Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing April 2018 Newsletter.

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Eight Reasons Why Direct Mail is More Effective Than Emails

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker, Digitalprinting.blogs.xerox.com

It’s an age-old debate, however the latest data makes a strong case for printed direct mail.

Supporters of digital media will say why drain your marketing budget on direct mail campaigns that nobody reads when you can contact your customers using the channels they prefer — television, social media, and mobile?

However, the latest data makes a strong case for printed direct mail. Sure, social media and mobile marketing are on the rise. But that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t responding to direct mail or that this channel is losing its effectiveness. That’s just plain false.

The reality is, direct mail remains a critical part of the mix. So the next time someone tries to tell you direct mail is dead, remember:

1. Direct mail doesn’t require opt-in

Unlike email and text messaging, you don’t have to get a recipient’s permission to send them direct mail. This means, even if a customer doesn’t subscribe or unsubscribes from your email list, you can still get in touch with them. (Which is why it’s always a good idea to get physical addresses from those on your email lists!)

2. Direct Mail Doesn’t Get Caught in the Spam Filter

“Yes, it may be skimmed by a gatekeeper,” notes Roger Buck, former director of marketing and new product development for The Flesh Company. “However, the odds are still much better – and it doesn’t contain a virus.”

3. Direct mail remains effective long after it lands on the desk

It’s the equivalent of taping things to your audience’s fridge. “We’ve had people tell us that they had one of our mailings sitting on their desks for months,” notes Andre Palko, president of Technifold USA. “Although they didn’t act immediately, we remained top-of-mind until they were ready to act. You don’t get that kind of staying power – or attention – with email.”

4. It’s still effective when the target recipient has moved on

“If you send an email to someone who’s no longer at a particular company, it bounces. If you send a postcard, the new person in that job sees it — and you’ve just introduced yourself as a vendor,” says Palko.

5. Direct mail doesn’t have to compete for attention

Email is an effective tool, but it can be overwhelming for your target audience. In 2014, The Radicati Group found that business users sent or received 121 emails per day. By 2018, this is expected to rise to 141.

Larry Bradley, owner of Proforma Sunbelt Graphics, writes, “The overwhelming volume of email received at work is a huge hurdle for legitimate email marketers. It’s hard to separate the junk from the legitimate email. As a result, a huge percentage of email sent to businesses is never read. Businesses don’t receive nearly as much marketing mail as they did a decade ago. That’s a unique benefit for direct mailers.”

6. Certain offers just won’t get traction by email

There’s a reason businesses are more likely to get lending offers in the mail than they are by email. B2B decision-makers trust direct mail more than email, especially for high value products and services. Mailers can also include a wide variety of trust-building content not possible (or reasonable) to include in email. Yes, you can provide links. But with direct mail, you get that content in front of them in a tangible way right out of the gate.

7. Direct mail can reach high-level decision-makers

There are only so many things you can do to make email look more important. But beyond writing a compelling subject line, most of them look hokey. Direct mail offers options like kits, dimensional mail, and unique packaging options that, by their nature, get past the gatekeepers. (Palko has used everything from metallic envelopes, lunch bags, packing list pouches and prescription bottles to mail letters. “They are not only fun, but they get opened!” he says.) While these mailings may have higher price tags, they can also get near 100% open rates. When you’re trying to reach the C-Suite, that’s worth a lot.

8. Direct mail drives social media and online marketing

Many people believe you don’t need direct mail when you have social media and mobile marketing. What they’re overlooking is how social media and mobile marketing relationships get captured in the first place. Very often, it’s through print. Saying that you only need social and mobile is akin to saying that when you buy a house you only need the upper stories and not the foundation. Without print, getting social and mobile engagements is much more difficult.

Don’t let digital marketers get away with stealing your customers based on false contrasts. Open the discussion about the benefits of direct mail versus email—and when to use each. Be proactive and let direct mail showcase what you can do.

Technology to Transform Direct Mail in 2018

By Jason Sullock, Itproportal.com

With the rise in companies turning to direct mail, the technological advances and developments in the industry are staggering.

Direct mail is one of the more traditional forms of marketing - one that had been put to bed but has now been resurrected. In the digital age, direct mail is experiencing a boom, with even the world’s biggest social media platform, Facebook, turning to the advertising technique.

In 2018, consumers expect more from brands and, subsequently, their marketing campaigns. Their digital footprint reveals their buying habits, wants, needs and even the photos they take, and companies need to produce innovative ads to hold onto their existing customer base, while expanding their reach. Washington Direct Mail, a leading direct mailing house in the UK, are revealing the trends they are witnessing change the face of the industry permanently.

According to recent studies, more than 269 billion emails are sent daily. The chances of your marketing campaigns getting lost in the sea of spam is only set to increase as we rely more on technology. However, compared to that statistic, direct mail is said to be kept in the house for 17 days, with 87% of consumers trusting messages within direct mailing, and only 48% trusting what is said in emails.

