Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing March 2015 Newsletter.

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Print Bounces Back to the Top of Direct Mail Marketing

By Barbara Perkins, blogs.seacoastonline.com  

While digital, offers a cheap and quick point of entry, it falls short at providing evidence that it works.

Complaints about unwanted banners, pop-up ads and unrequested email have skyrocketed. Indicators point to an overload of online messages being sent to folks who don’t want to hear them. Toss in security breaches or computer viruses and the world of online marketing is not only plagued by too much noise, it is now all-out interruptions.

Consumers fed-up with bloated in-boxes come as no surprise to John Sobczak. An industry veteran, with Hampstead, N.H.-based RAM Printing, Sobczak says he personally gets more than 200 emails a day. “I don’t have time to deal with that either,” he says. However, customers angered by online marketing is precisely the type of news that bodes well for companies like RAM – one of a handful that remain smitten by print.

The origins of the digital disruption slowly took shape in the early 2000’s. That’s when internet, email, online gaming and social media platforms were welcomed advertisers joining in on the marketplace noise. These inexpensive new ways to reach the masses grew in popularity while print spiraled to new lows. By 2013, the number of mail pieces handled by the postal service fell to 158 billion.

“Direct mail today is very different from what it was in the past,” says Sobczak. “We try to reach folks who actually want to read their mail.” Among his responsibilities, Sobczak advises clients on best practices for building, maintaining and streamlining in-house databases. Advances in data-mining, personalization and targeting techniques, have changed the game. Mass mailings blanketing consumers is simply an outdated concept. What RAM does instead is more of a one-on-one type campaign. In effect they manage existing relationships between their clients and their customers – creating value for both.

Ushering in an era of enormous discounted marketing costs, the surge in internet marketing has fostered a renewed interest and commitment to address print’s perceived impact on the environment.

Sobczak quickly ticks off a number of ways that RAM adheres to sustainable business practices. Consuming less energy and generating less waste are starters, then there’s the ink. While some printing companies use oil-based inks; RAM’s are vegetable-based. There’s no compromise on quality or color and the green-friendly options make economic sense.

While the company didn’t initially launch with sustainability in mind — they were quick to embrace it. RAM was among the first printers in New England to become affiliated with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), “We wanted to make a swift and clear demonstration of our commitment to sustainability,” says Sobczak. So even if clients dictate their paper choices, RAM ensures that only paper which is FSC certified is procured. RAM Printing was also one of the inaugural Business Partners in the Green Alliance. A community-based consortium formed in 2009, the Green Alliance works to promote area companies that embrace and champion environmentally sound business practices, policies and concerns.

“When it comes to direct mail, a lot of people just assume using paper is not so great,” says H. Bradley Kahn, communications director of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). But direct mail works he says. Take California-based Patagonia Inc., a company that’s considered very environmentally aware. They use direct mail all the time, says Kahn. And they always print on FSC certified paper. “When a company like RAM aligns with us, it communicates that they too value the environment,” says Kahn. Not only does seeing that FSC logo send a message to consumers that RAM cares about forests, but it sends a signal to the landowners, paper mills and even the truckers – every link in the paper chain – that the way they do business really does matter.

Paper used in direct mail campaigns germinates from the forest, and forests, when properly managed, are renewable. If companies and consumers stop using paper, landowners will eventually use their property for other things – in some instances that means clearing the way for urban sprawl and development according to Kahn.

“Using paper along with other media can really impact the effectiveness of marketing campaigns today,” says Dennis J. McCarthy, a director with South Carolina-based Blackbaud Inc. a marketing and fundraising consulting firm whose roster boasts 30,000 clients in 60 countries. Catalogs and other print pieces encourage phone calls, store visits and website purchases he says. An integrated marketing guru, McCarthy, attributes the current direct mail rally to better messages and more prudent mailings. People will pay attention to it now because direct mail in its latest incarnation is so much more targeted and interactive. “People really do like to touch things,” says McCarthy. “They like to turn pages.”

How to Track and Measure the Success of Your Postcard Campaign

By M. Marlin, PowerHomeBiz.com

Tracking the results of your promotional postcards is key to determining the success of your campaign.

Unfortunately, many businesses simply drop their postcards in the mail, hope for the best, and never bother to keep track of response rates.

Not keeping track of response rates is a sure-fire way to misjudge the effectiveness of your message and miss out on opportunities for improvement.

But don’t worry! Tracking the results of your postcard marketing is very simple, even for beginners. You don’t need sophisticated marketing technology. All you need is a clear plan of action for how you (or your staff) will track response rates and present the results once the campaign is over.

Steps on How to Track Your Postcard Campaign

Let’s work on this strategy together.

1. Designate a point person to oversee the campaign.

This will likely be a project manager or marketing specialist who be in charge of executing the campaign and compiling all information, including mailing list size, response rates and so on.

