Archive for the ‘Mobile Marketing’ Category

Time to Add Mobile Coupons?

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

U.S. consumers have a love affair with coupons. They love printed coupons, but the data says, they love mobile coupons even more. In fact, new data from Jupiter Research shows that mobile coupons are 10x more likely to be redeemed than printed coupons.

Nobody is saying you should give up printing coupons for your customers, but why not do both? Encourage your customers to use both print and mobile versions. How often has my attention been grabbed by a coupon I got in the mail, but when I was actually near the store, I realized the coupon was sitting on the counter?

Do I wait until next time? Sometimes, but other times, I go online to see if I can find a mobile version somewhere. But the only reason I looked for the mobile version is because the printed coupon came first.

Many PSPs are looking for ways to get their customers into the world of mobile. For some it’s QR Codes. For others it’s SMS. Maybe for your customers it’s mobile coupons. (Check out Apple Passbook.)

Anyone here offering mobile coupons? What are your experiences?

Lead Scoring: Don’t Set Yourself Up for Failure

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

We are hearing about lead scoring more and more these days. As print providers and their customers grow increasingly comfortable with personalization and multichannel marketing, those programs are becoming more sophisticated and automated. That is opening the door to lead scoring, lead nurturing, and trigger-based content delivery.

As you begin to develop automated lead scoring and lead nurturing for your customers, there is a critical point to remember. Lead scoring is typically based on information people input into online forms and triggers the appropriate lead nurturing path that follows. However, people lie.

It’s not necessarily that they are awful, horrible human beings setting out to mislead you. It’s that those online forms are often monstrosities unintentionally designed to frustrate. Respondents just want to get to the information they are looking for (watch a video, download a white paper, access a presentation). They don’t want to spend 10 minutes filling out an endlessly long, frustratingly complex form first. I know I don’t. Consequently, they will often select the first thing on the list — accurate or not — just to be able to move on.

I was reading a great post on Eloqua’s blog this morning that made this very point:

How many contacts have you generated from those who have selected Afghanistan in the country dropdown menu? It’s the first country available in most dropdown lists, and frequently selected to bypass necessary information and proceed to the next option to access gated content.

Amen! If you try to gather too much information, if the level of depth and complexity of those forms is inappropriate to the target audience, you can set yourself up for disappointing results. So when setting up lead scoring for yourself or your clients, don’t just think about the information you want to gather. Think about what respondents are most likely to actually provide . . . and provide accurately. Balance your goals with the likelihood of getting what you want.

The goal with lead scoring isn’t to get it done. It’s to get it done right.

Got any lead scoring disaster stories to share? Sometimes the best lessons are learned while laughing . . .

10 Trends to Define Marketing for 2014 – 10 Experts Weigh in

Monday, November 4th, 2013

As we approach 2014, and all of the marketing challenges that come with it, SourceLink is rolling out our “Ten Trends to Define Marketing” series again, with a twist. This year, we sat down with ten industry experts and asked them what trends they anticipate in 2014 and the years to come. We will be rolling out these articles over the next six weeks – Here are the experts that we sat down with, and a brief synopsis of what they had to say:

1. Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News – “The Virtuous Cycle of Customer Centricity” – Oct 29

Into 2014, consumers will wield the power to dictate how they are marketing to, and marketers are tasked with creating content that is driven by consumer preference. Understanding customer behaviors and preferences will lead to sophisticated micro-marketing campaigns, and marketers will then be tasked with modeling content creation and communications strategies based on how content is being utilized.

2. Judith Hemmel, Vice President of Customer Intelligence, SourceLink -  “Moving From Creepy to Credible” – Oct 31

An overarching theme through several of the interviews is was the extreme importance of mobile marketing. Consumers now have the ultimate choice of whether to engage with a brand, cultivating an environment of permission. This phenomenon will further strengthen the move from push to pull marketing, and messaging must move from “Creepy to Credible.”

