Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing December 2013 Newsletter.

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Five Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Listen to You

By Lindsay LaVine, enterpreneur.com

In a crowded marketplace, how do you distinguish yourself from the competition?

If you're in business, chances are you're trying to get someone – a customer or prospective client – to do something, whether it's call you, visit your website, or try your product. But in a crowded marketplace, how do you distinguish yourself from the competition?

Enter Tom Haley, Group Creative Director at Chicago-based Jellyvision Lab, an interactive conversation company specializing in providing personalized multimedia content on behalf of its clients. We spoke with him about how businesses can better educate and communicate with their customers. Here are his five tips:

1. Cut out what's not important.
It's important to make every sentence as clear and efficient as possible, Haley says. "If you can omit a word, a sentence or a paragraph that's not key to helping someone understand something, do it," Haley says. For example, if you sell lawnmowers and you're trying to explain why your lawnmower is better than the other lawnmowers on the market, the customer probably doesn't want to hear about the company's history.

"Don't presume the audience has any interest in what your message is," Haley says. Business owners are consumed with their business, but forget that for customers, their interaction with you is just a small part of their day. They want help, not necessarily the history of the product, Haley says.

2. Explain things before you name things.
If you work in a field with special terminology or jargon, be sure to explain the term and concept before using it over and over because people may not know what they mean. For example, if you own an insurance company, customers have heard of copays and deductibles, but may not know the difference between the two or what they mean. By explaining that a deductible is money that a customer pays before the insurance policy kicks in, you ensure everyone's on the same page.

3. When possible, use metaphors.
Haley says using metaphors can help explain complicated concepts to consumers. For example, if you're selling a complicated suite of business software tools, you could compare the solution to a busy restaurant, where the head chef efficiently directs her staff while keeping diners happy.

4. Be funny.
"Humor is at the core of what we do," Haley says. Jellyvision has found that people learn more and have a better experience if you can make them laugh. "It's not about jokes or gags," Haley says. "It's more about being human, approachable and personable." No matter what you're doing, always remember you're just talking to a single human being, Haley says.

5. Tell the story in chronological order.
In storytelling, it's easy to get the order of events wrong, Haley says. Therefore, it's important to use real-life context when you're trying to explain something to consumers. For example, Jellyvision created an interactive conversation experience for a utility company to educate its customers about how to read their energy bills. Instead of reading line item charges and trying to guess what they mean, you can start by saying something like, "Energy is generated in power plants, which is delivered to your home, but that process costs money, which appears on your bill as an energy charge."

Failed Marketing Buzzwords That You Really Shouldn't Use

by Greg Satell, Forbes.com

Ask any marketer what they do and you’ll get a different answer. That’s because marketing is a hard discipline to define.

We don’t cure people like doctors or build things like architects or even blow up the economy like those slick Wall Street guys.

The truth is what marketers do most of the time is meet and discuss—endlessly. We discuss the brief and trends and the consumer mindset and just about everything else you can imagine.

Crucial to these discussions are buzzwords. These serve as shorthand for more complex concepts that nobody really understands, so they save the time and energy that we would otherwise spend actually thinking about things. The problem is that some of the ideas buzzwords represent are themselves nonsense and lead us astray. Here are four of them:

1. Engagement

Engagement is a prototypical buzzword because it is so marvelously sublime that nobody can actually define what it means. Basically, it is a very vague way of pointing out that what you do should interest consumers and not bore them. It is, in essence, a value distinction and not a strategy.

A much more operable term is value exchange, which can either be related to the product (Apple), content (Michelin Guides, American Express Open Forum) or social experience (a local pub, Zynga).

While not a perfect term, thinking about value exchange leads to more serious strategies for building assets in the marketplace, rather than optimizing for questionable metrics such as tweets, likes and video views.

We have to get away from speaking about engagement as if it were a definable quantity. If consumers perceive real value, they will be engaged.

2. Influentials

Ever since Malcolm Gladwell formulated the Law of the Few in his bestselling The Tipping Point marketers have been obsessed with identifying “Influentials.” These magical people, so the story goes, have “rare social gifts” that enable them to set trends for the rest of us. Look at any social epidemic, Gladwell argues, and you’ll find Influentials at the center.

As I’ve noted before, Influentials are a waste of time. We know this because a vast body of empirical research has found no evidence that they are either necessary or sufficient to produce the long viral chains that we know as social epidemics. Further, a common sense appraisal of events like the Arab Spring would show that influence is, at best, a moving target.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that some people don’t have more influence than others. Some, like celebrities and heads of state, wield influence through mass media or the powers of their office. Others, like managers and moms, have influence over particular purchase decisions.

Yet we don’t need any mysterious terms for people like this. “Celebrities”, “managers” and “moms” are perfectly sufficient. In truth, social epidemics are driven by networks of people who are passionate about an idea and these can adequately be identified through conventional targeting methods.

3. Loyalty

Marketers love loyalty and are quick to point out that it’s easier to retain a customer than to win over a new one. So when sales are suffering, it’s tempting to try to inch up loyalty metrics rather than to increase market penetration. After all, even a small improvement in loyalty will be leveraged across the entire customer base.