With the rise in companies turning to direct mail, the technological advances and developments in the industry are staggering.

Multi-Channel Integration

Multi-channel integration refers to the combination of the primary forms of marketing: digital and direct mail. While they both drive results on their own, we are seeing more examples of companies integrating the advertising methods. The synergistic advantages of doing so are almost unlimited, with recent surveys demonstrating a 118% lift in response rates for those adopting multi-channel integration. By utilizing the technology of digital and direct mail and coordinating your message, you can hold onto your existing consumer base but further expand your reach.

Multi-channel integration can be achieved via a number of methods. For example, QR codes can be incorporated into the design of your mailing. The prospects can then scan the QR code to reach a targeted landing page, taking them to exclusive discounts and offers (their call-to-action). Alternatively, instead of placing a QR code on the direct mail, you can highlight a specific URL, encouraging them to visit for discounts.

From those URLs, or even QR code, you can track the amount of visits the landing page received, thus measuring the success of your campaign and whether to replicate it in the future. However, a call-to-action is crucial to the marketing campaign, as your consumers need a reason to visit your site. Without promising them an offer, for example, why should they do your company a flavor?

Programmatic Mail

For those in the direct mail industry, programmatic mail is the current buzzword. Programmatic mail provides companies with the power to transform online activity into hyper-personalized mail. For example, if a consumer was to browse your website, place something in their cart but abandon the cart at the last minute, you would, most likely, send an email reminding them to complete the purchase. While this may have sufficed several years ago, it doesn’t today. The email could get lost in your consumer’s inbox, or they may even delete it altogether. However, it’s difficult to ignore direct mail addressed to you and delivered through your front door. At some point, the consumer will pick up that piece of direct mail and this is where you stand out and utilize the power of images and call-to-action, with only a three second window to grab their attention.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and direct mail are two methods of advertising thought to never cross, but the trends are spelling the rise of augmented reality - and direct mail is following suit. Pokemon Go were the pioneers and Ikea have recently launched an AR app, allowing users to place furniture in the room and ‘try before they buy’. Adding a QR code to your direct mail is a method of incorporating AR to your direct mailing. Once they scan the code, a particular logo illustration or video comes to life.

Dimensional Mailers

Dimensional mailers should be considered by all brands looking to build interaction with their consumers. Dimensional mailers are exactly what you would expect: direct mail outside the envelope. Smart are a fantastic example, sending out cardboard helmets to consumers, encouraging them to construct a recyclable helmet. Dimensional mailing actively increased their web traffic and social media shares, proving direct mail can still increase engagement and, subsequently, revenue.

You must also note the importance of personalized direct mail when producing any form of direct mail. Personalized data is easily obtainable - from your historic customer database or to purchase online - and you should actively utilize this technology. If you do not target the correct consumers, or have an idea how to do so, you are wasting staff labor and, effectively, throwing away money.

Direct mail is strongly recommended to stand out from your competitors and engage with consumers. With the technological developments, these trends enable you to produce creative marketing campaigns to improve revenue.

Understand Your Customers, Understand Your Brand

By Marcy Riordan, 1to1media.com

Below are four ways to activate the valuable insight customers are already giving you to elevate your brand position.

Today’s customers don’t just want to consume products and services. They want experiences that over-deliver on their expectations and they are happy to recommend their favorite brands to others. And brands that encourage customer feedback, collaboration, and co-creation often reap impressive rewards. For example, 70 percent of companies that deliver best-in-class customer experience use customer feedback, according to research from customer experience analyst Esteban Kolsky.

Tapping into customer voices isn’t a new concept. The dawn of the internet age brought with it unique ways to listen to customers and understand their needs. The practice only grows as new channels emerge. In fact, 95 percent of companies say they regularly listen to their customers, according to CMO.com. But in reality, valuable customer insight is not being used to advance the customer experience. Only 29 percent of companies with VOC systems in place actually use those insights as part of their decision making. Things are even worse in the marketing space, where VOC data is used only 11 percent of the time by Fortune 100 leaders to make decisions that affect customers, says a recent Harvard Business Review article.

Customers already generate valuable data and want to be part of a shared brand experience. How can companies leverage such a wealth of information to create experiences customers crave and live up to a brand’s promise?

Four ways to connect data to your brand

With more data being generated every day and new ways to analyze it to create insight, data analytics can be used to help improve brand perception and strength based on customers’ own behavior and preferences. We see four distinct areas of opportunity:

1. Really know your customers. The combination of traditional customer data sources (demographics, transaction history, profile information) with next-gen sources give companies a much deeper understanding of who their customers are. While the data may live in many places across your organization, it’s critical to pull together as much relevant data as possible to create a robust, holistic data set. This includes online and mobile behavior, unstructured voice and text data, VOC system data, and other emerging data that may come from wearables, the Internet of Things, and the like.

