Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing June 2017 Newsletter.
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the Seasons Affect Your Direct Mail Campaigns
By Craig Simpson, Author and Owner of Simpson Direct,
For the best results from your direct mail campaigns, learn how responses
vary according to the time of year.
Some direct mail marketers focus so much on what
they mail to whom, that they lose sight of another variable that’s
just as important: when they mail. In my experience, most
industries have a good time of year to mail (when they get stellar results), and
a bad one (when you wonder if anyone out there is listening).
Do you know which season is best for you?
While you may have a general idea of good times to mail, you may
not know those weeks or months to avoid – when your response rate falls like a
stone. As an example, one of my clients mails sales letters about commodities.
You know, corn, wheat, sugar, etc. They teach people how to trade commodities
based on technical principles.
As you can imagine, one of our target prospects for this offer is farmers. The
idea is that they can learn how to “hedge” their crops by buying and selling
commodities. This makes them less vulnerable to changing market conditions. When
I first started mailing this commodity offer to farmers, I had tremendous
success. But...it didn’t last! After a few months, the response rate dropped off
the table, to almost zero. Why?
After testing exhaustively, month after month, I figured out the problem. It was
very simple. Farmers were NOT responsive during their harvest season.
Why? They are working 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t have time to
read the mail. Or think about learning something new. But...they are HIGHLY
responsive in the off-season, after the harvest. Knowing about this seasonality
allowed me to aggressively mail farmers in the off-season, and avoid mailing
them during harvest season.
Here’s another example. If you are a financial planner, do you know the best and
worst times of year to mail?
Financial planners get the worst response rates during holidays – Memorial Day,
Labor Day, 4th of July, etc. Their response is especially poor in November and
December when most families are super busy planning and spending their money on
gifts, travel, and food. What’s the BEST time for financial planners to mail?
The first quarter of every year. January is best since families are evaluating
their finances, and trying to find better ways to save and manage their money.
I send out over 250 mailings per year. I ALWAYS have something in the mail –
every day, every week. I’ve identified money-making seasons for dozens of
industries. And by mailing at just the right times, we are able to make the most
out of our mailing. Experiment with small mailings and compare responses over
Armed with information on the best times to mail, you can make the best use of
your advertising budget.
Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail
campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients. Simpson
is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc. and a respected speaker/presenter on the
topic of direct mail. He blogs at
Marketing Still Works in an Electronic World
Shana Richardson, Cuinsight.com
There’s no denying that the world has
dramatically shifted toward electronic communication, so many people
wonder if direct marketing still works?
The answer is a resounding yes, mainly because direct mail
has an 80 percent-plus open rate!
Google, the world’s most popular search engine, regularly uses snail mail
marketing to promote coupons for its AdWords programs and other services.
Credit unions are also finding that direct snail mail marketing is helping
them grow their loan portfolios, including mortgages and home equity
loans, as the real estate market continues to gain positive traction.
While the huge demand for email marketing services continues, credit
unions have seen success from direct marketing mailers, postcards and
letters. Credit unions have felt a resurgence of sorts in their return on
investment (ROI) when it comes to direct mail marketing.
Direct mail response rates took a tremendous leap in 2016 with a 5.3
percent response rate to house lists and 2.9 percent to prospect lists.
These are the highest levels the DMA has tracked since 2003. For
comparison, in 2015 the rates were 3.7 percent and 1.0 percent
respectively. In 2010 it was 3.4 percent and 1.4 percent.
“Some people say that direct mail is dead or it doesn’t work, but we’ve
seen just the opposite,” said Jackson Hunt, Vice President of Marketing at
Ser Technology. “When you customize the direct marketing pieces, members
feel they are part of the credit union. We have seen personalization
outpace standard direct marketing pieces without any personalization.
There’s plenty of research out there on the effectiveness of this.”
One advantage of direct mail campaigns is that they can be far more
cost-effective than mass marketing initiatives for small and midsize
credit unions, allowing them to cross-sell, deepen relationships with
members, loan growth and member retention.
Almost any type of marketing campaign has two interrelated objectives —
produce accounts and balances, and have a positive impact of underlying
customer relationship. The credit unions that do manage to track campaigns
focus almost exclusively on counting accounts and balances in promoted
products. However, without the broader relationship component, they may be
missing a material portion of the profit generated by a campaign
According to the Direct Marketing Association, Industries with the highest
use of direct mail are Financial Services — Banks or credit unions at 71
percent, Consumer Packaged Goods at 63 percent, Retail at 55 percent,
Travel or Hospitality at 55 percent, and Publishing or Media at 54
percent. Furthermore, 48 percent of people prefer direct mail for
receiving marketing from credit unions, and it’s not just the mid-life
members who want the information sent to their actual mailbox.