3. Skip Henk, President and CEO, Xplor International – “Sitting on the Sidelines or Taking the Leap of Faith” – Nov 5

Human behavior is the true game changer in 2014, and there is tremendous value in how customers allocate their time to take in new information.  Augmented Reality, a still-emerging technology, very well could lead to a print revival. Marketers will fall into two categories in embracing these new technologies, those taking the leap and those sitting on the sidelines waiting for more proof; which Skip sees as the “winners and the losers” in the fight for customer attention.

4. Bryan Yeager, Financial Services and Mobile Payments Analyst for eMarketer–“Social Media and Mobile Craft a Path to Purchase” – Nov 7

Mobile penetration reached a tipping point in 2013, and looking into 2014, past trends converge because of the smartphone and its ability to enhance the customer experience. Marketers using social media up until now have merely been laying the groundwork for the real opportunities for engagement and conversion. Wearable technologies bring flashy new avenues to truly connect with customers.

5. Roehl Sanchez, VP and Chief Creative Officer, BIMM Direct & Digital - “Data Drives The Creative Process, and the Modular Builder Emerges” - Nov 12

Data begins to drive creative decisions, and creative decisions facilitate the use of data. We are entering age of real time marketing, and the definition of marketing and advertising “Creative” is shifting, especially when it comes to mobile design. Marketers must familiarize themselves withmicrocampaigns and start thinking mobile first. The creative professional must start to be a “modular builder,” and embrace a shift toward strong creative rooted as much in functionality as in design.

6. Rich Brown, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, SourceLink –SOLOMO and the Evolution of Location Based Engagement” – Nov 14

Social plus location plus mobile (SOLOMO) will a gamechanger in 2014, as marketers truly perfect geofencing technologies and make actionable use out of location data using offer-based engines. Data use concerns and privacy legislation gain lots of attention in 2014, and marketing organizations rally to support the responsible use of data. Marketers start to effectively link return on investment between offline transactions and social engagement.

7. John Foley, CEO Grow Socially and CMO InterlinkOne– “The Amazing Powers of Personalization” – Nov 19

2014 will see BIG advancements in mobile technology, which will allow for in-store personalization and other amazing interactions. A surprising amount of companies are still behind the content and social engagement curve in 2013, and will evolve into more social businesses in 2014, with more content being distributed than ever. Personalization sees a surge in the depth and relevancy, paralleling advancements in marketing automation.

8. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs – “Organizing your Company Around Content and the Emergence of Short-form Media” - Nov 21

Marketers have been making content creation a priority, but next year will see a need to allocate resources to dedicated personnel. Next year’s trend will be a wider adoption and need to understand short-form content. Social media engagement leads to emotional connection and a better brand experience. Print remains a crucial part of marketing spend, and continues to claim significant portion of marketing budget.

9. Cindy Randazzo, Vice President Strategy and Insight, SourceLink – “A World Where IT and Marketing make each other Stronger” and  “Multisource Attribution in an Omnichannel world” – Nov 26 and Dec 3

Cindy had so much to say that we will be covering her thoughts over two articles.  First, 2014 brings the realization that IT and Marketing cannot be siloed, as their strengths will make each other stronger and will account for the weaknesses in the other, as the “right and left brain” come together. Big Data becomes relevant for all industries, as it is mined for interests, and used for multiple forms of variable advertising. Consumers start to ask the question “How is it possible that you don’t know who I am?”

10. David Burstein, Fast Company contributor and author, “Fast Future: How Millennials are Shaping our World.” – “The Marketer’s Role to the Millennial” – Dec 5

Companies must make consistent strides towards social responsibility and innovation as core tenets to developing as an organization. “Millennials” (those born in the second baby boom years of 1980 to the early 2000s) have become the most messaged-to generation ever, and marketers embrace emerging technologies and develop new means to stand out. Deep customization stands as central to the communications experience between marketers and Millennials.

To read the entire series, keep checking back to the SourceLink blog here.

The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

If you haven’t downloaded a copy of “The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs,” it’s worth your time.

Put out by Rocket Fuel and Forbes, it’s a free 22-page report based on a survey of 211 senior marketers designed to gauge their perceptions about the success of their marketing initiatives, as well as their use of and the benefits of big data.  Granted these were bigger companies than most of those in this industry (revenues of at least $500 million and marketing budgets of $10 million or more), but it supports the trend line and will give you great talking points with your customers.