Remember that often what’s most valuable isn’t the answer to the specific questions you’ve asked, but the unstructured insight found in open-ended survey answers or conversation transcripts.

Example: Recently, a company initiated a large-scale outreach campaign about a product recall. Yet unstructured data analysis showed that a large number of the customers contacted were not owners of the product anymore. Further communications were needed to connect with second-generation owners with slightly different messaging.

2. Align your brand promise to your customer reality. In today’s fast-paced marketplace, sometimes the direction of the brand doesn’t always match the reality of that brand’s customers. Analytics can help understand the current profile of a brand’s customers to see how they align to the brand today, and if they can be part of the brand’s future. Some brands may aspire to attract a different type of customer than they have today. Yet a deep understanding of current customers can help marketers discover how to be relevant and bring them along as a brand evolves. What are common areas of behavior or interest among current and future customers that can be leveraged? Analytics can help fuel prospecting activities to match the future brand promise without alienating current customers.

Example: Cadillac is in the midst of a transformation to reach younger customers. Its CMO says the luxury car’s branding is more “entrepreneurial, fashion-forward and art-focused” to entice younger, affluent customers. That positioning may also keep older, more traditional customers interested in the brand, as well.

3. Use research and create a dialogue with customers. Market research, surveys, focus groups, and other primary research tools are well known to marketers when working on brand strategy. There will be specific things you will need to know about brand perception and preferences before making brand decisions. Invite customers to participate in these activities to fill in insight gaps and keep research dynamic. Whether it’s research panels, customer communities, or influencer outreach, complement primary market research with actual customer voices to gain even more insight than before. Of particular note are investigations into what motivates customers to act in a positive way about your brand, along with what barriers may prevent them from doing so.

Example: A retailer struggled to quantify the ROI of a product-specific loyalty program. Traditional test versus control data was not available, because the program was universally offered. Research was conducted with customers following product purchases to ask the question, “would you have purchased this item in absence of the loyalty program?” The answers supported the business case for the program. Even better was analysis of the open-ended text provided about problems and desired benefits, which helped improve the program’s value proposition.

4. Understand the entirety of the customer experience. The customer journey has both negative “pain points” to be fixed and positive “moments of truth” that can be optimized to impact satisfaction and loyalty. More and more, companies are mapping the customer journey to understand where those areas of opportunity exist.

However, it’s not enough just to map the journey. Analysis of each of those moments is needed to determine the right actions necessary to improve the experience at those specific points, as well as how to prioritize investment to make the most impactful decisions. Customer journey analytics can help tie NPS, brand perception, and other customer metrics to actual financial outcomes like sales and profitability. Historical analysis can help companies develop forecasts of future growth based on customer journey enhancement. Yet it can be difficult, since many of the outcomes may not appear quickly. The financial impact of customer experience efforts can take one to three years to see results.

Example: An online service company was looking for a way to utilize contact center associates to improve the customer experience and also generate revenue. Through a journey mapping exercise, several pain points in the customer service process and missed revenue opportunities were identified. Too many, in fact, to implement. Using analytics to create a rigorous business case for each modification to the journey was the only way to establish prioritization. The output enabled quantification of the impact to NPS and customer retention for each proposed initiative.

These four steps will help set your company on a journey to better understand what customers are already telling you, both directly and indirectly. This should be used to inform decisions about your products, services, messaging, and company culture. All of these roll up into the brand positioning, which is a dynamic entity. Consistent, continuous customer insight will keep the brand fresh and relevant.

Win Brooklyn Nets Tickets!

Enjoy a great day of Basketball!

We are giving away two tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets. 

All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.  Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

  • Monday April 9, 2018.  Nets vs. Bulls 7:30 PM.

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

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In this Issue:

Eight Reasons Why Direct Mail is More Effective Than Emails

Technology to Transform Direct Mail in 2018

Understand Your Customers, Understand Your Brand

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & 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:
  • Fortune Builders

  • Health Research Laboratories

  • 4 New Lists From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Inboxwhenready.org - This Chrome extension will help you check your inbox with reasonable frequency, batch process your email on a regular schedule and minimize the total time you spend in your inbox.

Witeboard.com - A real-time whiteboard for your team. No signups required.

Laserlike.com - An interest search engine designed to find relevant, timely and engaging content for all your interests.

Robokiller.com - RoboKiller automatically blocks over 100,000 telemarketers and robocalls from ringing, even if they are spoofing or changing their numbers. Take back your phone & get revenge on the spammers. Note: this app costs $2.99 per month and there are some that work well that are free.

The Podcast App - A powerful podcast search combined with a design that makes it extremely easy to use.

Mirror-ai.com - The world's most personal emoji. Take one selfie and create hundreds of personal emojis of you and use them in all messages.

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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