brown. Many ezine writers put
permission to reprint at the end of their articles. All you have to do is
include their fully intact bio and contact information at the end. It's
free, viral marketing for them, and a free article for you. So if you're
stumped one month, just look back at the other newsletters you've
received. Is there an article that you particularly enjoyed or identified
with? Something that would be a good fit for your readers? Grab it and
send it out. Just make sure you've gotten permission, or done whatever is
required by the author for you to use their work legally.
5. "Classic" Reprints
If your newsletter has been around a while, try reprinting a "classic"
article from your archives. New subscribers probably haven't seen it, and
your longtime readers would likely enjoy a refresher course. Just don't
make a habit of it.
6. Interview an Expert
In your business, you've doubtless made contact with other business people
in fields complementary to yours. Why not interview them for your next
newsletter article? People love talking about themselves and their
businesses, especially if it means free advertising for them! Include
their bio and website link at the end. You never know, it could lead to
some joint venture opportunities!
I know it may not seem likely, but as any writer will tell you, coming up
with ideas is easy, it's the writing that's hard! Ideas are all around us,
but sometimes you just have to do a little digging to dredge them up. For
example, my lack of ideas gave me the idea for this article! So just look
around and take what you need from the world around you. Your next
newsletter will go out on time, and will be a killer success!
Win Yankee and Ducks Tickets!
Talon has great seats for you to win.
are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees and the Long
Island Ducks! To
win, be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email). Voice
Mail messages count so it's fine to leave a voice mail.
Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11. One set per winner.
All games will have fantastic seat locations.
Friday August 7th, Long Island Ducks vs. The Somerset Patriots 7:05 PM.
August 25th Yankees vs. The Texas Rangers 7:05 PM.
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Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter please
New Direct Mail: Five Tips to Turn Print Campaigns Into Gold.
Six Great Newsletter Ideas.
Yankee & Ducks Ticket Giveaway!
Mike Borkan's Links - Websites you probably
View Samples of our work.
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing
roster of customers:
Mike's Favorite Links:
Some interesting links...
Whatsinyourpaper.com - The
most straightforward, not-too-technical guidance on how to select paper
for direct mail campaigns.
Inc.com - The daily resource for
Financial Times - The latest
international business, finance, economic and political news, comment and
analysis from the Financial Times.
Fraud.org - National Consumer's
League's website devoted to Internet & Telemarketing fraud.
Kakomessenger - lets you send a
singing message instead of a simple text email. Basically, it's a
singing machine you can use as a web messenger.
43things.com - List your goals,
share your progress, cheer each other on.
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