(Download the report here.)

Key data points from the survey:

  • Of the organizations that used big data at least 50% of the time, 60% said that they had exceeded their goals. By contrast, of the companies that used big data less than 50% of the time, just 33% felt they had.
  • More than nine in 10 companies (92%) who had “always” or “frequently” made sufficient use of data said that they had met or exceeded their goals, while just 5% who said that they were making sufficient use of data said that they were actually falling short.
  • Eight in 10 (79%) marketers and advertisers who use big data more than 50% of the time felt they were able to pick out the right audience in all or almost all of their media. This compares with just 35% of those who used it less than 50% of the time.
  • Of those who use big data to drive more than half their marketing strategies, 75% said that they were able to monetize their audience.
  • Likewise, 75% believe their company is making the right media buys, compared with just 50% of those who use big data in less than half of their programs.

There is lots more, of course, but what’s interesting is the focus not just on reaching customers and increasing revenue, but undersatnding customer behavior, including the channels most effective at reaching them.

Also interesting about this report is how it is interwoven with personal interviews and mini case studies that flesh out these issues and put the data into a real-world context.

Check it out.


New Services – Same Old Sales?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

At Print13 event last month, Howie Fenton and Andy Paparozzi of NAPL delivered a presentation on “The Secrets of Leading Digital Companies” in which they propose that industry leaders are characterized by a willingness to change. They talked about changes as seemingly simple as buying a new piece of equipment to complex challenges like acquiring a company or moving into new areas of service. The latter issue was a major focus of the talk as more and more companies are diversifying their services in order to add value to customers.

“Despite economic challenges and structural changes, between January 2000 and March 2013, Leaders’ sales are up 54.2%, while the industry at large is down more than 21%,” according to Paparozzi.  The leaders are better at recognizing the need to change and are better at implementing that change and, I suspect that these changes extend beyond the operational aspects of the new technology or service that they have adopted. Which leads me to the topic of this post: you can’t change what you sell and expect to sell it the same way.

The very factors that are causing printers to offer new services, channel complexity, tidal waves of technological change, shifting demographics and intense competitive pressures are the same factors that are causing major changes in the buying behaviors of their target clients. Consider that:

  • Today’s business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete (source: Corporate Executive Board)
  • 10% of print sales originated online and this trend is expected to reach 18% by 2014 (source: InfoTrends)
  • 4% of B2B executives have made purchases of over $100,000 via their mobile device (source: Google and Forbes Insight)

This means that multi-channel marketing is not only a service printers should consider offering to their customers, it is one that printers absolutely need to be using for their own business development. Many printers, even relatively large ones, have operated without significant marketing resources and often with no dedicated marketing department. Now, more than ever, they need to consider the buyer’s full process from awareness through purchase and all of the potential touch points along the way. If buyers are researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, and benchmarking pricing before ever having a conversation with a sales rep – it’s marketing that has to close the gap by making sure that their company is on the buyer’s radar during this research process.

Marketing support and lead generation will become increasingly critical as service portfolios and related selling tactics become more complex. Printers may need to look at making investments in marketing as well as redistribution of sales resources to include focused selling teams and inside sales support.

Marketing support is what helps keep your pipeline full and your sales people efficient enabling them to focus on what’s important once they get in front of the customer. However, your strategy also needs to consider that literally getting in front of buyers is getting harder and harder. In 2011, American businesspeople took a total of 445 million trips and over 124 million people telecommuted in 2012. That means that part of your sales and marketing strategy needs to include making it easy for “on the go” executives to find information about you from their mobile device, making it easy to engage with you from their mobile device and making it easy for them to track the progress of their business with you using their mobile device. Buyers are transacting big business directly from their smart phones – how will your site show up on the small screen? Don’t overlook mobile and get your sales force comfortable with Skype.

Printing leaders are diversifying their offers. Printing leaders are better at change and therefore their sales growth is nearly double that of the industry at large.  Printing leaders understand that to diversify your capabilities requires a complementary diversification of your sales and marketing tactics as well. Selling has evolved along with the industry. Today, how you sell is as important as what you sell – and the leaders know that too.

