Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing September 2014 Newsletter.

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Eight Reasons Why Direct Mail Still Works

By Lois Brayfield, Multichannelmerchant.com

Direct mail outperforms many tactics, particularly with prospects.

Multichannel marketers tend to get caught up in the frenzy of the next greatest trend. Online strategies are and should be a big part of direct marketing. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore some of the old-school tactics, like direct mail.

Sure, it may be true that mail pieces are much more expensive than e-mails, and many marketers often perceive direct mail to be old-fashioned and downscale.

But when used wisely and analyzed carefully, direct mail outperforms many tactics, particularly with prospects and certainly with many customer segments.

Here are eight points that illustrate how and why direct mail remains alive and well in the 21st century.

1. Intrusive

Unlike your Website, direct mail is an “active” format. Customers may find their way to your site, but a catalog or a direct mail piece in their mailbox is an intrusive tap on the shoulder that online-only activities don’t allow.

While e-mail shares the intrusive nature of direct mail, e-mails can get overlooked in a crowded inbox. Plus, consumers are conditioned not to open e-mails from unknown senders for fear of viruses or other technical catastrophes. And direct mail won’t get caught in a spam filter.

When done properly, a good direct mail piece will grab customers’ attention and incite them to act. That’s the intrusive nature of direct mail that no other marketing tactic can emulate.

2. Tactile

There’s something to be said for appealing to the senses. Direct mail delivers a tactile sensation that online activity can’t.

You can feel a mail piece in your hands. You can hear an envelope or tab tear open. You can see the images and key messages on the printed page. Websites and e-mail cannot compare to this experience.

The physical nature of direct mail forces customers to take note. And if we do our jobs effectively, the piece will pique their interest and encourage them to spend more time with it.

3. Targeted

At its best, direct mail is targeted to the customers most likely to respond. Whether you are speaking to prospects or customers, the best way to reach a specific audience is through direct mail.

But many marketers do not take full advantage of print’s ability to target — not only with lists, but with customized messages. You can tailor your direct mail creative to different lists — best customers, lapsed customers, even prospects. You can target customers based on specific activities and micro-segment prospects.

The more targeted the message and the list, the better the response. In fact, if you’re not customizing your print products, you may be wasting your efforts and creating “junk mail” that won’t get noticed.

4. Varied

While the cost of some direct mail, particularly catalogs, continues to rise because of postal increases, direct mail offers a wealth of other format options. Depending on the segment and on what you are asking the recipient to do, a postcard, self-mailer or three-dimensional package can get results much like a catalog — sometimes even greater.

But few mailers think out of the box with format and function. Direct mail doesn’t have to be solely about getting a sale.

For instance, how are you thanking customers? One marketer sent a 3-D “thank you” mailing to its best customer segment, adding significant incremental sales.

Explore the direct mail formats available to you. Work with your creative team and printer to see how you can find an innovative yet effective format. The more distinctive the format, the more it will stand out in the mail.

5. Measurable

One of the key reasons direct mail remains a viable channel is that you can test hypotheses and measure results. While metrics are getting better for online efforts, direct mail still reigns supreme on testing, measurement and analytics.

Even for companies that have difficulty tracking source codes, the use of matchbacks can still help you gauge a mailing’s success and analyze overall results. But with the multiple online hits and touches added to the mix, how you measure must change. The question becomes, which of those online efforts are adding incremental sales to your direct efforts? You can’t measure your mail efforts in a void!

6. Personalized

There’s no question that online technology has made amazing advances in personalization. But there is something magical about seeing your name in print.

And when a name is cleverly incorporated into a mail piece, the result can be increased sales. Personalization techniques can include working the recipient’s name into a headline, or calling attention to products he or she has previously purchased.

Think of personalization not just in terms of “your name here,” but also in terms of relevant and variable data.

7. Integrated

Direct mail should not be the only piece of your contact strategy. You should build your mail plan with direct mail as a component, a cog in a larger machine.

Use e-mail to pre-announce mailings or to remind customers of an expiring offer. Push traffic to your Website for convenient ordering. Tie in social media, using your catalog to promote the online presence.

Get creative with integration by producing an offer requiring a tweet response or that asks recipients to sign up for an offer online — anything that pushes a response, not just a purchase. Don’t think of it as a “circulation” strategy but as a “contact” strategy.

Several channels working together is powerful, and there are remarkable advantages. One channel should never replace the other — all should work together to form a unified campaign.

8. Effective

Direct mail works — period. A recent ExactTarget study conducted by Ball State University revealed that while e-mail plays a vital role in marketing communications, direct mail is still a dominant, prominent purchase driver for different types of customers.