Alas, the truth is that market penetration and customer loyalty are highly correlated, so the best thing you can do to improve loyalty is to sell to more customers. While this may seem counterintuitive, it does make sense. High selling items tend to get more shelf space, so strategies likely to increase initial purchases are likely to increase repeat purchases as well.

Further, there’s not much marketers can really do to increase loyalty. Studies show that loyalty programs are generally not effective and that the most important factor for instilling loyalty is customer experience, an area in which marketers are only tangentially involved.

So don’t get caught up in the loyalty trap. Your time and effort will be much better spent promoting advocacy through effective social marketing and value exchange than devising gimmicks to promote repeat purchase.

4. Unique

When Jack Welch first took over at General Electric, he decided that every business must be #1 or #2 in its category or it would be divested. It was a successful strategy for a while, until his managers got wise and simply defined their category in such a way that they would be leaders.

Marketers like to play the same game with “unique selling propositions,” narrowing down the product definition so that they are unique in a category of one, like “the very best nail salon with a blue awning on the west side of town.” This is a complete waste of time.

First, you’re probably not unique in any significant way. Second, if you were, it would be obvious enough that it wouldn’t take a long drawn out discussion to uncover just how unique you are. Finally, research suggests that differentiation plays a limited role in purchase decisions anyway. After all, how many “unique” items do you buy?

So while buzzwords can be useful and are sometimes even unavoidable, they shouldn’t blind us to simple good sense. If you able to identify viable markets, offer true value and communicate effectively, you’ll do far better than most.

Five Insider Tips to Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

by Lynne Saarte

Designed with sharp attention to detail and realistic strategy, direct mail such as postcards, flyers, and sales letters is now a good way to achieve high return of investment.

It is not surprising that many business owners have regarded direct mail as the "Shrek" of print marketing. Why would it not be? It is loud, misleading, and messy, often sent to unknown recipients around the globe.

Fortunately, direct mail marketing is now improved and created more cost effectively, causing many business owners to find the rewards this technique has to offer. Designed with sharp attention to detail and realistic strategy, direct mail such as postcards, flyers, and sales letters is now a good way to achieve high return of investment. If you are considering embarking on a direct mail campaign today, here are smart tactics for you to consider:

1. Know what works and what does not.

People receive lots of letters in their mailbox each day. The next time you get your mail, observe which mail catches your attention first and what repels you. Are there a lot of advertising mails in your box? Chances are most of the mail you received is junk mail. It is best to study this type of mail to recognize what should be avoided when creating your direct mail materials.

2. Educate through your materials.

Keep in mind that your target customers do not know anything about your products. So, make sure to educate them with your materials. To do this, your headline should be good and catchy to grab attention easily. You can include provoking images and text in your materials, but make sure to create copy that is direct and to the point. Use words that are easy to understand to clearly and accurately communicate your message.

3. Be careful with color choices.

A colored material would always catch attention first than black and white. But this does not mean that you should use any color your desire. The wrong choice of color would channel the wrong impression to your readers. If you want simplicity and freshness, you can always go with ward colors. But if you want to go loud, choose bright colors. The best way to decide on which color to choose is to think about your product and your business. What image would you like people to see in you? Once you have answered that question, then it will be easier for you to decide. Make sure to check with your printer to see if your color choice is available and is affordable.

4. Decide on what material to use.

There are basically a lot of materials you can choose from in direct mail marketing: postcard printing, sales letters, brochures, and flyers. Each medium can be created in varying prices. If you want the cheapest way, then go for post cards because they cut down cost by eliminating the need for envelopes. Whichever medium you use, make sure to use high quality paper to effectively and clearly deliver your message. Keep in mind that inexpensive paper delivers a different image compared to high quality paper, so be careful with the paper you use.

5. Make it personal.

Nothing can be more convincing than a personalized message written specially for the recipient of your direct mail. Keep in mind that people look for a sense of familiarity in businesses they want to transact with. So, if you want them to check out your mail first, then emphasize their importance to your business by creating a personalized message.

About the Author:
Lynne Saarte is a writer who hails from Texas. She has been in the Internet business for some years now, specializing in Internet marketing and other online business strategies.

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.  These tickets are great seats! 

  • Wednesday December 18, 2013.  Nets vs. Washington 7:30 PM.

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In this Issue:

Five Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Listen to You

Failed Marketing Buzzwords That You Really Shouldn't Use

Five Insider Tips to Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

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:
  • Kids Smiles

  • Teledyne Technologies

  • 5 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

onextrapixel.com - A digital community devoted in sharing web design and development freebies, great tutorials, useful Internet resources, online tips and tricks for web designers.

creativelive.com - Free live online workshops taught by world-class experts. Learn photography, Photoshop, software, design and more. All workshops available live for free.

packdog.com - Website for people who love their dogs.

programmr.com - Get better at programming! Solve coding exercises, make awesome projects, and win contests, right from your Browser.

movievisor.com - Discover great movies to watch online with Movievisor. What are you in the mood to watch right now? Movievisor helps you find something to fill your cravings.

liquor.com - Your expert guide featuring award-winning articles, hand-selected cocktail recipes, bar guides and more.

evernote.com - Free application. Save your ideas, things you like, important notes. You can search by title, tag, or text. Works with every computer and mobile device.

areavibes.com - Instant city data and demographics. Great application for mailers looking for community demographics.

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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