Research: Not All Designer Codes Created Equal

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

According to research released by the AIDC Lab of Ohio University (part of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology), not all designer codes are created equal. While QR Codes have error correction, allowing up to 30% of these codes to be degraded or altered while rendering the codes still readable, it matters where this degradation takes place.

You can remove, alter, or degrade certain portions of the code while retaining readability but not others.

Although the full research study has yet to be released, the AIDC Lab has released a white paper outlining the main issues and the results.  The goal of the paper — to answer the question: “What sort of design modifications can be made while still ensuring the maximum number of people will be able to scan the symbol?”

In general, there are three ways to alter QR Codes to incorporate a branded symbol or other design:

  • Change the color
  • Insert a graphic design inside the physical design of the code
  • Geometrically distort the cells used to create the code

“While all of these work, it is important that the designer understand how the QR Code works so that they do not inadvertently damage key components or push those components beyond their ability to adjust,” write the authors of the paper.

For the study, more than 200 codes were scanned. In total, 166 responses were usable. Depending on the types of distortions used, researchers found that scanning would product different results. Ignoring the benchmark symbol, for example, resulted in read rates ranging from 9.6% to 88.6% — a huge range.

The implication of this is that, at best, 11% of the symbol’s target audience will not be able to read the bar code. And for almost half of the symbols 50% or more of the scanning public will not be able to decode the designer QR Code.

This a fascinating study that anyone involved in 2d barcode design, branding, and marketing campaign develop read. Before your designers start messing with the codes, thinking they can add branding as long as they degrade 30% of the code or less, make sure they know the facts.  You can download a copy here.

On a completely unrelated note, I grew up in Athens, Ohio, where Ohio University is located, my father taught, and I spent much time on campus. This is the first time I’ve heard the university mentioned in connection with this industry, so this was really fun research to run across. Go Athens Bulldogs!

More Challenges for the Multi-Channel MSP

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

If you’re not into mobile, the change in consumer behavior impacted by mobile is so significant that you’re not going to be able to ignore it any longer. Soon lack of basic mobile expertise is going to be a negative differentiator the way lack of basic email expertise became a negative differentiator years ago if it isn’t already.

The reason is email. People have been checking their email on their mobile devices for years, of course, but we’ve finally reached a tipping point that impacts every PSP offering multi-channel marketing. According to a benchmark study by Yesmail Interactive, 61% of consumers are now viewing email either exclusively on a mobile device or using both mobile and desktop devices interchangeably.

But that’s not the big deal. The big deal is that 49% of all email opens happen on a mobile device, but the average click to-open rate across all industries is 100% higher for desktop than it is for mobile. In other words, more people open mobile emails, but fewer are taking action once they do.

The content is the same. The difference is lack of mobile optimization. Email has become so complex and graphics-heavy that clicking through non-mobile-optimized email has become too much of a chore. Already, it doesn’t take much to create a barrier to response. Clearly, non-mobile-optimized email is more than a minor annoyance.

If you’re marketing yourself as a provider of multi-channel marketing services, you can’t leave mobile-optimized email on the table. If you’re not offering mobile-optimized email, it’s time to start.

Surveys Say: If You’re Going to Be Best in Class, You’ll Personalize

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

If you’re going to be a best-in-class marketer, you’re going to personalize your content. Surveys of best-in-class companies show this over and over.

A 2012 InfoTrends survey of 1,000+ large businesses, across 10 different vertical industries, found that more than 60% of respondents’ campaigns were personalized or segmented.[1]  A 2011 Aberdeen Group study found that, of “best in class” marketers (defined as being in the top 20% of sales and profitability), 39% were actively “targeting offers to optimize marketing ROI” and “optimizing marketing activities at each touchpoint along the customer lifecycle.”[2]

Notes the Aberdeen report:

With 67% more top performers than other firms (30% vs.18%) ensuring the right message, to the right person, at the right time, the ability to better pinpoint marketing activity to maximize its effect is well-demonstrated by how top performers are refining their strategies.