In some cases, 70% to 90% of survey respondents made a purchase based on receiving direct mail — for all age groups.

Lois Brayfield (loisb@jschmid.com) is president of J. Schmid & Associates, a catalog consultancy based in Mission, KS.

Want Direct Mail Success? Use Big Data to Determine Your Ideal Target Audience

By Robert Cordray, adotas.com

Digital marketing may be the new buzzword, but the undeniable fact is that direct mail marketing still works.

The better a business knows its potential clients and customers, the more successful the direct mail marketing campaign will be.

The challenge is to dig down past the surface demographics to uncover more detailed and personal information—information that holds valuable insights marketers can use to obtain a clearer picture of who their customers really are.

Today, thanks to big data analytics, businesses large and small can access technology to determine the ideal target audience for their direct mail marketing campaigns…and here’s how.

Data Driven Marketing

Every day, mountains of data are being created through customer transactions, social media interactions, texts, emails, photos—the list goes on and on. As a result, all of this “Big Data” has ushered in the era of data driven marketing. Cloud-based analytics services can drill down through massive amounts of consumer data, sorting through consumer habits, social behaviors and past buying preferences to identify those consumers that are most likely to purchase a particular product or service. Armed with that information, direct mail marketers can boost the effectiveness of their campaigns by creating highly targeted mailing lists.

More Personalized Messages

Targeted mailing makes sure that the marketing message gets to the right people. And the personal insights revealed by Big Data analytics about the targeted audience can play an important role in personalizing that message to make a greater impact and a create a stronger call to act. For current or past customers, the message might focus on past purchasing trends as a means to make recommendations for future product purchases. “If you liked ____ you’re really going to want___.” In turn the message used to attract new customers could be more directly tailored to appeal to their specific tastes and purchasing trends.

Better Response Tracking

Data analytics offers solid solutions to help marketers better track the responses to their campaigns. One solution gaining in popularity is the use of QR codes on direct mail materials. Combined with analytics, QR codes make it possible for marketers to track and gauge campaign success by seeing how many customers actually scanned the QR code in real-time. In addition, through analytics and by adding a designated website URL to direct mail materials, marketers can track success by seeing exactly how many customers the campaign’s call to action actually drove to the website.

Better Tools to Measure Success

In order to accurately measure the success of a direct mail campaign, marketers need to get a clear picture of what worked well and what didn’t. They also need to be able to determine if the campaign was profitable. Analytics provides the answers to these questions in ways that are easily understood, such as data visualization tools.

Better Insights to Inform Future Campaigns

Post-campaign analytics provides marketers with valuable information about the customers who responded to the campaign by purchasing a product or service. This information, along with insights on what worked and what didn’t, will help marketers deliver more personalized, more targeted and more profitable direct mail campaigns in the future.

Benefits for Big and Small Businesses

Direct mail marketing does work. With all the hoopla surrounding digital marketing—a marketing tool that many companies still don’t know how to use effectively—direct mail remains a tangible marketing solution for businesses. And thanks to technological advances and vendor competition, business both big and small can benefit by adding Big Data analytics to the direct mail marketing mix.

Six Mistakes Marketers Make Daily

By Mike Volpe, Mashable.com

Avoid these six blunders and your marketing and bottom line will improve dramatically.

It used to be that "multi-channel marketing" meant ensuring that your print, TV and radio ads looked and sounded the same. Now, consumers have more channels than ever to interact with your brand, so creating an integrated marketing experience means getting everything right, from social to search, automation to analytics, and lead nurturing to LinkedIn.

Simply put, you can no longer afford to focus on one element of your marketing and put the rest out to pasture. Your prospects, customers and leads expect a fully integrated experience with your brand, and if your company doesn't provide one, your competitors will. Below are six mistakes most marketers make daily, and some suggestions on how to address them.

1. Marketing without a content strategy (or with a boring one)

If the mantra for veteran salespeople was "always be closing," the modern day equivalent for marketers is "always be publishing." As David Meerman Scott is fond of saying, "On the web, you are what you publish," so brands without a digital content strategy are already playing catch-up. Typically, the biggest hurdles for marketers without a content plan are a lack of inspiration (my industry is boring, no one will read the content) or a lack of resources. But you don't need a large team of writers to create a thriving content strategy: What you really need is a focused commitment to give your prospects, leads and customers content they can't get elsewhere. Need inspiration? Check out GE’s Pinterest page, the Zappos blog, Aaron Levie’s Twitter account or GrubHub’s Facebook page. All of them are a great reminder to all of us that your content, regardless of your industry and company size, doesn’t have to be boring or Hollywood-production levels to be effective.