2. Put a special phone extension or web address on your direct-mail postcards (if possible).

This will ensure that most people who respond to your postcard will be directed to a dedicated line, salesperson or landing page.

3. Notify all necessary sales reps.

Anyone who answers the phone or deals directly with customers should know about the postcard marketing campaign. Instruct them to keep careful track of all customers who are responding to the promotion, which ones convert into sales, etc. Make sure they know to enter this information into the appropriate system, or to simply relay that information to the main point person.

4. Track everything.

How many postcards? How many calls? Website visits? Sales? You’ll need this information to figure out the final results of the campaign.

5. Calculate your most important response rate.

Divide the number of people who responded to your campaign (or performed whichever action was desired. i.e. a sale) by the total number of promotional postcards your mailed. For example, if you mailed 10,000 postcards and 500 people responded, your response rate would be 5.00%. Not bad!

6. Create a report.

Have your point person turn all the data into a clear, easy-to-understand report. The more information included, the better, especially if you’re doing A-B split tests. Make sure everyone involved with the campaign, including your creative teams, get a copy of this report. Even better, go over it together and highlight the most important findings.

7. Use the data to make improvements on your next campaign.

Don’t worry if your first batch of promotional postcards bombed. Use what you learned to make it better and try again. This is important for all forms of marketing, and postcard marketing is no exception.

Get a Grip on Your Data

By Shannon Duffy, btobonline.com 

With the real-time flow of information, the data world demands constant updating—if you don't keep up, your business data will quickly go bad.

All marketers are guilty of neglecting their data at some point. We understand that numbers are important, but our competing creative side is bored with the monotony of data entry and updates. With the real-time flow of information, the data world demands constant updating—if you don't keep up, your business data will quickly go bad. When your information is out of date, your messages aren't hitting your target audiences. Leads slow down, and so does your company's growth.

While the flow of real-time information has increased, what hasn't changed is that marketers still need to have control over their data in order to fill the funnel with prospects. Get a grip on your data with these three steps and reap the benefits of a full funnel:

Zero in on what matters.

With the data buffet available to marketers today, it's easy to become a glutton. The problem is the time wasted collecting, sorting and sharing irrelevant data could have been spent on refining the data points that mean the most to your customers. More isn't always better; instead, zero in on what's most impactful to your business and keep it up-to-date. This year, get the most from the Big Data buzz by defining the stats that closely tie to your business and help your team the most. Select the necessary data components and forget the rest.

Create a framework.

Once you know what information your team needs to be successful, creating guidelines and a framework for data input is a must. As you look through your databases today, chances are you have more than a few empty fields. It may not seem like a big deal, but over time standards will drop and your database will deteriorate.

The best way to avoid a bad database is to understand the information needed for success and require that your team inputs the designated data when they add a new contact. In addition to new contacts, hold your team accountable for regularly updating their records. Or better yet, invest in a service that will update your information automatically through crowd sourcing.

Maintain visibility.

Maintain visibility between sales and marketing teams. After data points are agreed upon and baseline requirements established, making that information accessible is the next step to keep your head above water. For years information has been hidden behind IT gatekeepers. Marketing and sales teams would make requests for lists and eventually receive stale databases in a first-come, first-served manner. But now the cloud has enabled the democratization of data across departments. Sales and marketing teams can update and share information on the Web to take advantage of the most recent data possible.

Data can be a difficult component of the marketing mix to master. It's not as attractive as creating fun campaigns, but it's crucial to customer success and business growth. By defining necessary information, establishing baseline requirements and improving transparency, marketers can maximize their data's potential.

Shannon Duffy is VP-marketing at Salesforce's Data.com. She can be reached at sduffy@salesforce.com.

  Ticket Giveaway!   

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away a pair of tickets to see the New York Islanders!  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. 

  • Tuesday March 24th, 7:00PM.  Islanders vs. Minnesota Wild

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Print Bounces Back to the Top of Direct Mail Marketing

How to Track and Measure the Success of Your Postcard Campaign

Get a Grip on Your Data

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • Military Autosource

  • Rosemont Press

  • 3 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

freeconferencecall.com - Free conference calls are easy to use, requiring only an email to receive an instant account. You're provided with dial-in number and Meeting ID for immediate phone conferencing. You can have up to 1,000 callers on an unlimited number of free conference calls.

pakible.com - Great site for those of us in the Direct Mail field - Create custom packaging online. Brand it today, ships to you tomorrow.

ifonly.com - Delivers extraordinary experiences with top talent in sports, music, entertainment, food, wine, golf, tennis and more, all while benefiting deserving charities.

celebcalls.com - Personalize your voicemail greeting with our celebrity's voices

branded.me - The easiest way for professionals to create stunning personal websites in minutes for free.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on image below to enlarge.

Do you need help marketing to your clients?   Talon can help!  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to increase revenue.

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