This is confirmed in an article on posted yesterday, citing data from a Responsys infographic (April 2013):

  • Sixty-one percent of U.S. consumers feel more positive about a brand when marketing messages are personalized.
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of consumers are less responsive to non-personalized or “mass-marketing” messages.
  • More than half (53 percent) are more likely to purchase when a brand personalizes digital communications.
  • More than half (52 percent) trust brands that enable consumers to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not.
If you’re looking for some great data to nudge your customers into the direction of 1:1 printing, this might be a great place to start.


[2] “Analytics for the CMO,” Aberdeen Group (September 2011)

The Role of Social Media for Printers

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I recently read a blog published by Willis Turner entitled “So… Is Social Media BS or Not?” You can read his blog here on Funding Success (I found the article via the Target Marketing email distribution… proof that people do click through on emails!). In his article, he reports on a conference he was at where the keynote speaker claimed that social media, is in fact, BS. This is obviously a controversial topic, especially with how strongly social media has taken off in recent years and how actively companies – both B2C and B2B – are investing in and building their social platforms. But Turner provided more analysis of the comment which got me thinking…

The power of social media is not in the tool itself. The power of social media is in how it connects with the other components of a brand’s marketing and communications campaigns. As my colleague and MarCom guru, Cindy Cumings, would say – Social Media is just one more tool in the toolkit for successful marketers. Direct mail, email, events, SEO, personal selling… if you use each tool the way it is designed, they all come together to form a powerful and cohesive statement about your company, which ultimately generates results.

Turner reminds us to look at the marketing activities which generate revenue – something that social media does not do. So this means direct mail (still bringing in a large chunk of cash flow for some organizations), email, personal selling through a sales force, etc. These components are what brings in customers, influences sales, and at the end of the day, provides a company’s revenue.

So what does this mean for printers? Printers should take a good look at what channels of communication translates into sales, and continue focusing on those. Social media can serve as a way to bolster their efforts and brand image with customers. Continue to be active on channels to promote your printing work, your brand, and your people. If someone has heard of you before, has a favorable impression of your brand, and has even seen a sample of your work online – they are far more likely to become a customer. And remember, a successful marketing program is not built on the success of one campaign, but rather it is built on the seamless coordination of multiple campaigns, channels, and activities all designed to represent your brand.

Targeting: It Goes Beyond Data

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

When we think about targeting and personalization, we think about data. But what about messaging? The way your messaging gets framed, including the nuances of the language you use, can make or break your campaign.

Here is a case in point.  A recent survey conducted by found that terms used to describe people aged 50+ are increasingly outdated and offensive by this audience. Most respondents (71%) were comfortable with the term “Baby Boomer,” but only 49% approved of the term “senior.” Nearly half (44.2%) felt that the terms “senior living” and “retirement community” were outdated.

Even worse was the term “nursing home,” which 94% of respondents had very negative associations, and of all the terms presented, had the worst association. Much more effective, the survey found, was language that emphasized health and activity.

So if the traditional terms used in this demographic are now offensive, what terms do you use? Something else! That’s the point. Successful targeting is not just knowing that someone is in the 50+ age demographic. It’s also knowing the style of messaging that is going to be most effective (or not).

What was particularly amusing about this survey, however, was that it was conducted by . . . ironic when the term “senior” was found to be offensive to 49% of the people surveyed!

Just goes to show you how easy it is to fall behind the trends of changing language.

Luxury Buyers Suffer from Lack of Targeting

Friday, July 5th, 2013

This week, MediaPost released data from its survey for “Engage: Affluent” (incomes of $75,000+, $250,000+, $550,000+) regarding their affinity for various channels when it comes to purchasing luxury goods.

The data show 1) the percentage of affluent buyers who recalled advertising messages in a variety of traditional and digital media, 2) the percentage who remembered seeing something of interest in those media, and 3) the rankings of the effectiveness of each medium.

In terms of effectiveness (as defined by MediaPost), the rankings were as follows:

  1. Television
  2. Magazines
  3. Websites
  4. Newspapers
  5. In-home mail

What I thought was interesting is that, while MediaPost ranked these channels based on the percentage of consumers (with affluents as a subset) who planned to purchase luxury goods, in nearly 100% of cases, the percentage of affluents who said they recalled or had “considerable” or “some” interest in the products being marketed was lower across all channels than consumers overall.