2. Offering content without context

Some brands have a content strategy, but they are playing to an empty room because they don’t know anything about their audience. Case in point: A recent Razorfish study estimates that just 38% of marketers can segment prospects from existing customers for targeted marketing. There are few things more annoying to customers than being sold products they've already purchased, so instead of being tone-deaf, use tools and technology to inform how you market to people at every stage of the funnel. This can start small (with different calls to action based on the person’s lifecycle stage), but eventually it should include your entire web strategy so that every piece of content you show a prospect is infused with context for their interactions with your brand to date. Amazon, of course, has built a business on this concept, but the lesson holds true for all of us — matching content plus context is the secret sauce for a more personalized and lovable web experience for your customers.

3. Thinking slow and steady wins the race

In marketing, speed is a feature. If a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of people will abandon the site. But the headache doesn't stop there.

Slow sites also rank lower in search, meaning that people may never even find your site even if you have a great keyword strategy in place. 

Yottaa provides a free website speed test on its homepage to gauge your current performance, so start there, then test how your site responds on tablets, mobile and other devices. Most importantly, instead of thinking of a slow-loading massive banner image or additional lines of code running on your site as minor nuisance, think of time as money, because in the marketing world, it truly is.

4. Talking (or tweeting) about yourself non-stop

We all hate it when a fellow guest at a cocktail party talks ad nauseam about their own work, life and hobbies without taking any interest in the rest of the group. And yet, when it comes to social media, marketers assume consumers want to hear about the company non-stop: That’s simply not the case. The best brands invest 70-80% of time discussing content that helps their core audience live, work or play better — only the remaining 20-30% is about their product or service.

When it comes to social media specifically, spend as much time listening as you do talking. Monitor what your customers are saying about their experiences, when they are interacting with your brand the most, and what types of content inspires the best conversations and social shares, then adapt accordingly.

5. Not knowing your numbers

Marketing used to be considered "arts and crafts" by senior executives, so knowing your numbers can not only determine the success as a company, but also your career as a marketer. If LTV, CAC, marketing-originated customer percentage, and time to payback sound like Latin to you, it’s time to brush off your math skills and put them to work. This primer is a good way to think about getting started, but to be honest, that should be just the beginning. You should know what your conversion rates look like for traffic to your site, conduct A/B tests regularly to gauge what’s working and what isn't, and create monthly targets for your team that are metrics-focused. Gone are the days where "impressions" or "positive sentiment" carry the day for marketers: Your CEO can't pay the bills with those. Your marketing efforts should impact your business and your bottom line, and the only way to prove that it does is by knowing your numbers and leveraging them to improve your efforts constantly.

6. Death by word count

The average adult attention span is 2.8 seconds, barely long enough to read a tweet, let alone absorb your 210 page ebook. To that end, create a content strategy that matches the way people actually consume content: Quickly, often and with a bias toward all things visual. With 90% of the information transmitted to your brain being visual, you can better your brand by spending more time showing people what you do, instead of simply telling them. This tenet is not relegated to your website, but also to your social channels: Highly visual content isn’t just more digestible, it’s also significantly more shareable.

The way people shop and buy has changed dramatically over the last decade. Whether you have a short period of time to engage a prospect or a limited window to impress your executive team, the six mistakes above are common pitfalls that often trip up even the best of marketers. As the late great Notorious BIG said, "things done changed." It’s about time marketers do too.

Win Yankee Tickets!  

Enjoy a great day at Yankee Stadium!

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees. 

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.  These tickets are great seats and close to the field! 

  • Tuesday September 9th, 2014.  Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 7:05 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

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:

Eight Reasons Why Direct Mail Still Works

Want Direct Mail Success? Use Big Data to Determine Your Ideal Target Audience

Six Mistakes Marketers Make Daily

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:
  • Enexgroup

  • Alesco Data Group

  • 5 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

CollegeAdmissionCentral.com - Everything a high school student needs to get accepted to that dream college: one-on-one strategic coaching, essay and multimedia résumé creation, scholarships, national leadership opportunities, and more. Enter gift code “TALON” for a free week of access.

behance.net - Showcase & discover amazing creative work

urlrate.com - The Number One URL rate, website value calculator and Domain Name Value appraisal tool that will allow you to collect vital information about your website or your competitor's website.

dashlane.com - Rated the best password manager. Autofill with their free form filler. Save receipts, payment types, passwords & personalize your digital wallet.

forvo.com - The largest pronunciation guide in the world. Ever wondered how a word is pronounced? Ask for that word or name, and another user will pronounce it for you. You can also help others by recording your pronunciations in your own language.

flashnotes.com - An online marketplace full of study guides, notes, flashcards & video help created by students, for students.

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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