A study fielded by Experian shows that nearly every Millennial (ages18-35) owns a
smartphone, and 43 percent say that they now access the internet more
through their phone than a computer, compared with just 20 percent of
adults ages 35 and older. However, despite their hyper-wired digital
connectedness, Millennials as a group report that the last time they
responded to direct mail campaign was within 2.4 months. That’s less than
the average response time for all respondents. Similarly, Millennials open
the direct mail they receive at the same high rate of 66 percent as
To be successful, your direct marketing campaign should enable a high
degree of variability to service end consumer recipients with information
that is highly relevant and personalized to their needs, ultimately
leading to an improved customer experience. “Direct marketing is an
incredible tool that can add tremendously to the advertising plans of most
Credit Unions,” Hunt explained. “Today’s world may be more digital than
ever, but consumers still very much appreciate having tangible products in
In Marketing, Connecting Is More Important Than Data
By Dave Wakeman, Business2community.com
In the future, our
marketing has to be more about connection and less about analysis.
We live in a world where everything is “Big Data” or data
of some sort. You see this data obsession trickle down into everything we
do, especially the way we market and sell things.
Recently I was at a ticketing conference in the UK, giving the keynote
address on the future of live ticketing.
What was amazing in the days leading up to my keynote all
of the conversations I had with people from around the globe about the
challenges and opportunities in the world of tickets.
There was a lot of talk about knowing your buyers better. There were
discussions about improving the experience for them when they visit.
There was a lot of interest in helping make the buying journey easier.
The thing that was amazing was that these conversations mirrored some of
the conversations I had with executives and leaders in other areas.
Everywhere we go, we are trying to understand and know our audience
better. Everywhere we look, we see how our customers feel less connected.
We see our communities not be as tightly knit. This also plays out in our
marketing and selling.
At every corner, we see a new “ninja” or “jedi” talk about how to
maximize our SEO, our keyword placement, or some other digital technique
that is guaranteed to triple our results. The truth is, these
optimization strategies work on a strictly practical level. But the thing
is, if you are just transacting, are you sustainable.
Because more and more, our buyers are picking experiences over stuff and
connections over commodities. In the future, our marketing has to be more
about connection and less about analysis. More electricity and less zeros
and ones. Because data is great for analysis but not great for creating
connections and compelling stories.
What our marketing needs now more than ever is more connection, more
humanity, and more sizzle. Sizzle, not being something you can measure in
a spreadsheet. How can we get there?
If everything is about data and analysis, where is the emotion? If we
don’t have emotion in our marketing, there is no reason to act. That’s
where stories come in. Stories help us make sense of the world. They help
us know what to notice and what to ignore. Most importantly, they give us
the emotional energy necessary to take action.
Don’t Look At Big Group, Go Small:
We are infatuated with large data groups, but we often miss really
relevant and actionable items because we are looking only for the large
things. In the 2012 election, there was a story about the Obama data team
using a combination of data and message to target a specific bus route in
a swing state, making ad buys to hit that specific route over and over
In Martin Lindstrom’s book, Small Data, he writes that he
learned everything he needed to know about how to fix Lego’s brand by
talking with a kid that also skateboarded and noticed that one shoe was
more worn than the other, which signified that the kid had a
perfectionist streak in him and that he was part of a group that had that
same feeling. Which led to the insight that the path forward for Lego lay
in more complex models, not less complex models.
For us, we can look at the moments that we can delight, connect, or wow
our fans and customers. It is likely the small things that drive their
amazement as much as any of the mass things. And, in those small moments,
we learn a lot.
Make Your Marketing More Personal:
As we see more ads being created with less and less impact from the
spend, we see this being more and more true. The answer is not to double
down on volume, but to cut back on volume and amp up the personal or the
In Miami, the Marlins’ B2B sales team took part in a number of “sprints”
where they mailed interesting or unusual items to their prospects to help
start sales conversations. Things like signed balls, bases, and
merchandise. This personalization paid off as they increased their B2B
sales over 300% in one season.
All of us have the chance to be more personal. It means taking a step
back and not trying to reach everyone, just the most specific.
My friend, Stu Heineke wrote a great book last year called How To
Get A Meeting With Anyone. In that book, he said that your
marketing success lies in being personal, being unique.
That’s the thing about making your marketing more about connection,
connection means different things to different people. Personalization,
stories, and understanding the uniqueness of your targets enables you to
make that real.
Win Yankee Tickets!
Enjoy a great day at Yankee Stadium!
We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees.
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. These tickets are great seats and close to the field!
Tuesday June 20th, 2017. Yankees vs.
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If you do not wish to receive the Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter
How The Seasons Affect Your Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct Marketing Still Works in an Electronic World
In Marketing, Connecting is More Important Than Data
Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & Web sites you probably
View Samples of Our Work
Direct Mail Humor!
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster
Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:
Some interesting things to check out...
Hemingwayapp.com - Want to
improve your writing for blogs, marketing, and emails? This free app is
excellent for keeping your writing to the point and clear.
Interfacelovers.com - An
online magazine for creative professionals. They put the spotlight on
designers that are creating the future and touching the lives of many.
100millionbooks.org - If
you're looking for something to read - checkout: 100 Million Books -
discover a new book every time you open a new tab.
Oldcomputers.net - Take a stroll
down memory lane and relive past memories of personal computers. Perhaps
like me, you've owned or used some of these models.
- Festinating site by the History Channel that details many historical
events. You can even choose categories such as World Wars, sports and
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
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