Recall of television ads — lower than average.

Recall of magazine ads — lower than average.

Recall of website ads — lower than average.

Recall of newspaper ads — lower than average.

Recall of in-home mail advertising — lower than average.

Level of interest in the material marketed? Lower, lower, lower, lower, and lower.  The more affluent the respondent, the less interest they showed in advertising in any given channel.

This suggests just how poorly these channels are being used to segment, target, and personalize offers to this coveted audience. You would think that marketers would be doing the best job in targeting and personalizing to those with the most disposable income. Yet, this did not appear to be case.

There was only one channel that appeared to be doing better in a relative sense to all the others when it comes to engaging affluent audiences. Affluents were more likely than average to say they had seen products of interest in advertising in sporting arenas.

Especially if you have clients marketing and selling luxury goods, this might be data you want to investigate!

Survey: Buyers Are Multi-Channel — Are You?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

We talk about multi-channel marketing in this industry, but it needs to go beyond print and follow-up email with a PURL thrown in for good measure. PSPs should be leading their customers in more sophisticated, complex multi-channel programs. Right now, it’s often the other way around.

According to new data from Silverpop and Forrester Consulting, 64% of marketers (out of 157 marketers surveyed) see themselves as either “mature” or “transitioning” multi-channel marketers.

Marketing Organization Stance Toward Behavioral and MultiChannel Marketing

% of Respondents

Attitude Behavioral  Marketing Multichannel Marketing 






Beginning transition end of 2013



Interested, but no plans



No plans, and not interested



Source: Silverpop/ForresterConsulting, May 2013

More than half (51%) of marketers also consider themselves “mature” or transitioning in behavioral marketing while most print campaigns are still focused on basic demographics.

B2C companies see themselves as further ahead than B2B marketers when it comes to implementation of these campaigns. According to the Silverpop / Forrester research:

  • B2C marketers reported a higher level of automation in all but one marketing automation category
  • More than half of the B2C marketers claimed to be “somewhat aggressive or at the forefront” of technology adoption
  • B2C marketers also have a better relationship with their IT support
Marketing Organizations “Implementing, Not Expanding” or “Expanding/upgrading Implementation; % of Respondents



Web analytics tool



Email service provider



Web content management system



Social media engagement and monitoring



Campaign management application



Lead management system



Source: Silverpop/ForresterConsulting, May 2013

Are you leading these customers or following them?

For a copy of the complete PDF of “Up the Ante in the Year of the Customer,” click here.

Dismal QR Code Use? Don’t Blame the Code!

Friday, May 31st, 2013

While U.S. consumers are increasingly using various online research channels to research their purchases, QR Codes are not one of them. This, according to a study conducted by Radius Global Market Research (GMR).

  • When asked about current experiences with QR Codes, only 12% of consumers said they had scanned QR Codes for product information.
  • The percentage of consumers who plan to use QR Codes in the future was also 12%.

Does this confirm naysayers’ views that QR Codes are a passing fad? Absolutely not. Don’t be misled!

I have said many times before, the problem is not that people are not interested in using QR Codes. The problem is that marketers aren’t using QR Codes to send people anywhere worth going. It’s not rocket science. If every time I scan a QR Code, I get sent to the corporate website where there is nothing of value to me, I’m going to stop scanning QR Codes.

If you touch a fiery stove burner enough times, you’ll stop touching it. It’s not the fault of the stove.

QR Codes could be replaced by AR, NFC, or some other technology of the future (the hypothetical replacement for QR Codes being heralded by many QR Code naysayers), but those technologies won’t “fix” the problem because they still have the same issue of what’s on the back end. In fact, the back end of AR and other technologies is even more challenging to produce well, so if marketers can’t get it together with relatively mobile-optimized websites with information relevant to the product in hand, it’s unlikely that they’ll do better with something more complex.

As a PSP, the challenge faced by customers should be relatively simple to address. If you see a QR Code on a direct mailer, product packaging, or anything else you are being asked to print, ask the question, “Why is this code here? What is it supposed to accomplish? Where does it take people? What value will they get out of it?”

Something that simple could make the difference between the consumer scanning a QR Code in the future . . . or not.


Millennials, “The Greatest Generation” and Direct Marketing

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

I am (barely) a Millennial. Born in 1980, I rest on the cusp of what Time magazine recently profiled as the “Me Me Me” generation and described on the cover as “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents.”

Guess which magazine isn’t getting a Christmas card from me this year.

Overall, the article has received a great deal of exposure and backlash because of the attention-grabbing, slightly hyperbolic title and the overarching assumptions that Millennials crave less responsibility, still live at home and are obsessed with themselves. I’ve read many opinions on this feature that debate the statistics and accusations the article boasts, but the core of what separates the “Millennials” from prior generations is the advancement of technology during their (our) lifetimes.

AdAge makes a troubling assertion (for direct marketers, at least) that “Among other things, baby-boomer marketers need to accept the fact that Millennials have not inherited their parents’ love for the “touch” of paper.” There is some truth to this statement, but as a Millennial that checks his mailbox every day, there is also a major balancing act that every marketer must accept in marketing to Millennials – the same tricks don’t work anymore, they just work in different ways.

Millennials may not “crave” the touch of the physical printed piece, but still will interact with it given the right pairing with technology. Whether this comes in the form of augmented reality, near-field chips or smartphone-based apps and QR code scanning, ways that allow this connected generation to interact with their mail and magazines using a smartphone or tablet will be key in keeping direct mail relevant to this generation. For example, I LOVE to get coupons in the mail, but I’d like it even more if I could scan and save them to my iPhone. The ideals demonstrated by Google Glass also give insight to how this generation will consume information in the years to come. Whereas the newspaper or Yellow Pages may be less relevant to a younger generation, the information contained within will not be.

The past ten years have spawned the buzzword “multichannel”’ marketing, but Millennials are leaps and bounds ahead of the curve. They were raised on multichannel marketing. Television based off of their video games; magazines that point to websites; College acceptance letters that point to social media sites. This technology has never been new to them, so it has become an expectation in the way they do business and the way marketers HAVE to market to them. So there’s another way Millennials are here to save us, they will push companies to try harder and smarter and the best, data-driven messaging will rise to the top.

Marketers are taxed with using all of the data at their hands, especially from “Big Data” via social interactions and from employing advanced segmentation techniques in marketing to Millennials. Without these methodologies, messaging will be ignored, as it competes with the constant stream of stimuli coming from smartphones, emails, social networks, television, postal mail, video games and soon with augmented reality and wearable computing.

The Federal Reserve on Mobile

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

There is a lot of talk, a lot of data, and a lot of opinion out there about the impact of mobile marketing on customer behavior. In this industry, that translates into how mobile needs to be integrated into multi-channel marketing campaigns. It is said that people vote with their pocketbooks, so with that in mind, I thought I’d share some insights from the Federal Reserve. In April, the Federal Reserve released a 79-page report called “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services,” but there is a lot more in here than financial services.

More than half of the mobile phones out there (52%) are now smartphones, and they are changing the way people shop.

  • 6% of all smartphone users have made a point-of-sale payment using their phone in the past 12 months, up from 1% one year earlier
  • 42% of smartphone users have used their phone to comparison shop at a retail store, and 32% have used it to scan a product’s barcode to find the best price for the item
  • 64% of consumers overall who use their phones to comparison shop in a retail store have changed where they purchased the product as a result of the information they found
  • 44% of smartphone users have used their phone to browse product reviews or get product information while shopping at a retail store, and 70% of them changed the item they purchased based on this information
  • 64% of mobile banking users have checked their account balance before making a large purchase in the past 12 months, and half of them have decided not to purchase an item as a result of their account balance or credit limit
  • Approximately 27% of all mobile phone users are interested in receiving and managing discount offers and coupons on their phones, or receiving location-based offers.

This is tremendous evidence for the need of PSPs to begin broadening into mobile marketing. If your customers aren’t engaged in mobile marketing, they should be.

Download a copy of the (free) report here.